"I like to think of Jesus as an Ice Dancer, dressed in an all-white jumpsuit, and doing an interpretive dance of my life."

IMDB has quotes up from Talladega Nights … I am awash in hystericalness. Just straight up giggly reading these … like this line from the opening:

America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed. -Eleanor Roosevelt, 1936

With that said, here’s the Wednesday version of Rugby Bits and Bites …

WomenEagles posted photo galleries and video clips of the Ireland Game and World Cup overall. I added the links to the left sidebar. And in the photo galleries, whoever made the poster featuring a photo of Phaidra in her muscle/fitness pageant, you rule.

• Via the Women’s World Cup, our Eagles spent part of their off day coaching rugby to kids at a Young Offenders Program.

• Someone or somebody is keeping the Wikipedia page on the 2006 Women’s Rugby World Cup updated. And it’s easier to understand for all the rankings and scoring than some other sites, plus it’s FREE! (Don’t you love the concept of group editing at Wikipedia?) And I have also added this to the sidebar.

Rugby Magazine has updated their online links for the month. Notably, Eagle scrumhalf and fellow blogger Lee Knight is the Women’s player profile this month.

Also, an update on the USA Sevens moving from LA to San Diego next year. Becca at UC-San Diego e-mailed me about the move:

Hey Blondie!

Just wanted to send you a quick note about the international 7’s tourney this year. You’ve probably heard it’s in San Diego this year… well, the women’s tourney is being hosted at UC San Diego (where I play!) and I am super stoked about this. Basically, I just wanted to drop you a note and let you know I’ll give you whatever updates you want whenever I hear them. I’ll probably get some good dirt considering my teammates and I are officially the “Team Liasons” for all the visiting teams!!! I’m so excited, you don’t even know! AAAAH!

Not only because we’re going to see some amazing 7’s rugby played, but also, who doesn’t love foreign men with accents? I’m bound to meet a few. 😉

Have a great day!
Becca

Awesome Becca and yup, send in updates!

• Dropkick photos has posted the USA 7s photos. Great action shots!

And here’s the recap in case you didn’t see it, Northeast Women Repeat as All-Star 7s Champions.

• Also, a great article on the USA 7s from one of our local Wisconsin papers – The Racine Journal Times – via Chris in Oconomowoc.

A crushing good time: Rugby’s popularity growing
By Michael Burke

FRANKLIN – One of the most exciting sports is also one of the most overlooked, so rugby advocates brought an all-star tournament here this weekend to try to spread the word.

The USA Rugby 2006 All-Star Sevens Championships were in full swing Saturday at the Milwaukee County Sports Complex in Franklin. The event pitted 16 all-star teams – eight each of men and women – from every region of the country against each other.

The action was fast, body-pounding and nearly nonstop – except for a one-hour delay when the threat of lightning was judged too serious to ignore.

“This is a pretty hard-hitting game,” Wisconsin Rugby Football Union President Chris Sadler remarked at one point during an afternoon match, after watching a hard tackle.

In regular rugby, 15 players from each team take the field for an 80-minute match. In “sevens,” however, each team is comprised of seven players, each half is just seven minutes long, and the pace is all-out, all the time.

Many rugby players prefer their sport to football or soccer, and they often play it into middle age or even beyond. The big challenge is to get others to pay attention so they too can grasp the attraction.

The bleachers at the complex were far from filled Saturday, despite the presence of the nation’s best players. Those watching appeared to mainly consist of friends and family members, as well as some area rugby players.

“It’s hard to draw people who don’t know the game,” said Tom Schmitt of Hales Corners, the event’s director and coach of the Marquette University women’s team. “But I think with sevens, there’s an opportunity; it’s a little more enjoyable to watch.”

“Our sport is growing in popularity,” he said.

For example, Sadler said 13 Wisconsin colleges and more than 30 high schools now have rugby teams – including the University of Wisconsin-Parkside and a newly formed Kenosha Unified School District team.

“Wisconsin actually has some of the strongest high school rugby in the nation,” Schmitt said.

“I organized the tournament because I think it should be a mainstream sport. I thought if you bring something like this here, it may legitimize it in the eyes of parents.”

Rugby is a full-contact sport without pads or helmets, although many players wear teeth guards. Although players say meaningful injuries are rare, parents sometimes are reluctant to let their children begin.

Casey Endres of Middleton said the first year he wanted to join his school’s team, his mother vetoed the idea. She relented the next year, and Endres, since graduated from high school, now plays for a Wisconsin men’s club.

He explained the lure: “It’s just nonstop action. And in this (sport), you get to hit people.”

“I like how it’s a big combination of all the sports, and you have to do a lot of thinking,” said Lindsey Fickau, 18, who played for her high school team. She was heavily recruited by the colleges and will play for UWM this year.

Helping this weekend at the tournament as a sideline referee is Todd Streeter of Racine, coach of the men’s team at UW-Parkside, where rugby is a club sport – not an official, sanctioned sport.

“If I had free time, I would start (a team) in Racine in a second – especially if I could pull from all of Racine Unified” School District, Streeter said.

He said resistance can come not just from parents, but from high school football coaches leery of having their players involved in a spring, no-pads, full-contact sport.

But coaches who can get past that, Streeter continued, realize their players can get great conditioning, agility and ball-handling skills from rugby.

And rugby is a true team sport, said several people at Saturday’s tournament. “There’s just no egos,” Streeter maintained. “You don’t see any touchdown dances, you don’t see any fights. It’s a gentlemen’s sport.”

The tournament continues today from about 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Event director Schmitt invited inquiries from anyone interested in rugby to contact him via e-mail at: wirugby@aol.com

About Rugby: The game is played with hands and feet and an oval ball. It is sometimes described as a cross between soccer, from which it evolved, and American football, which evolved from rugby.

Each team has 15 players – although this weekend’s “sevens” tournament involves seven-player teams.

The game consists of catching or picking up the ball and running with it, passing, throwing or knocking the ball to another player for scoring points, as well as kicking the ball.

Scoring:
* A player who crosses the goal line with the ball and touches it to the ground scores a “try,” for 5 points. His/her team can then kick for a two-point conversion; * A penalty kick is worth three points; * A player can drop-kick the ball at any time to score three points.

A really solid article, don’t you think? I like how the reporter brought together a variety of interviews to tell the piece in – what I think – is a positive light on our sport. Yeah for rugby!

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1 Comment

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One response to “"I like to think of Jesus as an Ice Dancer, dressed in an all-white jumpsuit, and doing an interpretive dance of my life."

  1. John Birch

    Hmmm – Wikipedia item was a shade out of date and difficult to follow in places.

    Needless to say that “was” is the operative word here…

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