Thank goodness for rugby!!

Posted: March 1, 2012 in Family, Friends, Memories, Sports
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The first time I saw a rugby game in grad school, courtesy of an invitation by a British friend who was playing, I didn’t think there were many (perhaps any) rules. It appeared to me to be closely akin to throwing a ball out at recess in the middle of a bunch of first or second graders and saying, “Get it”, although hopefully at that level, the ensuing mayhem would be on a much milder level and sans the blood streaming down a face or two. Eventually I realized there were rules…but that the mayhem not only remained, but was rejoiced in, even when the “old boys” got together, creaking and groaning, to commiserate about the good old days and good old plays. (And believe you me, they remember every single one of those plays.)

Last year, our younger daughter and I gathered with other rugby fans at a nearby Irish pub, and with a draft or two of Guinness for me, to watch New Zealand’s All-Blacks defeat France 8-7, in New Zealand. We had a great time and there’s absolutely nothing in sports like watching the All Black’s perform the haka before a game:

However, the real reason I’m thankful for rugby is that years ago, I attended a game on a day where I had nothing else to do, in response to an invitation from a couple of friends who’d been helping me coach the boys’ soccer team at the high school at which I was teaching. And not too many post-games later at the local roadhouse, (now a much more upscale restaurant with glass-topped tables but no panache), a player looking for a spot to sit and eat his hamburgers in a room so filled that only a few seats were left at already-occupied tables, asked if he could sit with me, and that player eventually became my husband.

He doesn’t play rugby anymore (although he still remembers every play, injury and concussion), but today’s his birthday and I want to acknowledge that if it weren’t for rugby, I’d have missed out on the best person in my life! So here’s to rugby and happy birthday to my husband!  Ruck on.

  1. It is the hooligan’s sport, played as always by gentlemen.

    • Thanks for mentioning that quote, which I’d intended to include, but forgot!! The one for soccer/football is the reverse…a game for gentlemen, played by hooligans. These days, perhaps the fans of soccer/football make up most of the hooligans.

      • Unfortunately yes. More than ‘cats or dogs’ nowadays it seems to be ‘football or rugby’. Which is actually ‘go where the money is, or go where the heart is’.
        I think we’ve made the right choice! 🙂

      • I think so, too. I have to say that the haka puts a huge smile on my face every time I hear it. Nice to know that I can catch game on TV at least sometimes. Although I played more traditional sports such as softball, basketball, flag football, track, back in the day when there were virtually no women’s sports and I played on the boys’/men’s teams, other than football, my favorite “big time” things to watch are hockey and the Tour de France, rugby not being “big time” in the States. I sense a trend here. 🙂

  2. billgncs says:

    You’re right, we were playing Pittsburgh, and at behind the whole game until at the end, they threw long from a lineout, and I was able to break on the ball and break to the goal line. I had support on my right and only their fullback to beat, so I drew him in and dished to my support. I passed as he took me down, and I rested on my arms as the line went forward for the winning score.

    Afterwards, I met this beauty, and we talked late into the evening until the bar had cleared out about books.

    The memories are so fresh, just like yesterday.

    • janet says:

      See. I knew you’d remember all that stuff. I just remember you sitting down, us talking about books for hours, then Jerry Doyle encouraging you to ask me to the party and, although dubious, I went. The rest, as they say, is history (or in this case, our-story.)

  3. […] All-Blacks perform prior to a rugby game to psych up, as well as intimidate their opponents, (  It’s impressive and, yes, intimidating. Then some weeks ago, Michael Yon posted this […]