The April Player of the Month is junior Ben Shapiro. A dedicated weight room worker, Ben handles himself at prop while being a bit undersized for the position. Ben studies Civil Engineering and plans to continue his family’s line of work in crane construction in New York City. Shapiro joined the club just last year but is a great contributor and now handles the club’s merchandise. Ben is primed for a solid senior year during the 2013-2014 season.
Height: 5′ 10″
Weight: 195 lbs.
Major: Civil Engineering
Hometown: Oceanside, NY
It all started when CJ Stock dragged me to my first practice at Oosterbaan on a cold December night. I had no cleats, no mouth guard, and no idea what was going on, but by the end of the night I couldn’t wait for the next one.
What have you liked about Michigan rugby the most so far?
I can say with confidence that there is nothing in this world quite like Michigan rugby. While I’ve come to love playing rugby, Michigan rugby is about the people, the camaraderie, and the tradition. I have never met a more genuine and interesting group of guys and I love each of them for it.
Most memorable moment on the pitch?
Scoring my first try in a match against GVSU. We marched down the field only to be repeatedly smashed at the try line. Finally, Collin Ward (Peach) fed me a pass by the left sideline that I was able to pound through. Felt great.
What’s your favorite rugby drill in practice? Least favorite?
My favorite drill is hitting the scrum sled. My least favorite is sprints. It’s a safe bet most props would agree.
What other sports have you played?
In high school I played tennis. I also wrestled for a couple of years and played some house league roller hockey.
In 5 years, what do you see yourself doing?
In five years I hope to be living in Manhattan and working as an engineer on building the country’s tallest skyscrapers.
What’s some embarrassing childhood memory you can tell us?
When I was about 5 I thought only liked vanilla ice cream. One day my older brother let me try a bite of his chocolate ice cream and when I told him I liked it, he convinced me that the only way I could like chocolate was by flushing a container of vanilla ice cream down the toilet. I’ll never forget the look on my mothers face when she asked what I was doing with a scooper and a half gallon of ice cream in the bathroom.
Favorite place in Ann Arbor?
The Black House. Every time you walk in the door you never know what you’re going to find.
My biggest fear is becoming complacent. I hope I never lose the desire to try something new.
Brick oven pizza from the original John’s on Bleeker Street in New York.
Any game day superstitions?
Not so much superstition as ritual, but a big cup of black coffee and some loud Rage Against the Machine on the iPod.
Favorite superhero and why?
Batman: billionaire playboy by day, crime fighter by night. With only his razor sharp intellect, cutting edge gadgetry, and some great moves, it allows me to continue believing that I could, one day, be Batman.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
The ultimate goal of life does not lie in wealth or notoriety, but to be able to look in the mirror and be truly happy with what you see.