• John Coumbe-Lilley

My last post was on Match 20th it seems so long ago that we were planning our spring season, thinking of all the positive things and breaks that could come our way. Then the pandemic took hold and got us in its grip. Over the last ten weeks, we have come together as a club to support each other, share home workouts, keep long-standing friendships, and build new ones. We have seen our teammates suffer employment difficulties, work stress, and mounting challenges. Our rugby community has stayed connected and secure through it all.

These days, new leaders emerged to lift our spirits and brighten our days. North Shore Stars of the past and present contributed to weekly podcasts and discussions, giving career, nutrition, and life insights. We met twice per week for virtual practice sessions for six weeks. Rookies and veterans blended, and the relationship between Chicago Women and Chicago North Shore strengthened.

Spring is here, the weather has shown up, COVID-19 health restrictions are easing, and we are planning our gentle return to rugby training. We will observe the best practices for health and safety following World Rugby requirements, as well as our local authority guidelines.

As I return to rugby, my thoughts and well wishes go to the families, essential professionals, and friends touched by the negative impact of the pandemic. When life is at stake, playing rugby is a luxury, and I will not forget what happened to us this spring. I hope we never to face another spring like this, and I hope for all members of the rugby community, the best of health outside the lines so that we can play worry-free between the lines.

  • John Coumbe-Lilley

Chicago United (Chicago North Shore & Chicago Women) completed their first week of virtual online practice. 22 members called in for the first practice, and 24 joined the second session. The team is making the best of a tough situation using technology to facilitate player education on mental skills training, positional requirements, match analysis, and systems briefings.

Even though health, safety and social distancing is uppermost in our minds, we love rugby, and learning a little bit about the game is useful for new players, and good reminders for seasoned players too. Club members can access materials on the club’s YouTube channel and shared drive.

Let’s talk diet and conditioning. We all need to monitor the quality of our food intake and our eating patterns. It is tough to not become comfortable with life as it is, on the other hand flexibility, mobility, intake regulation and hydration are all things players and coaches alike need to be careful about. Good nutrition, sleep, fluid and workout habits are good for rugby, and good for life. Be healthy for life!

Check in on a friend, look after your pets, connect with someone you love, and look after yourself.

Go CU!


  • John Coumbe-Lilley

COVID-19 has us in its grip now, but it is not a time to be too discouraged. Our board has responded with authority and clarity always communicating with good intention and care to all our club stakeholders. There are many people in our neighborhoods and cities like health, education, logistics, retail professionals, first responders and our neighbors who are making sure good things happen, problems are solved, and we progress to the other side of this difficult moment.

Competition might have stopped, but this is a great time for learning, development and mental skills training. To meet the challenge of this time, we are producing player education videos, presenting webinars for player education, running on online work out groups (keeping our social distance), connecting and making sure we maintain our connection and community.

Spring has been tricky for our lives outside our game so far, but in difficult moments we can find new solutions, and take on new responsibilities and see the world differently. We can adapt ourselves to help others and ourselves, and we can progress differently, not less, toward our club goals. Things might be tough right now, and they might continue more than we hope or expect, but in dark times, look for the bright spots where you can find them, seek out opportunities for good moments and positive experiences.

Go shopping, support your local stores if you can, check in with your team mates, call your friends, chat with your family and look after yourself with the best body, mind and spirit conditioning you can do at this time.

Go NS!



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