Social Skills is a monthly column featuring community groups where you can meet new people through exercise or other enjoyable activities.
If seeing muscular men in schoolgirl uniforms appeals to you, consider joining the Shenzhen Dragon’s Rugby Football Club.
Although donning dresses is not part of the club’s regular training, says President Illian Nadenenko, it did make for a particularly memorable costume party.
“We place a lot of attention on the social aspect of the club, with after parties where both teams participate,” says Nadenenko, explaining that post-match festivities often follow away games.
The Tuesday and Thursday training sessions cost RMB50 each, mixing fitness and full contact. They take place in Futian and first-timers participate for free.
A yearlong full club membership for men costs RMB800, while women pay RMB450. That gets each player a training kit, uniform and discounts at rugby-friendly businesses like The Brew and Vista-SK Medical Center. A RMB300 non-playing ‘social club’ membership is also available.
Despite rugby’s high-octane nature, Nadenenko says injuries are relatively rare, mostly because the club avoids putting players in situations they aren’t ready for.
“For those who have never played before, we don’t let them out on the pitch until we are confident they can handle full contact.”
So who should join?
“People who love sports and want to make friends, people who like to have fun. Basically anyone who wants to make life more interesting in Shenzhen.”
For more information, including maps to the training fields, click here. The Shenzhen Dragon’s also provide regular game summaries and training updates through their public WeChat account: shenzhendragonsrugby