And it’s very cold outside. Twenty degrees below our normal high this time of year. Brrr. For non-Wisconsinites, that equates to sunny, but only 26 degrees. Weather.com also tells me it should “feel like it’s 14 degrees”.
Days like these, you might wonder, how come I didn’t just stick with chess, knitting or the underwater basketweaving team? Perhaps, you might say to yourself, “My couch will be a much warmer place for me after work and I can watch Oprah”.
But I will be bundling up and going to run sprints, suffering through up/downs and improving my tackling against my teammate’s hard-running and trying to keep my mouthguard in my mouth. I will also be muddy and cold. Mud is good for your skin. Bruises are beautiful.
• An article recapping a recent men’s college rugby tournament at Princeton University, but it asks why isn’t rugby more popular in our country?
LaDainian Tomlinson. Drew Brees. Peyton Manning. These names are familiar to anyone interested in American sports. These men are famous, wildly rich and adored because they excel at football — the new national pastime. There are thousands of men and boys who dream of reaching the status these men have achieved, and this dream has created a pool of young football players large enough to accommodate thousands of high school teams and hundreds of collegiate squads.
But why is football so alluring to Americans, while rugby, a sport that shares many of football’s characteristics, remains far less popular? The relative rugby inexperience of Princeton’s New Jersey neighbors was evident at the inaugural Rickerson Cup, the first New Jersey collegiate state rugby tournament, hosted by the Tigers this past weekend at West Windsor Field. The men’s club rugby team steamrolled Seton Hall, Montclair State and The College of New Jersey on its way to a tournament win.
• Two of my favorite kind of rugby articles – feature pieces on clubs growing successfully in different cities:
Some stereotypes are fair in sports, but many are not. It’s fair to say that rugby, at most levels it is played at, does not always get a fair shake. Rugby is an extremely physical sport, yes, but there aren’t nearly as many fights as there are in ice hockey. Some frat house rugby players might drink, sure, but so might participants in any sport being played by the cast of “Animal House.”
When it comes to attributes associated with rugby, Arni Swanson of Seacoast Rugby has a few that don’t necessarily fit into the traditional stereotypes: Community service; dedication; teamwork; a love of sport.
“People enjoy the camaraderie of the team,” Swanson said. “It’s a group-oriented sport. There is no individual aspect to rugby. Everyone gets a chance to play.”
“It’s like instant family,” Katie McGurn, 31 and a Roses captain, says between sips of beer at a packed post-practice outing with her rugby mates – a regular team affair at the Federal Cafe, a downtown Hartford bar and a team sponsor.
“With rugby, you either love it or you leave it. There’s not a lot of in between,” says McGurn, a teacher at South Windsor High School. She’s played rugby for 14 years, about a decade with the Roses. “It takes a lot of commitment. A lot of physical endurance.”
• Via my e-mail alerts, video and an accompanying news story on the recent massive 45-team college rugby tournament at Wayne State in Nebraska. The video features footage of some of Wisconsin’s men’s collegiate selects playing.
• A few collegiate women’s rugby updates:
• Women’s Rugby Travels to Nationals in No. 1 Spot (Chico State)
• Women’s Rugby Club Slugs Local Competition (East Carolina University)
Image: Cold Snowman, Discovery School.com
Added: Kori from Hartford just e-mailed me about their article in The Courant. Congrats to Kori and all the Roses on the publicity!