Monthly Archives: December 2006

Merry Christmas!

As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve been on vacation and stayed away from computers. In fact, I didn’t even check my e-mail until last night. It’s been pretty nice. I hope you too unplugged and got away for a bit.

But it’s a little after 6 a.m. on Christmas morning and I’m up early to finish up a few things before I drive over to my parent’s house to celebrate my favorite holiday with my mom, dad, brother and his girlfriend, sister, grandma and aunt.

I’m off all of next week and have a few roadtrips planned possibly, but am also hoping to just stay home and straighten up my apartment. I’ll get back to blogging a bit hopefully …

But now get off the computer, okay? Enjoy your day! And Merry Christmas Everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under holidays

A long December …

One of the things I’ll remember fondly about 2006 was that I reconnected – albeit mainly via the web – with a group of friends from my hometown. Old friends that I hadn’t talked to, much less seen, in ten years.

Most of them will be back in our hometown next week and I’m hoping I can make a quick roadtrip up north to see them and Lake Michigan.

One of my old friends, Nicole, had this song playing on her myspace page today and I instantaneously knew the song in the first few notes and a flood of memories hit me … and I also thought what a good song for right now.

I wish I could find a better version, but this one will have to do. It’s a live version of The Counting Crows “A Long December”. Just try not to sing along …

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukA1r81XxzU”>

Added: And this is for Maggie from my cat …

1 Comment

Filed under friends

Pre-Vacation Crush

Sorry … late blogging today … actually not really blogging. Tomorrow’s my last day at work before holiday vacation and I’m swirling around trying to finish up work projects, meetings, updates and today’s department holiday party (oooh! Potluck!).

And I’ve got to figure out Christmas plans, my boyfriend signed his papers for his new house today and rugby events looming in January and the spring are nagging at me.

Probably why it’s pitch black outside and I’m still in my guinea-pig-haunted office.

So far, January may be very busy for work and life … yeah for 2007!!

On top of all of this, to get my salary adjustment at work that was already stressing me out, I need to re-apply for my job which will be converted into a different assignment of sorts. The red tape of working for a large governmental-type place. So I have my job already, but to get my salary adjustment, they need to say I’ve been hired for a different job which is really just my job now but paying me more and labeled differently. But it means my new-but-old job is technically open for people to apply for it for the next two weeks and I need to send in a resume/cover letter like everyone else. Then I will be interviewed along with two or three others and then will be hired for my job. And as it turns out, people I know (but am not allowed to know who they are) are applying for my job that they can’t get because, well, it’s my job.

The job description is a word-for-word account of what I do here at work every day (and no, blogging isn’t listed. Shame, huh?). And even though my boss is going through this process to help me keep working here and pay me more, it’s pretty weird to apply for your own job, interview for it, etc. Further, I have a small fear that someone who applies for it will be better at my job and then some weird-nightmare situation will occur and they will hire that person and say, oh, too bad. Which can’t happen, since I wouldn’t have yet quit my old-trying-to-be-new job, but still makes me a little itsy bit nervous. So, I have to dust off my resume and cover letter and send it in before Christmas. Oy.

And I really want to know who wants my job and I feel bad that they are applying for a job that they won’t get because I already have it, but dude! It’s my job! 🙂

See, wouldn’t this stress you out too?

Okay … damn, it’s almost 7 already. I’m out. And hey, Kimmie K., if you’re reading this, I can’t wait to see you!!

Leave a comment

Filed under blondie

Overheard this weekend …

“Don’t be so openminded that your brains fall out.”

Leave a comment

Filed under quotables

Further proof of how I am a sucker for animals …

I found this video via a link at Dooce and wanted to share it … it’s a homemade video of the rescue of over 100 horses trapped on an island in the Netherlands by flood water. I can’t embed the video here but included a shorter news video on the same story below and here’s a related USA Today article as well …

But watch the first video if you have a chance …

Leave a comment

Filed under articles, videos

Rugby Bits & Bites … Fabulous Friday

Two interesting bits via one of my e-mail lists …

• An article from the London Times on how the new IRB scrum law may change how props play …

Change of rules likely to herald a new approach to prop culture
Mark Souster
The Times December 14, 2006

Teams train for adjustment to law
Intention is to make game safer

London Wasps have always relished being leaders of the pack and yesterday they were attempting to ensure that they will remain so. The three-times Premiership champions spent many hours on the training ground at Sudbury practising changes to the scrummaging laws that are being introduced at all levels of the sport by the IRB from January 1. The alterations are designed to make the game safer and to reduce the risk of “ catastrophic injury” caused during scrummaging.
In simple terms, the scrum will become a four-stage process. The front rows will crouch, touch, pause and then engage. The touch is the new element, with props having to reach out to their opponent’s shoulder, then withdraw their hand to ensure that they are no more than an arm’s length apart before the “hit”.

For years, a common sight has been front rows and packs with combined weights of three tonnes or more going at each other at full bore from more than a metre, which can generate forces of more than seven tonnes, much of which is absorbed through the neck, body and spine of the props.

Get it right and everything should be fine. In most cases it is. Get it wrong and the potential danger is obvious. The changes will ensure that the gap is no more than 14-16 inches. The logic is that the narrower the gap, the less the chance of injury.

Thankfully, serious injuries are rare, with the statistical odds estimated at one in two million. But as Paddy O’Brien, the IRB’s elite referees’ manager, said: “One neck injury is one too many. We have been looking at how we can make this safer for everyone.”

The recommendations of a four-man panel, which included Jason Leonard, the world’s most capped prop, Dr Mick Molloy, the IRB’s chief medical officer, Dr Syd Millar, its chairman and a giant among props in his day, as well as Ken Quarrie, an expert in biomechanics from the New Zealand federation, were approved by the IRB Council last month.

Craig Dowd, the Wasps forwards coach and former All Blacks prop, instigated yesterday’s rigorous schedule with full live scrums for the first time. He brought in Wayne Barnes, one of the RFU’s leading referees, to oversee the session. “What we discovered was that props who are quicker off the mark will benefit,” Dowd said last night. “The bigger, heavier prop with only a short hit will be negated — null and void. The more dynamic prop will come out on top of a bigger opponent. They can go in a better pushing position early and harness the power coming through from behind.”

In short a good little ’un with technique and craft should better a less dynamic but stronger big ’un. He believes that there will be far more pressure on the tight-head.

“You will find a lot more boring in by the tight-head on to the hooker because he will run out of options if the loose-head gets a really good hit,” he said. “It is going to open a whole new can of worms. I don’t know if it is going to make things safer. Nobody wants to go backwards [at a scrum] and they will find ways around it. I know it is being introduced for safety reasons, but scrums will still collapse.”

For the uninitiated, what is the hit like? “When it is done correctly, it is not painful,” Dowd said. “The problems occur if the prop goes (to engage) before the locks and back row are ready. You get what I call the truck-and-trailer effect. You hit the opposition but then recoil and slam back into your own locks. That is very dangerous and is the cause of a lot of the problems props have with lower-back injuries.”

O’Brien, who insisted that the scrums would not be de-powered as a result of the initiative, said: “The laws already say the front rows have to be an arm’s length apart before engagement, but until now referees had no way of measuring that. Introducing the touch before engagement makes it foolproof.”

Jeff Probyn, the former England stalwart, agreed. “It means technique is once again going to be important,” he said. “Short, squat props like me will once again rule.”

Molloy, another former prop, said: “In reducing the gap and having a gentler contact, the risks will be reduced.”

SCRUM DEAL
Under the new law, the referee will make four calls

Crouch
Once the referee awards a scrum, the opposing front rows will crouch in preparation for the almighty collision only seconds away

Touch
Crucially, the props will be told to extend their outside arms and touch the shoulders of their rivals. They then withdraw their arms

Pause
The referee will order the two packs to steel themselves before the impact of muscle against muscle

Engage
The point at which the referee tells the front rows they may come together. It is not a command but an indication that they may engage

• And some interesting trivia on the history of numbered jerseys in rugby from the World Masters list …

The history of Rugby numbers (thanks to Tom Jones, IRB Reg Dvlpmnt Mngr for N. America/West Indies)

And finally, with thanks to Paul Dobson, and Planet Rugby

Some history of wearing numbers

Teams number their players now but it was not always so. In fact, there was a time when numbering players was frowned upon as it smacked of tawdry professionalism.

Now nobody bothers about professionalism – nobody, that is, except those who have to pay the players and the coaches and the fitness trainers and the first aid people and the PR people and the media liaison officers and so on and on, as rugby becomes the gigantic employment opportunity it never was.

Numbers have taken the place of names in referee speak. “Off-side, Number 6.” “Get onside, 8.”

Numbers have replaced the jargon of position. “Who is the best 9 in the country?” “I’m not sure whether to play him at 6 or at 7.” (Note the origin of being at sixes and sevens!)

When England first wore numbers at Twickenham, on 18 March 1922, King George V, a keen rugby supporter, turned to the secretary of the Scottish Rugby Union, the conservative J Aikman Smith, and said, “I see England have numbers. What a good idea. When are Scotland going to get numbers?”

In indignation, Aikman Smith replied: “Sire, my players are men, not cattle.” And the story has it that he refused to speak to His Majesty for the rest of the afternoon.

Numbers, it is believed, were first used in 1897 in Brisbane when the New Zealanders played Queensland. “As an experiment to assist spectators, a number will be placed on each player’s back.”

When they were brought to Sydney in 1904 players objected because it was too convenient a way for referees to identify miscreants.

On 21 January 1922 numbers were used in a Five Nations match for the first time – when England played Wales at Cardiff Arms Park. It rained. Wales won 28-6.

The Springboks wore numbers on the 1906-07 tour, though not against Scotland. Their opponents sometimes wore numbers, e.g. Yorkshire, Middlesex, Newport, East Midlands. The Springboks wore tour numbers. That means that the player always played in the number given him for the tour. 29 could play next to 3. This was common practice till well after World War II.

It would seem that the 1905-06 All Blacks did not wear numbers.

The International Rugby Board first discussed the numbering of players in 1921 when Wales and England let it be known that they intended to number their players. “The Board expressed the view that this was a matter for the several unions to decide on, having regard to the wishes of their players.”

Howard Marshall – of Haileybury, Oxford, Harlequins and the Barbarians and for years the rugby correspondent of the Daily Telegraph – wrote in 1936 in an article entitled What Rugger Means to Me: “Here I must make what is probably my last protest against the numbering of players. I remember how I resented this cattle-branding when I was playing myself, and my unholy delight when the numbered jerseys did not correspond with the programmes. Rugby football is not a game for such fripperies as numbering and programmes; it is not a game to be watched by any but those who have played it and understand it.”

In 1933 soccer players were numbered at the FA Cup Final for the first time. Everton, who won, played Manchester City. Everton were numbered 1-11, Manchester City 12- 22. Celtic still refuse to wear numbers on their backs.

Sometimes teams have worn letters – to confuse pirate programme sellers. The All
Blacks did that in 1921.

Confusing pirate programme sellers was not the only reason. There was also the belief that a single letter was less confusing than two numbers. The famous English clubs, Bristol and Leicester Tigers, used letters, from A to O, until the advent of professionalism and TV exposure. Bristol had ‘A’ at fullback, Leicester ‘O’ at fullback. When they played it looked as if a whole lot of scrabble tiles had been flung onto the field. In 1999 they changed from letters to numbers.

Some prefer not to use numbers in the pious belief that the game is a team game and no individual is so important that attention should be drawn to him. Schools especially like this as it suggests that rugby is valued as a part of education with
value in teamwork and effort, not a means of marketing an individual.

There have been times when teams have not had used a number 13 but a 16 instead, out of superstition. Then you get players like Danie Gerber who insisted on using the number 13! Bath RFC does not have a No. 13, using 16 instead. West Hartlepool no longer have a No. 5 after a lock John Haw died of a heart attack during a match in 1994.

At one stage the fullback was Number 1. The front row wore Nos 8,9,10, the locks were
11 & 12, the loose forwards 13,14,15. Or, more frequently, the front-row went 13, 14, 15, the locks 11 & 12, and the loose forwards 10, 9, 8. The number 8 has, down the years, more frequently worn 8 than any other position has stayed with a number. The loose forwards are lumped together as they were the back row in the old 3-2-3 scrum formation, and are still called the back-row even though scrums seldom have a back row in modern times. The loose-forwards are still 6,7,8 as if they formed a back-row but with the player at the back as the No.8. South Africa invented this scrum formation and developed that player’s modus operandi and call him the eighthman.

Just after World War II in the Five Nations, numbering was from 1 to 15, starting with the fullback at 1. From the beginning of the Sixties the numbering changed to what it is today. From 1966 on it became uniform in Test matches that the numbering be from 15 to 1 or, if you like, 1 to 15 where 15 was the fullback and 1 the loosehead.

The IRB, like most law making bodies, are often reactive. Something happens and then you make a law to cover it/govern it/get rid of it. They decided to order the numbering for matches under their jurisdiction.

The positions should be as follows, the numbers being for teams which wear numbers:
15 fullback
14 wing (right)
13 centre
12 centre, second five-eighth
11 wing (left)
10 flyhalf, first five-eighth
9 scrumhalf, halfback
8 eighthman, number 8, No.8
7 flank
6 flank
5 lock
4 lock
3 prop (tighthead)
2 hooker
1 prop (loosehead)

The names and numbers have been given for the positioning of a team at a scrum, for in olden days the scrum was the most important facet of play. Games in fact were almost one long scrum. Now they are important but far less so.

David Campese wore a Number 11 jersey though he played on the right wing.

In 1998 the All Blacks wore a 2 on their sleeves – a tribute to Sean Fitzpatrick who had just recently retired.

The use of replacements, first for injury and then as tactical substitutions, has led to a fairly orderly bench. There are as many as seven players on the bench, often – but not always – split 4-3 between forwards and backs.

The bench is numbered from 16 to 22 where, often but not always, 16 is a hooker, 17 a prop, and 20 a scrumhalf.

Many consider a team as now consisting of 22 players with a maximum of 15 on the
field at any one time.

Remembering back to my first few years of playing rugby in college, I don’t think we had numbered jerseys either, but got them later on when I was a senior maybe. But I can’t imagine wearing letters. Think of the fun you could have spelling …

Photo: Marshall Women’s Rugby – site’s a bit outdated, but I’ll add them to our sidebar anyway. And is this the same Marshall from that new movie? I looked and it is …

Technorati Tags:

Leave a comment

Filed under Bits and Bites

Teams around Los Alamos, New Mexico?

Via my e-mail … Jennie is moving and looking for a new team, but needs some help finding one …

Hi,
I’m likely going to move to Los Alamos, New Mexico in June. It seems that there are no women’s teams in the entire state! According to the USA rugby website there is the University of New Mexico college team and a girls high school team in Los Alamos. I’m too old for both of these clubs.

I’ve e-mailed a local men’s club to find out if they know anything and haven’t heard back. Maybe your readers could help me out?

I have debated starting a women’s club, but then it seems our closest opponent would be a 5 hour drive 😦

Thanks

Does anyone know of any senior women’s teams near Los Alamos or the surrounding area? Or maybe a Union contact for that area? A strong men’s team that might be interested in a new women’s division?

Leave it in the comments and I’ll mail it to Jennie.

Technorati Tags:

5 Comments

Filed under Community