Saturday, April 24, 2010

Deis Rugby

I did not get it going this evening to make it to the health club before my arrival time there would have precluded any meaningful exercise. So, instead, I drove to the Brandeis track which is a short distance away and decided to walk around it for an hour or so.

The track encircles a soccer field. There was something happening on the field when I arrived. A group of loud blue clad college students were warming up on one side, and a bunch of loud white clad students on the other. They were shouting to rev themselves up and tossing around something that looked like a football. When I got close enough I saw that the white clad players had the words Deis Rugby on their jerseys and the teams were doing pregame drills for a rugby match.

I know next to nothing about rugby so I was curious. The drills were strange to me and the chatter different from what I am used to. The teams continued to warm up during my first, second, and third trips around the track. This was a low budget operation. The players apparently got dressed right on the field as bags and sweatshirts were strewn all over. There was no bathroom. And I became aware of this because as I would circle the far end of the track I saw that the designated urinal was the right field foul pole of the adjacent women's softball field. It was tucked away from the crowd of say 55 who had come to watch the match.

Here's how the game seems to work. A team drop-kicks off. A player from the other squad gets the ball and is pummelled until he relinquishes the ball. Then another player picks it up and he too is mauled. When the ball is relinquished a johnny on the spot picks up the ball and heaves it backwords to fleet runners who attempt to get to a goal line by continuing to lateral the ball backwards until someone tries to go forward without being tackled by the opponent. Eventually, the stronger team is able to advance the ball over a goal line and when it does, they score what is called, I overheard, a "try".

It didn't take long for the blue team (which I found out was from nearby Wheaton College) to show that they knew what they were doing. The Brandeis team while vocal and energetic during warmups seemed completely overmatched. The Wheaton team had several fellows that nobody on Brandeis could tackle and, on a few occasions, nobody on Brandeis seemed to want to attempt to tackle.

Nevertheless after each "try" scored by Wheaton, Brandeis gathered itself together and rah rahed saying this time they were going to score.

I went around the track 10 1/2 times before I sat down to watch the remainder of the game. These guys had no protective padding and they were really getting whacked. A couple to my right were watching their kid play and I thought that if that was my kid I could not watch this.

At the end I lost count of how many times Wheaton scored. Brandeis scored once. When the horn sounded though, it did not seem as if Brandeis was dispirited. They shook hands with the winners and looked at least like they had earned their beer for this Saturday night.

55 fans tops, no pads, getting their innards pummelled, losing by at least 8 "trys". It appeared to be, and really was for them, fun.

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