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,
PK: Vix! I appreciate your time today. It’s been way too long my friend .
VIX: Totally, Thanks Phaidra!
PK: How are things out in California ?
VIX: Well, you know, sunny as usual. J I think this has been one of the “warmest winters” I’ve experienced in the Bay Area, and I’m not complaining. The warmer, the better, in my mind.
PK: Same her e in NYC. Well, start off by telling us a little more about where you grew up and your relationship with your siblings.
VIX: I grew up in Boston, MA. I have an older sister and brother that are both almost 10 years older than me; I have to admit, my brother was quite the competitor, and I’ve learned much about competitions from him. We spent much of our time proving who was better than the other.
PK: And what sports did you grow up playing?
VIX: Anything and everything that I could! I played soccer in my young childhood days. Then once high school organized sports came around, I played football (I was the only girl), tennis, softball, basketball, cross country and track. There was one point where I was on the softball, tennis, and track team all at the same time! I don’t suggest it. That was a rough season. I focused on track and field by the end of it all.
PK: Speaking of track and field, I understand that you hold a few titles.
VIX: Indeed! When I graduated high school, I left with 7 school records. (100m, 200m, 400m, 4 x100m, 4x400m, Long Jump, and Triple Jump) I believe I still hold 4 out of those 7 to this day.
PK: Impressive, I must say. Clearly, you like competition. I also hear that you like other things like long walks on the beach and drama? What ‘s that all about?
VIX: Haha. Who doesn’t like a long walk on the beach?! Its beautiful and romantic, and I’m a sucker for romance. The drama bit, well— I studied Drama in undergrad, and I found a lot of it really interesting. I can be theatrical at times as well, and can get used to being on stage. I’m not one to go out and find drama though, it seems to find me.
PK: So when did you first put that blistering speed to the test on the rugby pitch?
VIX: My very first rugby experience was actually when I was a prospective freshman at Stanford, during admit weekend. There was a day at the park called “MuFuUnSun.” (Much Fun Under the Sun) As I was walking around, I thought I saw a group of women playing football. When I realized the weirdly shaped ball, wasn’t a football, I was intrigued. They noticed me staring, and asked me to join. It was AWESOME. A couple years later after some well played coercion, I joined the team. It was junior year, the 2004-2005 season. I remember my first game was the Stanford 10s tournament in the fall, on campus. It was funny, the hardest part was finding a place in the area to get big girl cleats!
PK: During your time at Stanford, how many appearances did your team make in the Final Four?
VIX: I played with Stanford for 2 years, and we won both Championships, in 2005 and 2006 .
PK: And when did you debut for the USA (7s and 15s)?
VIX: I debuted for the US for 15s in 2009 at the Can-Am at Infinity Park in Glendale. It was a great opportunity for international women’s rugby in the states. I thought the event was phenomenal. I was impressed by the number of coaches. In my mind, I was thinking: this is real! It was a memorable experience. I debuted in 7s just last year in Las Vegas 2011 tournament. I did, however, play for the US- U23 in 2006, under Emil Signes. That was a great time too. Jill Potter and I were reminiscing about that tournament when we were together in Vegas.
PK: What has been your most memorable tour with the US and why?
VIX: PK! This is a tough one. I block out all my embarrassing moments. Ha. But, honestly, while getting ready for my first tour, I had my bag packed a few days before, I made sure I had everything on the packing list, I arranged a ride to the airport and got there with lots of time to spare. When I got to the airport, I realized that my ticket was for ANOTHER airport in the neighboring town. I ended up being late to my first tour, and it was a really embarrassing to have to explain to everyone why I was late. I wish I had had a better excuse than, I went to the wrong airport!
PK: How would grade your performance, both individual and team, during the 2012 Women’s International Sevens Tournament in Las Vegas?
VIX: I think the team did well in the Vegas tournament. We played a hard fought tournament, and really made a statement about our fight in the game. The team stayed focused, and we enjoyed ourselves. I really had a great time as well. We played with smiles, and it was a positive experience. Best yet!
PK: What do you think it will take to defeat teams like Canada and England if you were to meet them in Hong Kong?
VIX: I’ve always believed that defense wins games. The defensive part of 7’s is the part that requires the most heart, fitness, and drive. I think if we apply the US aggression while on defense, the offense will play for itself, and ultimately win games.
PK: How many hours per week do you devote to training, fitness, and skills?
VIX: Since the season began, I try and do something everyday. Sessions range from 1.5hrs to 2.5hrs. On average, I would say I train 12 hours a week for training, fitness, and skills. Just a little addition, I LOVE watching rugby as well, and so I’ve been catching a lot of the Super 15s rugby series. It’s the best! 🙂
PK: Do you aspire to play in another 15s World Cup? Rio? .
VIX: Definitely! The 15s program has been working hard to create a new platform and website, catered to educating and inspiring ruggers throughout the country. The 7s program is growing exponentially with the residential program, and the IRB sponsoring upcoming tours for the future. I want to be a part of these growing programs in any way I can. The USA has A LOT of potential.
PK: Vix, thanks for taking the time to share some of you with the rest of the world. I look forward to getting an update from you soon!
VIX: Thanks PK. It was a pleasure!