NEW YORK, NY – A prennial Team USA Eagle, Phaidra Knight is one of the most recognized names in women’s rugby, both home and abroad. Johnathan Wicklow Barberie, a long-time pal, managed the following Q&A with Ms. Knight:
JWB: You’ve been an Eagle for quite some time. How long? How many caps?
PK: I have been on or about the squad since 1999 (12 years). Nearly 30 caps.
JWB: Wow! That’s quite an accomplishment! 7s and 15s???
PK: Yep, I have had some time on both squads.
JWB: You’re from ‘down south’ as some Americans refer to it. Alabama?
PK: Um, no! Georgia. Irwinton to be exact.
JWB: That’s not exactly a renowned rugby breeding ground… How, why and where did you start playing?
PK: I started playing in Madison, Wisconsin while in law school. I was training to walk on to the Wisconsin basketball team but was intercepted by rugby. I was inivted to a practice and that was that. 14 years later, I’m still standing, in the words of my man, Elton John.
JWB: You’re an extraordinary physical presence in person. Do you think you’d have any trouble kicking my fanny on the pitch?
PK: Um, lemme think about that one… I doubt it.
JWB: Alright… No argument here. Maybe we can jostle off the pitch?
PK: Is this an indecent proposal?
JWB: Yes. So, you’re spoken for.
PK: Well, you could say that.
JWB: Changing gears, what’s been your greatest rugby experience and why?
PK: Everytime I am asked that question, I give a different answer. It was winning the 2006 National Championship at Disney. We had a sea of orange representing along with Mark Zupan from the US Quad Rugby team. It was AWESOME!
JWB: Has there ever been one opposing player that you’ve said, “Jiminey! I wish SHE wasn’t here? Why or why not?
PK: Well, “Jiminey” probably wasn’t my word choice, but I have said that about entire teams.
JWB: How has the perception of women’s rugby changed since you’ve been playing and what still needs to change?
PK: The perception has become much more positive. The women’s game is much more diverse and I believe that has been one of the major contributing factors. There needs to be much more exposure at all levels, particularly at the national level.
JWB: For those that don’t know, when is the women’s World Cup held and how did Team USA fare?
PK: The last cup was in England in 2010. We finished 5th.
JWB: Getting back to your longevity. You work very hard but you do play a very physical game. Injuries???
PK: A few. Torn eyelid, dislocated ankle, broken foot. That’s about the worst of it.
JWB: We solicited questions to ask you from some past and present teammates. Ready?
PK: I’m not sure about this…..
JWB: Your former Eagle teammate and current fitness-enthusiastic magazine editor at Experience Life (www.experiencelife.com), Jen Sinkler, wants to know what your favorite TV show is – because you made your mates watch it EVERY TOUR.
PK: The one and only “Strangers With Candy“. Love Jen Sinkler!
JWB: Team USA teammate and fellow national champion New York Rugby Club teammate, Jenna Flateman, wants you to reveal your favorite Karaoke song…
PK: Well, I have a few but one of my all time favs is Secret Lovers.
PK: I have acquired so many best friends (props) on the pitch by conveniently “losing my contact” and taking a minute. I think it may have caught on as a trend now.
JWB: True or false: You can be found at times on a sideline, even as a reporter, with a jar of almond butter.
JWB: We’ve worked with you on camera and you’re a natural. We’re tickled to announce that you’ll be doing some interviewing of players on RWU. Is it a challenge like playing? How do you prepare?
PK: It can be at times but once I get into a rhythm, I can roll with it. I generally prepare when driving around in NYC. I guess to others it appears that I am talking to myself.
JWB: Thank you Phaidra. We are very keen on having you reporting in each Friday!
PK: I am keen on being a part of the team!