Burnaby Twilighters show rugby is for people of all ages
The rugby club has players ranging from 40 to 82 years of age.
By Meharwaan Manak
Rugby is a young person’s game — but not for members of Burnaby’s Twilighter Rugby Club
Ranging in age from 40 to 80-plus, the Twilighters are members of the Cascadia Masters Rugby Union. Their mandate is to provide a place for players who are over 40 who still want to compete.
But since rugby is a physical sport known for heavy hits, tackling restrictions are in place for the Twilighters and the teams with which they compete. Those restrictions are organized by age and the colour of the players’ shorts differentiates them at a glance so a 40- or 50-year-old player will go easier on an older player when it comes to tackling.
Ray Jung, club president for the last four years, noted: “We only play four 15 [minute] quarters, since we’re so old,” said Jung, noting a normal rugby match would last 60 minutes.
Preston Petrovitch has been playing since he was 15 years old and now, at 44, he says, “Rugby is [a] different animal than any other kind of sport.”
He sometimes suits up for the Twilighters and hasn’t decided when he plans to hang up his cleats, saying, “I try not to put a distinct number on it… I just love [playing].”
Nobody can stop you than yourself
Even after multiple injuries — including over a “hundred stitches in this beautiful head of mine” — Petrovich says, “The only thing holding you back is yourself. So when you’re coming back off an injury, it’s all mindset, especially for an old guy.”
Petrovich’s partner, Lindsey Stevens, has been a loyal Twilighter supporter for the past 10 years and says she has no reservations about him playing the game. “He’s fit and wants to play and he loves it, so I like supporting [him],” she said.
Laura “Lolly” Harmse and Lauren Lofano are the only two women in the league. Lofano, 40, is one of the newest additions to the Twilighters. Not only is this her first year, it’s also her first year playing rugby. Lofano says she brings her daughter to matches and practices to show her that “women and girls are just as tough [as men] if not tougher!”
The Twilighters tied their last game, their 10th of the season, against the Evergreens 2–2 on the weekend.
Jung, said it was a “Hard-fought game. We tried as hard as we can [sic] but we just let it slip by in the last five minutes.”
Their oldest player 82 years of age. For more information on the Twilighters, visit their website, twilighterrugby.com.