Even senior Jack Miller himself could not have guessed that an argument over rugby and football with his brother, when they were kids, would cause him to find a passion in rugby honored as an All-American.
According to Miller, he told his brother that football was the best sport, while his brother disagreed, saying rugby was better. Miller’s brother challenged him to play rugby, which motivated him to play at the age of 10. He played in Hong Kong before moving to Massachusetts.
Miller said that when he moved to the U.S, he felt that his only connection with Hong Kong and the places he had lived was rugby. He worked extremely hard for the next four years to maintain this connection.
According to Miller, he struggled with rugby in the beginning of his high school years.
“After I didn’t make the [All-American] team the first two years, I made the reserves last year, but then I got injured, so I didn’t have to travel,” Miller said.
Miller’s mother Desiree Miller said that her son has gone through many challenges in rugby, including a broken ankle freshman year.
“He was sidelined for the whole season,” she said. “Also, the first year he went to the high school American camp, he didn’t get picked to travel or an alternate. That was really disappointing to him.”
Miller did not allow his challenges to negatively influence him, instead opting to immerse himself further.
“He actually threw himself more into high school program and worked with his friends,” Desiree Miller said. “He talked to mentors through Boston Rugby Football Club and worked harder.”
Miller said that he realized he was focusing on winning too much and was stressing himself out more than was needed.
“I’ve changed my mindset,” he said. “I can say this for any sport, the best way to be good is to have fun, and I know it’s the cheesiest thing that you could possibly say.”
Miller said that his new mentality and enjoyment of rugby helped him get picked for the team and get honored as an All-American.
¨I just showed up, played and got picked,” he said. “The team that I got picked for initially was the seventh team and I didn’t even plan on trying out for them. But they just pulled me over and had me try out for them. I was just like, ‘I don’t really care if I make this team. I’ve put in all the work. I just got to play.’”
Miller said that as an All-American, he has been selected to represent his age group.
“To be an All-American, there is a bit of a selection process,” Miller said. “I got spotted first my sophomore year of high school and then I went to a camp, which invited me to another camp, which is the tryout for the travel team.”
Boris Dimitrov, who plays with Miller on the high school team, said Miller has worked very hard in rugby, and it shows through his honor as an All-American.
“I’ve known him for a while, and I know that he really devotes a lot of time to rugby and improving his skills,” Dimitrov said.
According to Dimitrov, Miller is a powerful force on the team and is able to share his experiences with the team.
“The other team is usually intimidated,” Dimitrov said. “He’s pretty good, and people know that. It’s uplifting to have him on our team just because he has been playing for a really long time, and he can teach those younger guys and people who don’t know how to play the trade of the game.”
Miller said it is an honor to be named as an All-American, and he is very proud of the work he has put into becoming one.
“In the fall, I do a lot of training to prepare myself and get mentally ready for the tryouts,” he said. “To make the team is phenomenal. I haven’t worked as hard for anything as I did for that and I’ve really been passionate about it.”
Sean Treacy, Miller’s former rugby coach, is very delighted with his accomplishment.
“It’s a goal he set a while back which he kept working towards, despite a couple of setbacks,” Treacy said. “Hopefully there will be lots more honors to come if he keeps working hard.”
Desiree Miller also expressed her happiness with her son’s honor.
“We’re thrilled for him,” she said. “He’s worked hard with an honor to go travel, and he loved wearing the USA jersey. It was great fun to get to see him go play.”