Rugby was more than just a sport for Phaidra Knight. It was a vehicle that helped change the legendary player in all aspects of her life.
“I think I evolved as a human being because of rugby. Rugby played a huge part of it.”
Knight didn’t discover rugby until she was in law school in Wisconsin. As soon as she picked up the ball for the first time and saw players flying around the field, Knight knew the sport was for her.
“It gave me an opportunity to express those emotions that I never really knew that I harbored,” she said. “Anger, aggression. – it allowed me to express them in a disciplined way.”
The Georgia native became a force in the sport and attracted the attention of the U.S. Women’s national team whom she’d become a big part of for an astonishing 18 years. Knight had a style that was all her own.
“I loved to run over people. To some people, I was a dirty player. To others, I was a hard player. I pushed the limits, but I didn’t break the rules. I hit hard.”
Knight played in the world cup three times for the United States, but she didn’t really feel her impact on the game until she was named the player of the decade in 2010 and later elected to the World Rugby Hall of Fame.
“That validated me and the choices I made in the game. It was validation and sometimes that is all you want. And that was enough.”
Knight, who has worked as a rugby analyst for NBC Sports, continues to express her passion and love for the sport by helping others.
“One of the things I’m involved with is the creation of a non-profit organization called Peak Unleashed. It basically creates opportunities for youth and helps with leadership skills. One of our main missions is to introduce rugby to incarcerated youth around the country.”
Given back and giving her all, that’s what Phaidra Knight is all about. By the way, she recently announced that she has her sights set on another career in MMA. We will keep a close eye on that!
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