This weekend’s trip down to Chicago for the Whiskey 10s tournament was pretty fun. Not as much raging fun as last year’s, but still fun. And I think those of us that played shook off some of the rugby rust from winter.
The tournament itself needed some work, but any day you play rugby with your friends in the sun is always good.
My sister’s birthday meet-up was Friday night, so my boyfriend and I got up super early Saturday morning (5 something?) to meet my teammates and carpool to Chicago. Our men’s team didn’t enter a team, but we still had my boyfriend Big T, Mr. Baked Potato aka Tyson, Pinkie’s boyfriend Sean aka Mr. Ohio and Katie’s boyfriend Steve joining us, so a good crowd for Wisconsin.
We had exactly 10 players coming, including two who we wanted to play with minimal contact because they both healing injuries. And then Pinkie and Ohio overslept a bit, while Dana and friends got lost somewhere en route. So 8 of our players got to the field, our first match was in 10 minutes, there were no bathrooms (portos) at the field, so you had a 1/4 mile jog to a nearby bar and the fields were pretty cold & soggy, covered in goose poop and piles of deer poop. No one was ready to peel off layers and get their shorts and cleats on quite yet. Including me.
The sun was out thought and the temperature was climbing into the high 40s & 50s with a slight chilly breeze. We wrangled three college girls to join us, Pinkie showed up just in time and we got ready to play the Northern Illinois Univ. women. Yeah! Goose Poop!!
We found extra players for each of our first two games and then just one for our last game, so we were good all day. Our biggest struggle was figuring out which vet to sit so our rookies got plenty of playing time. The muddy fields made all rugby messy, so it evened things up a bit for most teams. Everyone had messy ball and slippery running & scrumming.
Backing up just a bit, there were two pools of women’s teams. One pool with my team (D-1 senior), the Chicago North Shore women (D-1 senior), the Will County Morrigans (D-2 senior, big hard-to-stop forwards) and NIU (collegiate).
And then a pool with three other college teams (UIC, Fredonia (from New York? Maybe near Syracuse?) and Illinois State. So, the tournament organizers put all three senior teams in one pool and the final would be between the pool winners. Anyone else see a problem with this?
Also worth noting, this tournament provided ONE porto potty for 24 teams. One. Needless to say, after my first 1/4 mile warmup run to the nearby bar, I opted to drink just enough water to quench my thirst and entirely avoid the bathroom. Without going into details that I picked up from braver friends, that porto was useless after about an hour. Gross!!
But back to the rugby … I’m not saying the college teams weren’t good, because they were good for typical college teams. But they weren’t senior teams (who typically have more experience and are used to a faster, more hard-hitting game), and if anything, all the teams should’ve been split up between the pools more fairly/evenly. Good on the college teams if they beat a senior team, but as it was, our team and North Shore knocked off our first two opponents handily (many tries to zero or 1 try (against us by the D-2 senior team only)), played a good tough match as our third game against each other and North Shore beat us 3 tries to 1. Which is what I expected knowing our team that traveled with half rookies and North Shore, who we play 3-5 times a year and know quite well.
So, I guess in my eyes, the true final was our match against North Shore. We finished that up and one of our pals on North Shore says “See you in again in the final.” Because they had heard the final wouldn’t be the pool winners, but the winners by total points, so our two teams would need to play again. Which would make the most sense for the bad pool set-up, but ended up being wrong, it was still pool winners. We double-checked with the organizers and then the winners of the other pool were the Fredonia women, who walked up when we were checking. I explained the situation and said “Hey! Good luck! You’re playing a D-1 senior women’s team! Have fun with that!”
Later, I talked to some of the North Shore players at the party, who said they beat Fredonia by a large margin and Fredonia got a bit nasty in the loose play, kicking people in the head at the bottom of rucks and other fun stuff. One player was sin-binned, which I find absolutely rediculous in a 10s tournament game. Is there even enough time on the field to earn a yellow card? You just have to be malicious.
Oh well … we found out we didn’t have to play anymore, we’re happy how our rookies played and went in search of a hotel room for warm showers and food before the party. We also didn’t mind leaving the field, as we were harassed by idiot not very good looking college boys that were probably still in diapers when I played college ball. “Hey Ladies!!”
Last year’s party was great, free beer all night. This year’s party, the beer was cashed at 7 p.m., so we opted to ditch the too crowded and smoky bar for a good irish pub and just the company of us, because we’re awesome. 🙂 And then of course, 8 of us shared a hotel room. Nothing like sleeping on a hotel room floor after a day of rugby. But hey, free waffles in the morning!!
Sunday was gorgeous down in Chicago, high 50s, sunny with hardly a breeze. We stopped by my boyfriend’s good pal’s house for the beginning of a St. Pat’s party for the South Side Irish Parade, but sadly had to leave to drive home before noon. We later took a nice walk in the sun around my new neighboorhood, so we could enjoy the sun a bit though.
I then had a date with Goose to work on our team tax paperwork. Nothing like ending a long weekend being totally sleepy and going over budgets, assets and expenditures. And remembering just how expensive it is to play rugby.