Last June, the people of Burgos were able to enjoy a 7s rugby tournament, in which teams from all over Europe competed. I had a great time watching them and also took the opportunity to talk with some professional players, who told me about what it actually means to be a professional rugby player.
“Earning a living thanks to rugby is the best thing you can do”, Pierre, a French 24-year-old man told me. “I’ve always loved traveling, so I try to sign with a team of a different nation every year. My job allows you to travel across Europe!” – he carries on while putting his team shirt on “if you’re good enough, of course”, he adds.
Pierre has already played for four different countries. He started playing in Bordeaux, his birthplace, before moving to Paris at the age of 18 at the occasion of his first professional contract with a city team. Since the very beginning of his career, he favored one-year contracts in order to visit as many places as possible, given the short amount of time that a career as a professional player gives him. So far, he has been to Germany and Spain.
“When we have a competition in a different city, we travel 2 or 3 days before the championship starts in order to get acclimatized to the weather, but also to visit the city”. Juan, an Argentinian player, tells me. “Even when you have played for many years, there are always new cities to discover”. Then he shared his personal pathway with me: “I started playing when I was 13, at Rosario (Argentina) and for the last 5 years I have been able to play in many different European countries”.
“Pierre and I are planning to sign with an Italian team for next year, as we both love the Mediterranean weather and we have never been there yet”.
Of course, there is a downside to this hectic life: living away from home can be difficult from time to time. But Juan insists that the occasional distress t is worthy. Being a professional sports player is not the only way to travel, but “it makes it easier”. With a smile, he adds: “You’re a photographer, why don’t take as much advantage as possible out of the opportunities your job offers you…”.