Monthly Archives: July 2007

Philly, D.C. … Comin’ Your Way

Thursday morning, my Dad and I are flying out to Philadelphia to meet up with my Mom. She’s been on the East Coast for the past month for a historical teaching tour.

We’ll be flitting around in Philly, Atlantic City and Washington, D.C. for four days, then driving home to good ol’ Wisconsin. And yes, I already realize this is a very quick trip. That’s just how we roll.

I’ve never been to Philadelphia or New Jersey and only spent a few hours poking around Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., so there will be brand new adventures out there for Blondie and parents.

For all of my readers out in that area of the country, drop me a comment and let me know anything I should absolutely not miss. We plan on going to the National Zoo (my mom wants to see the Pandas), possibly 1-2 memorials and maybe the Smithsonian. In Philly, likely the Liberty Bell, but my mom’s been out there seeing most of this stuff already, so we’re really open to anything.

I’m also eagerly anticipating eating seafood. Crab cakes? Or hey, Philly cheese steak sandwiches too.

So leave me a comment! Maybe we’ll take up some of your advice. And worth noting, I will be not be able to drop by and play rugby anywhere (although I thought about it!). This trip is too short and all about family. Next time though.



Filed under Blondie: my thoughts, family, travel

USA Women’s 7s Update

Via, Goff interviews USA Women’s 7s national head coach Julie McCoy about plans moving towards the first-ever 7s World Cup in 2009.

The Eagles will be playing at the USA 7s, the Hong Kong 7s and Amsterdam 7s this upcoming spring in preparation, while New Zealand is reportedly going to play in the Women’s USA 7s too. A USA Under-23/Developmental team will again travel to the NAWIRA 7s in November.

All of the women’s national team coaches are working together to plan out their schedules and “coordinate their demands on the players” which is a very good thing. Further, McCoy has been invited to shadown New Zealand’s men’s 7s coach at an IRB 7s Series event.

“That will be an incredible opportunity for me to learn as a coach how they prepare and train,” said McCoy. “It’s an honor to be able to do that.”

The 2009 Rugby World Cup 7s will be just the fifth-ever 7s World Cup and the first-ever to incorporate the women’s game. It will be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

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Under-23 Eagle Women downed by Manawatu

Via USA Rugby …

Women’s U-23 Team Lose Second Match of Tour, Learn Valuable Lessons
PALMERSTON NORTH, New Zealand — The USA U-23 Women’s National Team fell to the Manawatu Women NPC on Saturday, July 28 at the Massey University Sport & Rugby Institute in Palmerston North. With a final score of 34-3, this second match of the team’s New Zealand tour demonstrated the physical intensity of the game and the rugby style played in New Zealand.

“We came over to learn the hard lessons and Manawatu provided them,” Head Coach Barb Fugate said. “We will see how the players respond by raising their physical pressure in contact and improving their ability to attack while under pressure.”

The young USA squad was overcome by the Manawatu Women, who scored six tries, with two of those converted. The U-23’s points resulted from a penalty kick in the first half by fullback Kirsten Ahrendt (Dartmouth), making the final score 34-3.

The team will spend a couple of days training in Palmerston North before heading to Auckland for their tour-concluding match on Saturday, August 4. The U-23 coaching staff will be joined by New Zealand Rugby development officers, including Farah Palmer, former New Zealand Black Ferns captain.

Penalty kick: Kirsten Ahrendt

Barb Fugate, head coach
Martha Daines, assistant coach
Susan Whitwell, assistant coach
Annemarie Henning, program manager
Teresa Tucker, team manager
Nicole Titmas, athletic trainer

Not much in terms of updates to be found out there on this, but Manawatu’s team was also supposed to be fellow U-23 aged players. I’ll post more if I find it.

Also, don’t forget Turls is blogging the tour at Adventures in Rugby.

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Rugby Bits & Bites: Day 4

Hey … I don’t have a headache yet from my soda sobriety on Day 4. It could be the latent effects of the coffee I had after work (damn you starbucks) and the ice tea I had at my rugby meeting last night. But I did not have a soda!!

Just to clarify … because I had to explain this to the boyfriend too … I’m not quitting drinking caffeine. Caffeine is my friend. We will never part. Not even if she tries to make out with Big T the boyfriend. Caffeine + Blondie = BFFs. But I am quitting my daily soda habit of at least 2+ cans of Diet Mt. Dew per day.

Naturally, if I’m not downing the Dew all day long, my consumption level of caffeine will also drop and has already (other than yesterday). And I’m not ingesting all the other artificial crap in soda that would probably cause me to be some mummfied relic by my 50s.

I’m hoping to get to the point where I might have a cup of tea to wake up in the morning, but only if I feel like it. And since it’s only water and the tea, no extras, I’m going to feel better without all the preservatives and what not racing through my bloodstream. And I very rarely treat myself to a White Chocolate Mocha because they are expensive and full of too much sugar and frothy goodness.

Anyway, on to some more rugby goodness I dug up today …

• Via Rugby Reader’s Review, there’s going to be a rugby movie – “Forever Strong” – featuring Sean Astin (of Goonies, Rudy and Lord of the Rings fame), Neal McDonough (Minority Report, Walking Tall) and Gary Cole (Office Space, The West Wing, Talladega Nights). Gary Cole will be portraying Highland HS (Utah) Rugby coach Larry Gelwix. According to IMDB’s plot outline, “A talented-but-troubled rugby player (Faris) must play against the team his father (McDonough) coaches at the national championship.”

The movie is currently in post-production, so we’ll likely see it in 2008.

• Current Cal Rugby coach and former USA Eagle and USA National Team coach Tom Billups writes a monthly column for RugbyRugby. This month, he discusses one of the important lessons he teaches at his rugby camps, being properly outfitted to play rugby.

“Tuck them in and pull them up.” These are the first words our summer rugby campers hear from me after our welcoming meeting and a request I make to almost each group of rugby athletes I have worked with. Tuck in your jerseys and pull up your rugby socks. Please.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of working with 11- to 19-year-old players each summer is that many are brand new to the game of rugby and I get to “see” the game through their eyes for the first time all over again. Among the many lessons we teach at our camp is the need for proper rugby gear. I often try to use a little humor when I say “Mike Tyson doesn’t play rugby” to those players who walk onto Witter Rugby Field with no-show white socks on. Tyson chose to not wear socks in the ring.

Players who are new to the game often suffer a double “I don’t.” The first is that they simply don’t have any proper rugby gear, which is not only understandable, but also very correctable. The second is that they do not know that it is important to wear proper rugby socks, shorts and jersey when training or playing the game of rugby.

• Via our friend Rugger Blogger in NZ, you can download the World Cup schedule into your outlook calendar or find the whole schedule here (which I’ll add to the sidebar). Only 42 days left!

• Via All, New Zealand’s Farrah Palmer was elected to be an Independent Director for the NZ Maori Rugby Board.

Former Black Ferns captain Farah Palmer was today elected as a new Independent Director of the New Zealand Maori Rugby Board.

34-year-old Dr Palmer succeeds Bill Osborne, who has stepped down.

New Zealand Maori Rugby Board Chairman Paul Quinn said Palmer brought a wealth of experience to the Board.

“Farah is a highly-respected Maori woman, Maori leader, academic, rugby player and administrator. She is passionate about the sport and Maori rugby in particular and I am sure that we will benefit from her extensive knowledge and experience in the game,” Quinn said.

Palmer captained the New Zealand Women to three World Cup titles, in addition to earning her PhD.

“New Zealand rugby is entering a challenging, yet exciting time and it is a real honour for me to be in a position to contribute further to the development of the game in this country, not just for the Maori people, but the wider rugby community.

“Even though I am not playing anymore, I still have a lot to offer rugby and I feel I can make a meaningful contribution to how we take the game forward,” she said.

• Via the BBC, The Welsh Women’s Rugby Union will be officially a full member of the Welsh Rugby Union, and not on it’s own.

The Welsh Women’s Rugby Union is to be brought under the overall structure of the Welsh Rugby Union.

The change, that disbands the WWRU as a stand-alone union, was agreed after a unanimous vote of its member clubs.

“This is an important step forward for women’s rugby in Wales,” said WWRU manager Jilly Holroyd.

“There are many reasons – financial included – why it will benefit the women’s game, none more so than a better partnership with the WRU.”

And John’s discussing it with the Letchworth Girls.

But overall the impression you get is that being part of a single governing body measurably benefits the women’s game – look at the USA and Canada, where women’s rugby has been a full part of their rugby unions for ten years or more. Remember how much girls’ rugby is played around where IE Weldon came from, and – perhaps even more importantly – the positive attitudes there seemed to be towards it. Or maybe it would be better to say the lack of attitude – it was the routine acceptance of the women’s game that was so impressive, the impression that every school that had a boys rugby team would of course have a girls team too. It barely needs saying how far we are from that!

It’s true here in the USA. We may not get as much support as the men, but it’s pretty much considered a given in most places that if we have a male team, there should also be a female team. It’s not that way in every culture. John also points out that England’s men’s and women’s rugby unions are still separate.

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U-23 Eagles Notch First NZ Tour Win

Via USA Rugby …

U.S. Women’s U-23 Team Wins First Match of New Zealand Tour
For Immediate Release
July 25, 2007

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — The USA Under 23 Women’s National Team was victorious in the first match of the team’s New Zealand tour. The U-23s defeated opponent Burnside WRFC 27-10 under the lights at the West Melton Rugby Club in Christchurch. After arriving from the United States and training for two intense days, the team was excited and ready to compete.

In the first five minutes of the match, the U-23s put two tries and one conversion on the board, with scoring by outside center Kristy Lear (U of MN) and wing Elaine Schlarb (Oregon State Univ.), respectively. Kirsten Ahrendt (Dartmouth) successfully converted Schlarb’s try and Lear followed with another try ten minutes later. Burnside opted to kick for points on a penalty about 30 minutes into the match. The U-23s quickly followed with a try on the outside by Schlarb. At the half, the U-23s were ahead 22-3.

Burnside brought a high level of intensity to the second half, and scored within the first ten minutes. Their conversion was successful, bringing the score to 22-10. Neither side added any points until the final five minutes of the match when U-23 replacement right wing Schmarrah McCarthy (Purdue) scored wide.

“The fact that all five tries were finished by outside backs is a good indication that a lot of players did the right things well: high quality possession, good recognition of the space available, creative angle running off the ball and well-timed transfers,” said USA U-23 Women’s Head Coach Barb Fugate.

Looking ahead to the team’s next match against Manawatu RFC, Fugate said the team needs to work on the set pieces and defensive organization needs marginal improvement. The commitment to defense throughout the Burnside WRFC match was excellent; the players delivered very sure tackling and a number of diving tackles from team captain Jillion Potter (UNM), Shaina Turley (San Diego Surfers) and others.

“We spent 30 minutes in our own end without giving up a point, but we made it hard on ourselves because we weren’t as organized defensively as we will be,” said Fugate.

Outstanding efforts from the match include counter attacking from fullback Ahrendt, which led to two tries in the first half, and defensive work and field leadership from number eight Potter.

The team’s next match is on Saturday, July 28 against the Manawatu RFC at the Rugby Institute in Palmerston North. After the match, the team will have the opportunity to spend time with Farah Palmer, New Zealand Black Ferns captain who led the team to its victory in the last World Cup.

USA U-23 vs Burnside WRFC
1. Naima Reddick, Cal State Chico; 2. Sheri Villa, American University; 3. Sarah Wilson, Ohio State; 4. Brea Hughes, Texas A&M; 5. Jessica Travers, UIC; 6. Emily Tunney, Philadelphia Women; 7. Phoebe Boone, UCSB; 8. Jillion Potter, UNM (Captain); 9. Tiffany McCoy, University of Northern Iowa; 10. Amber Benlian, Maryland Women; 11. Elaine Schlarb, Oregon State University; 12. Kelly Griffin, UCLA; 13. Kristy Lear, University of Minnesota; 14. Tonya Ansel, Sr. MN Mankato; 15. Kirsten Ahrendt, Dartmouth; 16. Dani Goodman-Levy, Vassar; 17. Krissy Vargas, Cal State Chico; 18. Libby Berg, MN Valkyries; 19. Kassie Drey, University of Northern Iowa; 20. Shaina Turley, San Diego Surfers; 21. Schmarrah McCarthy, Purdue; 22. Emilie Bydwell, Brown University.

USA 27
Tries: Kristy Lear, 2; Elaine Schlarb, 2 ; Schmarrah McCarthy (replacement), 1
Conversions: Kirsten Ahrendt

Barb Fugate, head coach
Martha Daines, assistant coach
Susan Whitwell, assistant coach
Annemarie Henning, program manager
Teresa Tucker, team manager
Nicole Titmas, athletic trainer

One down, two to go. Next up Manawatu!

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Rugby Bits & Bites … Day 3 of Soda Sobriety

Day 3 … gave me a headache. I met some old friends from my Sports Information days out for lunch today and had a Fanta (caffeine-free). I have had water and hot tea, just starting my second cup.

This is tough.

On to the rugby …

• I’m at Pride recruiting on Sunday when two radio news reporters stop by to ask me about our awesome sport. “What’s a word or some of the lingo that is unique to rugby that we could use in our show?” “The scrum is probably the most unique thing about rugby …” and as I’m trying to describe what it looks like, I notice the Minotaurs have a flier featuring a scrum. “It’s like this … but without the kissing.” Humorous … to me anyway.

• Turls, one of our U-23 Eagles, has her first NZ post up at Adventures in Rugby. Go over and wish the Eagles good luck in their upcoming matches!

Rugby Magazine came in the mail yesterday. USA Eagle and Minnesota Valkyrie Christy Ringgenberg is the cover girl for the Midwest’s NASC victory! There was also an article on fellow rugby blogger, Renee, over in England, but only in the print copy. Hi Renee!

Online, the women’s profile is Kate Daley of Penn State and MARFU U-23 awesomeness. Also more talk of the Pan Am Games.

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Filed under Rugby: Bits and Bites

Back off Terrorists …

Don’t mess with Wisconsin and especially don’t mess with Wisconsin with fake bombs using cheese!!

Now, you’re getting personal.

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Filed under Blondie: my thoughts