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Patty Jervey is a legendary rugby player. Last fall, World Rugby made it official by inducting her into the World Rugby Hall of Fame. She is the first American to receive such accolades and was among the first women to be included.
As a tribute to her amazing career, USA Rugby honored Jervey during the Atlanta 7s weekend March 14-15.
Jervey begin her rugby career in 1983 during her sophomore year at the University of South Carolina but later transferred to Florida State University. There she played with the legendary Kathy Flores. Jervey made her international debut in 1989 and in 1991, she was apart of the first and only USA Rugby Team to win the World Cup. This was her first of five World Cups spanning almost 20 years. She went on to play in World Cups in 1994, 1998, 2002, and 2006. In addition to a World Cup, she walked away from international play in 2006 with two World Cup runners-up medals.
Until 2013, when Jamie Burke surpassed her, Jervey was the most capped Women’s Eagle ever. But these details are of little value to her, as she was and still is the ultimate team player. “Team first” is her motto. Her modesty and humility are as respectable as her ability to side step her opponents.
Jervey believes that with the induction of the first class of women to the World Rugby Hall of Fame come a “clear indication that women are finally receiving the recognition they deserve and the women’s game is gaining the respect that the men’s game has had for so long.” The 2014 Women’s Rugby World Cup was catalyst in this process, exhibiting high level, hard hitting rugby. Jervey notes, “It’s becoming less and less about women’s rugby versus men’s rugby. “
At age 50, Jervey most recently helped to lead her club, the Atlanta Harlequins, to a top four finish in the 2014 WPL National Club Championship. Patty attributes her longevity on the pitch to regular bodywork, from chiropractic adjustments to massage. “Because I am dedicated to really taking care of myself, I don’t feel 50 and I certainly don’t act 50.” The game vision and wisdom that she has accumulated is immeasurable valuable to her and those who are fortunate enough to take the field with her. Her blue-collar work ethic is still something to be admired.
“I feel that I was born to play this game. I know this because of those 10-12 moments I have experienced in my career when it just feels perfect – the color of the grass on the pitch, the sound that you hear when the ball is in the air. I have had great moments when I have felt so connected to every element of the game--in the zone. It’s that total completeness that is really damn cool.”
The entire US rugby community celebrates her induction.