Before attending Northeast Missouri State University, (now Truman State University) in Kirksville, Missouri, I had never seen rugby, nor did I have any idea how the game was played. I had played football and wrestled in high school and was looking for a sport/activity to fill that void. I saw a flyer on campus for rugby and went to check it out. What I found was a sport that was physical, demanded agility, speed, strength and toughness and it all came wrapped in a package of camaraderie, fun and inclusiveness.
I played for 5 years while I attended Truman State University. At first we were a rag-tag group just learning the game, but eventually developed in to a very good collegiate side under the tireless dedication of our coach Bill Sexton. I witnessed Bill's dedication to us and to the game, and it made an impact. His genuine passion for the game has rubbed off on hundreds of players that have passed through Truman. In our alumni we have players who have gone on to play at a national level, create local programs, coach high school teams and travel the world sharing their love of the game. I could go on about Bill and what he has done, but what he and others like him do for the game inspire me to be involved with the USA Rugby Trust and share my love of the game with others.
During my years at Truman, we had the opportunity to travel throughout the Midwest and also took a 7's side to Santiago Chile to play in a tournament. Getting to play on an international stage (even though not at an international level ☺) allowed me to see the global love of the game. I have memories of traveling with our team that still make me chuckle today; memories of games in bitter weather that remind me I could always be colder; and friendships that would make me hop on a plane at a moment's notice. These memories fuel my love of the game.
After graduating from Truman State, I played for 2 years on the Ramblers club side in St. Louis and still try to make it back for the annual Truman alumni game.
I have stayed active over the years supporting the Truman college program as I felt it was important to give back to a club that had given so much to me. I still remember how tough it was to pay for trips, equipment and all the things it takes to build a successful team. That love of the game and camaraderie has grown into my support for USA Rugby; giving back to a sport that has given me lifelong friends, business relationships as well as a hell of a lot of fun. It is a sport that I truly believe America can (and is) falling in love with. It is a fast paced, hard hitting and passionate game that can be played by athletes young and old.
Chris Geisert has over 20 years of marketing experience at various levels and from various perspectives. His experience includes client side work with Six Flags Theme parks and XIKAR as well as agency experience with Build-a-Bear Workshop and Sonic. In 1997 Geisert started the brand promotions and sponsorships group at AOL where he managed promotions and sponsorships around CPG and media cross-promotions. He is currently the Vice President of Marketing for XIKAR.
Chris lives in Liberty, MO, and is married with two sons.