A perennial Team USA Eagle, Phaidra Knight is one of the most recognized names in women’s rugby. Her home club is the New York Rugby Club. Today, she chats with Team USA star Christy Ringgenberg.
PK: Christy, thanks so much for joining me today for some casual talk.
PK: So, how ‘bout them Giants?
Christy: My husband wants me to say, “I don’t support insect drafts,” but I know no one will get it (G.IAnts).
His sense of humor is not why I married him. I just watched the commercials. Still grieving for the
PK: Where did you grow up?
PK: I know a little bit about Madison. Went to law school and lived there for about 7 years. It’s cold
there. Did you ever do the Polar Plunge?
Christy: In the Boundary Waters, I did cut a hole in the ice and jump in,but it would have been
inappropriate to do it in public.
PK: What sports did you grow up playing?
Christy: Everything. Basketball, soccer, swimming, diving, track, baseball, cross-country. I wrestled for
awhile but when the boys learned I was a girl it became less fun. Bowl cuts should be banned for little
PK: Where did you go to college?
Christy: University of Minnesota
PK: What do you do on a day to day basis to keep the lights on?
Christy: I work at Edina Wiseguys, an after-school program for 4th and 5th graders. I also run Rookie Rugby
PK: Now to the important business. When did you start playing rugby?
Christy: I started my Sophomore year in college after giving up on Varsity Soccer.
PK: Rumor has it that you started out as a prop. Tight head or loose?
Christy: I wish! There was something about my chicken legs not being suitable for the front row. I
actually got run over by a prop my first practice and went home crying. They forgave me and let me play
that weekend. I scored a few tries and fell in love with rugby.
PK: And when did you debut for the USA Team (both 7s and 15s)?
Christy: 7’s Hong Kong 2004. 15’s Nations Cup in Canada 2009.
PK: What was the most memorable USA experience you ever had?
Christy: Winning Hong Kong in 2008. Winning Hong Kong had eluded us for so long and to finally win in
front of the wonderful crowd there was amazing. Another would be when Delta lost my bag on the way
to the 2010 Women’s World Cup. I had to buy kids’ boxer briefs at the grocery store because I had
nothing but my cleats. Delta did pull through and return my bag, but I still buy kids’ boxer briefs, best
rugby undies ever!
PK: You are one of the athlete representatives on the Board of Directors for USA Rugby. How has your
experience been in this role?
Christy: At first it was overwhelming to be around so many leaders in business. I enjoy having a part in
the inner workings at USA Rugby. The board wants to do everything they can for the athletes, how it gets
accomplished is a more complicated matter. I look forward to the challenges and feel we are moving in
the right direction.
PK: Any exciting announcements on the horizon that you can share with the general public?
Christy: I think one of the latest announcements was very exciting. Giving residency spots at Chula Vista
to 23 rugby players is monumental. Supporting our athletes to train full time at the Olympic training
center is a big step in the right direction. Our Women’s team will have more venues at which to gain
experience. With continued support from USA Rugby and the drive of our athletes, the USA will be
poised to be a major contender on the world stage.
PK: You are on the mend from an injury. What happened to you and when?
Christy: I tore my ACL last August playing 7’s at NASC’s. I juked the first defender out of her shoes, made
the same cut to set myself free past the second and crumpled to the ground. Everyone on the sideline
heard the pop. I have to mention that the insurance included in USA Rugby membership was a big help
by being a boost to my primary insurance. ACL surgery is expensive! The stupid screws in my knee cost
more than my car.
PK: When do you anticipate returning to play?
Christy:I am hoping to be back for Hong Kong this year. I have been working hard and feel mostly
PK : What are your aspirations for rugby at this point (both 15s and 7s)?
Christy: I definitely want to be in the running for the 2016 Olympics. I would love to play 15s again when
I am able to balance 7’s, 15’s and work. And if my husband can balance seeing me only 3 months out of
PK: What will it take for the USA to bring home both a World Cup in 2013 and 2014? What about a
medal in 2016?
Christy: The women need more high level competition and time together. The coaching staff, at all levels,
are building great programs. The athletes are committed. We need more experience; the need of all
PK: Thanks so much for taking the time to share with us today Christy. I can’t wait to follow up with you
Christy: Thank you Phaidra. It is always a pleasure talking to you.