Full Name: Grace Lightner
Hometown: Mill Valley, CA
Position(s) played: Flanker, Hooker
All Blue since: 2018
All Blues: When and how did you first start playing rugby? What got you into it?
Grace: I got handed a flyer on the plaza my junior year of college, and I needed a new extracurricular so I showed up to the first meeting and then just kept going
AB: Did you play any sports prior to rugby?
G: Volleyball, track and field, and mountain biking in high school
AB: Do you have a philosophy/mindset when you practice and play rugby? If so, what is it?
G: Focus on one thing at a time - I find when I try to incorporate a lot of new concepts at once, I forget what all of them are and don’t get better at anything. So start with one thing until it starts to make sense, and then I can move on to the rest.
AB: How did you first find out about the All Blues?
G: They taught me how to scrum when we were coachless for a few months at Cal (+ the general Cal-to-All-Blues pipeline)
All Blues: How long have you played for us?
G: 2.5 years
AB: What is one of your best memories thus far as an All Blue? What do you like most about being on this team?
G: One of my best memories as an All Blue was the first game of our 2020 D2 season against the Amazons, when we came back from a first-half deficit to win by a try. That whole (half) season was amazing, since I feel like we could have won Nationals if it wasn’t cancelled midway, and it exemplified what I love about being an All Blue - we were all really focused on doing well and winning, but we never forgot how to have fun on the field.
AB: Is there a particular player and/or coach that has influenced your development as a player? In what way(s) did they help you?
G: Irene Gardner during summer 7’s! Even though I was just playing socially, she did a great job of making sure everyone there developed as a player - I finally learned how to pass while running
AB: What is the best advice you have ever received about playing rugby?
G: No matter how tired you are, just keep running. Having high energy on the field can lift up the people around you.
AB: What skills are you working on/would like to work on right now?
G: Rucking! Now that we’re doing contact again everyone has to start from the ground up, so this is a chance for me to build a good foundation that I don’t think I’ve ever really had
AB: How do you balance your responsibilities and playing rugby?
G: Rugby always comes first :) Actually though, I think that the physical work that goes into being fit for rugby is helpful for focusing at work. As long as I remember to get enough sleep.
AB: Who’s your favorite rugby player/team to watch? Why?
G: At the risk of sounding cliché, the All Blues! A big reason I got into rugby was the social aspect, so it’s fun watching my friends succeed
AB: What is your favorite non-rugby activity?
G: I got really into road biking over quarantine
AB: If you were an ice cream flavor, which one would you be?
G: Mango mochi ice cream
AB: Most memorable thing for which you’ve gone to Kangaroo Court for?
G: Bad driving - the punishment involved bear crawling around the house