Wisconsin Women 55, Milwaukee Scylla 22

I took this photo while we were all getting ready before our game on Saturday. It’s Tonya, our flyhalf, sharing her headphones with Kelly (aka Pinkie) and then Nicole (aka Goose) waving all crazy.

We played down in Waukesha, Wis., just outside of Milwaukee. The field looks very lush and green. But it was actually pretty hard with bare spots, so I have some nice field burn marks on my legs and arms from playing.

I snapped this photo just a minute before the other one. Nicole threw the ball at Kelly and Tonya.

I like the closeup the best. And you can’t see it, but Nicole is grinning big time.

So we knew this would be a grudge match. For multiple silly little reasons, our team and the Scylla – well, let me clarify – some individuals aren’t always polite and respectful of other individuals. And it makes for interesting rugby games. I could really care less about any of the drama people might feel like creating, unless it negatively affects my team and what we have worked hard to accomplish.

So, yeah, we heard through the rugby grapevine that we were being trashed. And not just in a typical, let’s beat ’em kind of way, but in a “they look down their noses at everyone else” and “they only care of themselves and don’t want to help rugby in our state like we do” way. And this is not true. I could say lots and lots of negative stuff in return, but that’s just stupid.

If you know me, you know I detest drama and people who create it. Sometimes it can’t be avoided, but it irks me to no end to know someone’s stirring up trouble just for trouble’s sake. It doesn’t help anyone. Ugh.

So our goal was to play well, make overall team improvements and win the game. We wanted to win by a lot, but a solid win without excuses and played positively (and as politely as possible). And we accomplished this. Maybe the Scylla wouldn’t agree with me, but to each their own.

We were short two players, so two alums stepped in to play at scrumhalf and wing to help us out and make 15. Thanks Heat and Scottie. In the end, we scored nine tries and Johnson, our prop, booted in five of nine conversions. We allowed in two tries on some mistakes from penalties, other messiness, and then two at the very end on a wing overload, after losing one player to an ankle injury. The wing overloads sucked, but since the defense we’re working on was working solidly throughout the match and we we’re already up by five-plus tries, it was an acceptable sacrifice on an overloaded backline. We knew what had allowed it to happen, so now for future games, we’re set. That’ what spring games are for anyway, learning and improving.

The game had some negative moments. And some poor sportsmanship (sportswomanship?). Some negativity that was a product of outside issues and not on the pitch actions. I was hightackled and held in a chokehold at the bottom of a ruck for a while. Always fun. And we had to adjust our rucking since the sir kept missing some – in my opinion – obvious diving over. It’s hard to ruck, no matter how low you get, when somebody divebombs your ankles. And I’m not really sure how that helped the other team either, but whatever. It’s the game, some stuff gets called, some stuff doesn’t.

I also know I was called for a high tackle, sometimes they happen, and I got out of it as soon as I realized what had happened … I was still screamed at very banshee-like by the other team’s player … so yeah, sorry. But it’s just a game. Ironically enough, i think it was the same player who had me in the headlock. But not sure. Oh well. (sheepish grin!)

Overall though, I was really pleased with the steps our team took forward. No one or two people were making things happen or scoring, it was a big team effort. And that’s really great to know for our next two games and looking ahead.

No game this weekend, we’re recruiting at our local Farmer’s Market. Nicole and Kelly will be in Minneapolis playing for the Midwest against the Eagles and the West (including my pal/former teammate Kim and another Wisconsin all-star KT). And no, I’m not going to watch. Sorry. Too long of a drive for two weekends in a row …

But we travel to Minneapolis the next weekend on May 13 to play the Menagerie. And the Valkyries are joining us for a round-robin of sorts too. Good stuff.

We’ll end it all at home on May 20 against the Detroit Women, along with our men’s team playing their men’s team. Word is that we might also have some press coverage. Sweet.

And the Menagerie and Detroit just battled big time for the D-II Midwest Championship (Detroit won, but it was close), so needless to say, we have some tough games coming up and we need to be working hard for them to end our spring season well.

Then it’s summer … and summer rugby rules. šŸ™‚

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