Point Park's Bison Rugby Club, formed by just a few enthusiasts in 2010, has grown rapidly to become a dedicated squad of about two-dozen players that kicks off against universities such as Carnegie Mellon and Robert Morris in the Three Rivers Rugby Conference. In the collegiate rugby conference, the Bison and other players compete in a seven-week season with teams from Western Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio. Conference games are played in the fall and exhibition games in the spring.
Named Student Organization of the Year in 2014, the Bison Rugby Club has gained recognition not only for its prowess on the pitch (a rugby field) but also its commitment to community service. The members have supported the Jubilee Soup Kitchen, the Special Olympics and a bone marrow drive (in conjunction with the national rugby conference). The Bison also hope to expand their volunteering to teach young students how to play the game.
Twins Troy and Travis Johnston, both May 2015 graduates of Point Park's School of Business, joined the fledgling club three years ago. Both brothers have served the Club as captains, a role equivalent to coach. Former high school football players who wanted to pursue a similar sport in college, the Johnston brothers have been instrumental in building the Bison on and off the field.
"It's been gratifying to be a part of a new sport at Point Park, especially considering the popularity rugby has been receiving across the nation as a whole," says Travis. "It's been very exciting being one of the original members, especially seeing the support we have received from our classmates, but I'm more proud [that] the Club has become a large part of this campus community in such a short time."
According to Troy, "I want to leave a lasting impression on the players that I have led and hopefully influenced over the past few years. As captain, I have had an understanding that I had to be… the hardest working guy out there. I hope that's how my fellow teammates will remember me: as the guy who would never give up.
"Most of all I hope I have been able to teach these men what it is to be a Point Park Bison, which takes a lot of blood, sweat and heart but most importantly - brotherhood."
Text by Cheryl Valyo
Photo by Chris Squier, photojournalism major
Video by Chris Rolinson and Ralph Musthaler (COM '15)
The Point is a magazine for alumni and friends of Point Park University