How cold was it? Fun? Competitive? Team spirit? Well, Julia’s team played in the frigid cold upon the wet soggy field. Then there was nowhere to go while waiting for the next round robin match. What do you do? Shop. There was a table set up to sell jerseys from famous teams like the New Zealand ‘All Blacks.’ This team famously does a haka Maori challenge dance in front of the other team before its matches. So here we are standing on the sidelines and huddled for warmth. I don’t think that you could be truly warm. But, no one was going to be sitting in a warm car. Oh, by the way, Julia’s team did win her college division championship. That, made the long ride home a warm pleasure.
In case you wondered, there were also an equal number of women’s teams playing rugby. Yes, it seems that temporary insanity is not limited to the Y chromosome. Women are just as welcome to frolic in the frigid temperature and water hazards. Clearly, outnumbered, this member of my daughter’s team should have thought twice about picking this ball up. What we do for fun….
Well, you cannot smell the food on the Cooking Channel. And, you cannot feel how cold that water was. Rugby is not played on manicured fields or synthetic turf. There was also wind chill and temperatures were low enough to freeze the water. Then you take a bath and wander up and down the field chasing that darn ball.
‘Mudders,’ that’s how I would describe dedicated rugby players. It’s not a popular sport in the USA. But else where, there is quite a world following. The recent Rugby World Cup concluded in New Zealand. My daughter and some of her friends would catch some of the matches in the late evening hours. If I didn’t mention before, Julia was captain of her college team. Anyway, it seems that there is nothing ‘prissy’ about rugby. If you are down and dirty, you were playing it right. I attended a gathering of college teams in Batavia, NY. That is halfway to nowhere but close enough to Niagara falls to wish that I had gone there as well. The picture was taken on a frigid spring day.
My daughter, Julia, started playing rugby in college. There was a gorgeous new turf lacrosse field. But no, Julia wanted rugby. It was a club sport. She ran track and gave up swimming. It was a great excuse for me to get that long lens I lusted for. So I got the 80-400mm zoom. It turns out that everyone thinks that it focuses too slowly. I guess rugby is not a fast sport. Watching the first match ever on cable television to familiarize myself with the flow of the game my wife commented, “Why are all the male players wearing head gear?”
“To avoid having their ears pulled off.” I replied.
“Nooooo!” She shrieked. “Julia’s got a ponytail. “And, what about all that expensive orthodontic treatment she had?”
Julia was never seriously injured. At least, not that I’m aware. She had a few minor concussions. It was nothing. I confess that I already gave her a concussion when she was a toddler. So far so good. Well, here I am at a college rugby tournament in western New York. It was close to Niagara Falls, but Julia won’t go with me. She plays for a D3, that is Division 3 college. Thank goodness they separate the teams. Syracuse, D1, shows up and the women players are a foot taller and fifty pounds heavier. No contest. The thing about rugby is that it is best played in the mud. More mud is better and if it’s wet even better yet. And cold, yes indeed, it was definitely cold that day. How cold? The players huddled together along the sidelines for warmth. Rugby players do not get heaters. So, I got to watch lots of teams and looked for some interesting shots. I daresay the ‘tissues up your nose’ probably is right up there.