Monthly Archives: August 2007

Sheboygan & Could I Be More Busy?

Tuesday was work, work, work. And a team meeting, instead of practice because of all of the rain. Our field needed to dry out.

I spent all of yesterday driving from Madison to lovely Sheboygan, Wisconsin for a work event.

Sheboygan is home to many things, including a love for bratwurst and polka music.

I also spent some time stuck in construction traffic on the way there and some time battling suburbans “highways” with way too many traffic lights.

I did however stop at the local Adidas outlet store on the way home and picked up some new nifty running shoes (pink accents!), new crew socks and a new pair of all black adidas casual shoes that remind me of dance shoes. Being all black, I can wear them at work. And feel like I should be busting a move. I saved $20 in a sale on the running shoes … nice. Now if only I could convince myself to run …

Got back to Madison, decided I really needed to hang out with my boyfriend, but alas, he’s on big deadlines for work, so he’s had to work late all week. I decided to bring him chinese food anyway. I think he liked it.

Tonight, we’re finally back on our rugby field. Hopefully, no jerk decided to drive through it and whip donuts in the mud (this happened last spring!) and that our field is drying out. First league game in T-minus-8 days.

Oy vey.

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Back …

No, I didn’t die in a freak waterslide accident. Or drown in the floodwaters here in good ol’ soggy Wisconsin. Or at rugby practice.

I have been really busy with so much going on, and everytime I thought about blogging, I just didn’t have the energy to add one more thing to the to-do list. Burnout if you will. I barely looked at the internet beyond e-mail and news.

Noah’s Ark with my sister and Big T was a great day of fun. It was rainy, but we had a blast. Absolutely one of the best days I’ve had all summer, besides my trip with my parents. And some of those slides are more like rollercoasters than waterslides, so I screamed almost as much as I laughed.

Rugby practice started last week and our numbers are up, thankfully. With some great new talent.

We had a friendly match/scrimmage on Saturday against the Milwaukee Scylla, which was just perfect for a lot of our vets to try some new positions and our rookies to play their first match or shake off the rust from not playing since college. And I even had two long breakaway runs, including a nice little try while I was playing scrumhalf off of a break from Kelly off of a lineout. Always fun. I’m still picking mud out from under my nails though, that field was just a mess from all of this rain.

Big T and I left Milwaukee late Saturday to drive down to his hometown Rockford for his Dad’s surprise birthday party. And that was really fun. It’s not very often when you spend time with other people’s family that you are as comfortable with them as you are your own. So when you do, it’s always a pleasant surprise.

Sunday morning, got up early because I was catching a ride down to Chicago to help coach our Wisconsin Under-19 Women’s Selects playing Minnesota outside of Toyota Park and the USA vs. Munster game. A really great match between Wisconsin and the Minnesota U-19s, but Minnesota took the win by two tries.

Afterwards, my boyfriend came to find me and we walked to meet the bus of all of our Madison rugby teams to socialize and then watch the USA Eagles. This was my first-ever live game to see the USA team (men or women) and an international opponent at that. And Toyota Park was pretty cool, we had great seats and despite the loss, I did enjoy the match quite a lot. And I also enjoyed some nice cold beer and sharing a hot dog and pork sandwich with Big T and my lovely teammates.

You can’t beat watching live rugby in a stadium with all of your friends and teammates. You just can’t. And being surrounded by rugby goodness all around you, with an entire stadium of other players and fans. We saw so many rugby friends from other teams, including the very much missed Kim K. with her Colorado teammates (COME HOME!!).

So today, I’m very tired and not feeling super (too much socializing just a bit), it’s raining in Madison again, but I’ll play catch up this week for all of the rugby fun going on lately. And I’m so glad this weekend is a holiday and we can relax and enjoy the last weekend of summer.

Plus … Saturday marked exactly one month until my 30th birthday. Kind of crazy.

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Flossie

• I’m not sure how seriously I would take a Hurricane named “Flossie” … just me, but hey, stay safe Hawaii.

• Tomorrow, there will be no blogging. Super “Rugby Hunk” Boyfriend, Big T, and I are going with my sister to Noak’s Ark Waterpark in Wisconsin Dells. To quote the advertising, “America’s Largest Waterpark!!” There is a 50% chance of rain tomorrow, but as I told Big T, we’ll already be wet. I’m very excited to spend a day playing, instead of working. The truly final last day of summer vacation for a while …

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"And most people don’t know it’s the best sport in the entire world."

Nice local feature piece on Penn State’s Lauren Rosso from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

PG West: West Alleagheny grad Rosso hooked on rugby
Thursday, August 09, 2007
By Chris Adamski, Tri-State Sports & News Service

When Lauren Rosso was a freshman at Penn State, she had only a cursory knowledge of the sport.

But a chance sighting of an Irish team on campus that was eating in her dining commons would change this West Allegheny High School graduate’s life.

“[Rugby] will be my defining college experience, and probably a defining life experience for me,” said Rosso, an Oakdale resident.

“The things I’ve got to do with rugby, I can’t imagine now I didn’t do before. Just the traveling and the high level of competition and just everything … the friends I’ve made in college and probably the rest of my life through rugby.

“And most people don’t know it’s the best sport in the entire world.”

Rosso asked around and ultimately went to watch the Penn State men’s team play. Through a friend with a connection to the team, she contacted the women’s team and attended a tryout.

“I kind of stumbled upon it,” Rosso said.

Less than three years later, Rosso is one of the best collegiate players in the country.

After leading Penn State to the college national championship as a junior in April, Rosso has been invited to USA Rugby’s under-23 women’s 7’s camp in Park City, Utah, this week. She is one of 18 players from around the country invited, from which 12 will be selected.

“It’s real exciting,” Rosso said. “But I am also really nervous at the same time. We will see how it goes.”

The honor is not bad for a girl who only ran cross country and dabbled in soccer while in high school and wasn’t exactly what you’d term “a natural” when it comes to rugby.

“I was probably the worst rookie player ever,” said Rosso, who is studying bio-behavioral health and German at Penn State.

“But the learning curve is so quick. I went from terrible to devoted. At Penn State, we’re really lucky to have really great coaching. I’ve learned to play at the best place, and once you start to learn and get more confidence it just kept carrying over.”

Rosso has played on 15-players-a-side teams, but she will be evaluated while playing “sevens,” which is a seven-player game, in Utah. Despite the fact she will have to learn different positioning from her normal outside center, Rosso is setting her sights high.

“Obviously, the ultimate goal is to make the team,” Rosso said.

“But I think I want to just kind of learn the entire system that goes along with trying out at a national level and just live that.

“I’m excited to play with the caliber of players I’ll get to play with out there. Penn State is an amazing team, but it’s always nice to be able to play other people with different coaches and different perspectives on the game.

“I just want to work with different people and, hopefully, be able to come back and make Penn State better and progress my game as far as possible.”

No matter what happens in Utah, Rosso will always be able to call herself a national champion. The Penn State women’s team beat Stanford, 22-21, in May in Palo Alto, Calif., for the team’s 15th consecutive victory in the club title game.

“It was the coolest thing that ever happened to me,” Rosso said. “To work toward a goal and actually get it like that is amazing.

“[The final] was a really close game. It was awesome.”

Rosso has not yet been able to be home long enough over a summer to compete seriously in rugby in the Pittsburgh area.

But she plans on immersing herself in the local rugby scene after she graduates. Rosso said she will play the game as long as she is able and will work to promote and/or coach the sport in the future.

“It’s the best-kept secret in the entire U.S.,” Rosso said.

“Once people realize everything about it and what goes into it, I think it will catch on a lot more quickly. It’s an amazing sport with amazing people. People just need to know about it.”

I like that last quote, don’t you?

Photo: Via the article, “Lauren Rosso, a West Allegheny High School graduate and a player on Penn State’s national-championship rugby team, will be trying to outrun the competition and make the U.S. Team in Park City, Utah (Penn State photo).

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Rugby Bits & Bites … First Day of the Fall Season!

First team practice tonight! But first some rugby goodness …

• Harry Potter’s friend Hermione and I have something in common … we both are dating rugby hunks.

• Oh to live in a country where a women’s rugby player is a “sexy” celebrity who’s recent breakup is tabloid fodder, instead of Mrs. Federline.

Are you excited for the World Cup? It’s coming up quick! Here’s a few Rugby World Cup bits and bites, with some features on our own USA Eagles …

Idiot’s Guide to the World Cup

Hercus Holds Key to States’ Success

Emerick Emerges as Eagles’ Star Man

Thorburn Helping Eagles to New Heights

• And in something I can’t link to … I saw a photo of a very good looking Eagle Flanker in his underwear today. I am now looking more forward to the upcoming international match in Chicago, Aug. 26. 🙂

And in case you’re not thinking this far ahead, don’t forget the IRB 7s season is also only a few months away …

Sevens Rugby More Popular Than Ever

• And the IRB 7s Schedule was announced earlier this month:

2007
Nov. 30-Dec. 1 — Dubai
Dec. 7-8 — South Africa

2008
Feb. 1-2 — New Zealand
Feb. 9-10 — United States
March 28-30 — Hong Kong
April 5-6 — Australia
May 24-25 — England
May 31-June 1 — Scotland

And lest you think I’ve gone way too international today, all across the world rugby seasons are starting up.

• The UK’s Times Online provides us with some helpful info on getting in shape for rugby

• And should your club ever need to perform the Haka (or you’re just curious what it actually means), one blogger breaks the ancient war dance down for us.

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Practice Starts Tomorrow

Fall practice starts tomorrow. The first day is always a little exciting and at the same time daunting, if you’re one of the club leaders.

So many questions. Will we have enough players? Will we win enough games? Will we have enough money?

We’re working on a lot of goals for our team right now and some hard work for a bit can make it far easier for the team as a whole down the road. So I’m also rather stressed.

For the first time in my rugby career – 12-plus years – I’m also going to cut back on my available time. We have two practices a week and I have decided that realistically, if I want to accomplish what I need to accomplish this fall for my own self, my career and still playing rugby – I need to cut back. So I’ve decided that after this first week, I’m only going to attend one practice per week on Thursday nights. I’ll save myself time, money in gas and earned money and time in using those Tuesday nights I’d normally be at practice to work on stuff for the team at home and at things I need to accomplish in my life.

I figure this is better than going forward and someday burning out completely. It’s a tough lesson to say No to things. But it’s important. We’ll see how it goes.

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Weekend Recap

I’m not blogging much today … too much to do. But wanted to recap the weekend.

Saturday, our men’s team held their annual 10s tournament. Over the past few years, our women’s team has partnered with the men to host it in varying capacities. This year, we decided to just focus on getting women’s teams in for games and then having our usual jello shot fundraiser on the sidelines, rather than working the food tent.

In the past, a lot of the men’s players have just played and partied all day, not realizing how hard all the volunteers were working to pull this off. This played a big factor in our team opting to not volunteer for this year. But to their credit, the guys really pulled a nice and well organized tournament this weekend.

It always feels like pulling teeth, but I got us a four-team women’s 7s bracket for playing. We have a local college team (UW-Whitewater Women), our state’s D-2 team (Milwaukee Scylla), our team and I had enough interest from individuals for a mixed-side team as the fourth team.

The mixed-side had a lot of younger or less experience players though, so instead I figured it would be best to take all 18 of our available players and split it up as evenly in experience/talent as we could. So we had Team White and Team Red. And Team Red won the coin toss for the our good lightweight jerseys. I was on Team White, which wore our less-favored white game jerseys.

In our round-robin play, every team had three games. Team White and Team Red dominated play against the other two teams, and by sake of the schedule, met in their third match for a bruiser. We literally beat each other up going for the trys. Team Red took an early lead with three tries in the first half, but no conversions. And we saw our new winger run in two of those, which despite not being on my team for the tournament, made me happy for our team overall. Yeah! Speediness!

In our second half, we rallied back for two tries to a scoreless half for Red, and were pounding the field for our third and winning try (I believe we had a conversion made) when time ran out. So Team Red claimed the trophy, but it was a WWRFC win all around.

Plus we made good money on our jello shots and had fun with all of our new players.

Sunday, I went and helped open the meeting hall for the summer meeting of our State Union, then sat through the meeting. Despite how long they get sometimes, I actually like these meetings. I like being in a room of 40-plus other people who are just as passionate about something you and your teammates are. It just reinforces good relationships and resources.

I finally made it the grocery store for the first time in a few weeks after the meeting wrapped up. Worth noting – I did not purchase any soda. Yes, I had a few sodas on my vacation and I had one on Sunday b/c I couldn’t stand bad vending machine coffee to make it through the meeting, but otherwise, I’m doing pretty damn well quitting my soda habit. And it’s hard … every day at work, I have to fight my urge to go purchase a Diet Dew from downstairs. But I’ll have 2 cups of hot tea or some of my water or juice that I bring with when I’m thirsty or need a pick me up.

It’s harder than you think to break a habit. I will literally be looking for the change and telling myself that it’s okay if I have just one at work … when I realize that it’s a slippery slope. And if I can’t break my soda habit, how will I do at getting better at other stuff I want to work on?

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