Every great rugby player has a signature move that makes them stand apart from the pack, whether they know it or not. Over the years, I’ve seen some of the best players tackle consistently at seemingly 90 degree angles, do crazy spin moves to block the opposition, and even kick the ball, by themselves, all the way down the pitch. As a rookie in the fall ’09 season, one of the first things that struck me as overwhelmingly impressive was Emma Blumstein’s signature move – the stiff arm.
You couldn’t get near her if you tried. Any attempt at getting her to buckle her knees, let alone to give up the ball, was a fool’s pipedream. She merely pushed you away, intent on her goal. She was simply untouchable.
And that’s the funny thing, the irony of it all – The distance she kept from everyone physically at practice and during games completely contrasted with how close she let you get to her on a personal level. Not only was she an amazing rugby player, but she was hilarious and humble, sincere and personable; a friend to many and a role model to all who were lucky enough to cross her path. She could make you feel at ease within seconds of talking with her, and was as charismatic a character as any of us on the team knew. Hell, most of the school loved her – clearly shown by her Tufts Homecoming Queen ’09 crowning. Her amazing humor, crazy-cool attitude, and her unique, almost shameless persona made you instantaneously feel lucky to be friends with her.
On June 12th, 2012, Emma Blumstein (A’10), our beloved Tufts rugby captain Spring ’07 – Fall ’09 was killed in a bicycle accident in Brooklyn, NY. Over the course of this past month, it has truly been a difficult time for many coping with this immeasurable loss. All words seem trite as we attempt to express the magnitude of what has come to pass, and how such a thing could happen to one of the most amazing ruggers we have had the amazing fortune to be friends with.
Even in her physical absence, the power of her friendship and the affect that she has over everyone she met still continues to have enormous influence over our lives. Dozens of ruggers dropped everything they were doing to fly up to Boston to say goodbye and find comfort in one another. Sandwiches were had and memorable stories were shared.
The team has also retired her jersey, signing and framing it as a gift to her family.
Thank you everyone for the support you’ve shown throughout this difficult time
She has inspired a September rugby reunion in her honor, and every day, she continues to help strengthen the bond among the members of her rugby family.
You may have tried to stiff-arm us all again, but this time it’s no use, Emma. We’re not letting you go.
TWRFC “So long as we live, she, too, shall live/ for she is now a part of us, as we remember her” ‘12