A blankness … Weekend Recap

I’m sitting here trying to figure out how to sum up my weekend … because I just know there are so many of you sitting there twiddling your thumbs in anticipation. But all I drew was a blank. It looks like this …

So yeah … I am pretty tired, I was really, *really* sore yesterday but am better today a bit and have already broken into my lunch because I’m so hungry. You gotta love that increased metabolism of the ongoing rugby season.

[In a total tangent to this post, a lady I work with was just looking up information and found that there is a health disorder titled “leprechaunism”. Not kidding. I’m waiting to hear the symptoms … we were guessing being irish, red hair, short, likes gold … but I googled it and it’s not pleasant, so this ends up not being very cool … back to the post]

This weekend’s game in Minneapolis (actually Blaine, MN) was a rare occurence in that my team plays up there at least once, if not more a season. But our men’s team never does. So the fact that Tim and the guys would be up in the Twin Cities on the same day for a game was cool and it turns out they were on the field right next to our games at the All-Minnesota Tournament Saturday at the National Sports Complex. We played the Amazons and they played the Eastside Banshees.

So, Friday night after work, Tim picked me up at my parent’s house and we met my teammate Sta-Nay-Nay and his teammate Compton to drive up early and stayed in the very lovely Days Inn of Blaine with a meal at the Ground Round of Tomah, Wis., on the way. Not only did I get fries with my sandwich but also three onion rings. I really could only eat two though.

This option was infinitely better than most of the rest of my team getting up at 5 a.m. Saturday to drive up to the game. And then, as usually has happened as of late with our Minnesota away games, we had a flurry of late notices of players not coming with at the last minute. So at 11:30 p.m., shortly after arriving at the hotel and being half-asleep, I found out that we would only have 14 players for our league A-side and the following b-side match. Including a few nearly new rookies. YES!! AWESOME!! So looking forward to tomorrow!!

And remember, I was also playing scrumhalf. SUPER DUPER!!!

I got up early and couldn’t sleep, so I went down and ate the free breakfast with some truckers at 7 a.m. Saturday. We discussed if I was with the hockey team and no, actually I was with the rugby team, and then moved on to other random trucker pleasantries. Later, Tim woke up and we stayed down in the breakfast room for a while to let the others keep sleeping and watched all the football game previews on tv.

Finally, after being ready and downing my third bottle of drink and being so hydrated that I was warming up just in my jogs to constantly pee, we went to the field and found our team and awaited our now post-poned by 30 minutes kickoff.

We opted to play down a wing since we knew the Zons pack was their strength. And then it was finally gametime and we were off. Our team was surprisingly calm, probably a tad tired, but calm and serious. We lost, but it wasn’t for lack of effort. Like we told the Zons later, we only lost by 5 points in our hearts. Of course, they laughed at us … but then we ate all of their cupcakes.

The Zons were bigger than us and had the advantage with the 15th player we didn’t have. But we started out really well and held them out of our try zone in their first few advances. We even scored first, what would be our only try, after Scottie had a nice run up the sideline, she got caught and then in the ensuing breakdown, Tonya emerged from the mix like a little magician, ball in hand, for a nice zoom down to the try zone. She’s getting so evasive, that wily Tonya.

For those of you that know the Zons coach, let’s just say the plesantries from the sideline were somewhat violent and not appropriate for children present. And highly amusing to me … because we were the reason he seemed to be having an aneurism. We were challenging them and doing well in shutting down their running. I remember a specific verbal assault to the Zons front row from their coach reminding them they had a full front row of subs all ready to play if they weren’t going to get their act together. Ouch.

I won’t go into details about the game specifically (we are in the middle of the league season after all!), but we held the Zons to a 10-5 lead at the half and we were pretty proud of ourselves, despite our game not coming together as we had hoped. The Zons had anticipated runnning all over us, so I think the halftime mark was a loud awakening for them.

Needless to say, in the second half, they used our depleted roster, open wing side and their continuous-support rucking/mauling to break us down. It was frustrating and not a tad bit heartbreaking for our team, but that’s how things happen sometimes.

Our weakness was in not having enough players traveling and not much else. So, that’s something we can work on. Keep working on.

Individually, I struggled in a position I don’t know well enough and with a game that I needed to be more comfortable in. Too often, in these situations, I struggle with the additional issue of my teammates not trusting that I’ll figure it out, that by just letting me keep working through it (even if it’s not always good), that I’ll get better. That if allowed to get in there and do my job, I’ll keep getting better and faster at it. Sometimes, the opportunity to do my job is taken away because of this, so that is really frustrating. Because it’s obvious that my inexperience is seen as a weakness and not dependable, so then it’s hard to be argue “Hey, let me keep trying so I can get better”.

It got better as the game went on … not what I would have liked, but a bit better. I figure by the time I retire, I’ll finally be fluent in all positions 1-15.

There was an interesting issue with playing scrumhalf and staying out of the tackling and breakdowns too. I was taking too many tackles early on (which, I’m sorry, but if they run at me, I’m not going to let them pass me with the ball) and then some confusion with the forwards next to me with tackles coming up (Does she have it? Or is it mine? Guess it’s mine …). Hesitant forwards next to you doesn’t give you too much choice if they don’t go for the tackle and then you get a really weird awkward tackle but oh well.

So, yeah. The good news was I felt pretty good health-wise, breathing-wise, the whole game. I only felt out of breath once after a longer run. So take that allergies and asthma.

A-side match ended. And big thanks to our pals on the Valkyries who were kind enough to pitch us water bottles from our try zone when we needed it. Granted it was hard to see them all relaxed and enjoying the nice fall day while we played, but oh well. 😉

B-side game was up next, I knew I would be playing the whole thing so at this point I didn’t care what position I played (I’m getting really good at this whole Utility Player mentality, don’t you think?) and thanks to some college players watching, we could rest our injured starters and just plow on through the 30 minutes of b-side without too much issue.

And guess what I played? Initially, I was back at second row and then … prop. Yup, I propped for the first 20 minutes, hence my extremely sore neck and upper back Sunday morning. Nothing like being the 140-pound prop in the scrum … but hey, it’s all in proper alignment and mentality. And I jumped too … that was kind of fun, I miss lineouts a bit. I even had a b-side try. Pinkie and I – as we tend to do – had a quick eye-contact moment of shared scoring mentality … it’s not anything like an a-side try, but whatever. It’s still nice knowing you’ve got a bit of scamper left after 120-plus minutes playing.

Our other Maggie, a devoted back, was the other prop … so it was funny later when I reminded both of us as the props, we were supposed to be in their rucking first and foremost … Oh yeah … realization of what you are doing dawns.

Later, Pinkie went out and I finished scrumhalfing. And then thankfully, it was all done. Whistle blew. Uniform off. Exhaustion sets in. Off to watch Tim’s match finishing up.

Little did I know that my normally laid-back boyfriend would be counting down his minutes in the Sin Bin for being caught raking an opponent. Most people don’t realize this, but he does have a renegade streak.

Nothing like walking up, wondering why he watching the game from the try zone and then realizing he’s in the Sin Bin. Naughty, naughty, naughty. In fairness, I guess the opposing player on the receiving end of the Tim’s boot was quite stupidly playing the ball on the ground after diving in to the breakdown, but Tim was also rather apparent.

Sadly, the guys lost by just three points and our dueling matches in Minnesota ended disappointly on all fronts.

Sunday, Tim and I barely made it out of my apartment by 1 p.m. due to being so sore, tired and just worn-out … but we made it to a friend’s post-wedding social and then to my sister’s new apartment to check out her neighborhood street festival (and my teammate Maggie with her new Roller Derby team (off-season from rugby, of course!). Rugby girls … we’re so active.

Later, Tim made me chicken and we watched Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, but I missed the end because I fell asleep on the couch. And somehow Tim found the energy to clean up my kitchen and wash all my dishes. I really do like this boy.

Next up for the Wisconsin Women – road trip to Chicago North Shore. Two league games down, two league games left.

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Filed under Amazons, blondie, Midwest, North Shore, WWRFC

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