26 October, 2008

The simple pleasures!

Despite my massive hangover this morning, I joined the American University boys for their rugby match. It was driving down rain, the wind was blowing hard, and I was soaked to the bone. But how satisfying it was to watch the boys play creatively and win 53 - 0 under the worst condition.

While far from perfect (they could be more patient and better organized), they played as we coached them - they thought for themselves on the pitch instead of playing like pre-programmed gridiron footballers; and they played for their mates rather than as fifteen individuals. It was basic rugby and the boys did most things right. They took care of the fundamentals - the scrummaging, tackling, rucking, mauling, and passing - and the score spoke for their efforts. The joy of seeing good footy unfold in front of one's eyes ....

Rugby has always been a steadying influence on my life. Although because of it I might have hit the sauce a little too hard or strayed from my studies during my university days, the sport also gives me great pleasure and saw me through both good and bad times. For that reason I go out to support the AU boys.


Baino said...

Ha! Well there you go. I didn't think Rugby was played in the US! You'll all be taking up cricket before to long! (yawn)

TCL said...

Well it's not the most popular sport in the States but it's around. The college level it's probably 20 years behind the Joeys in Sydney. But we've enough athletic resources to catch up sometime in the future. History has it a touring All Blacks side got the biggest crowd at the Port of San Francisco when they performed the haka against the University of California. But gridiron's popularity really killed the sport in the US.

I grew up in a rugby family. My dad, who was Taiwanese, attended a Scottish missionary boarding school in Taiwan. That's where I got my rugby union genes from. When I was in uni some of my fondest memories were tossing the oval ball around on Manhattan or Hermosa Beach with a group of fellas from Fiji, Manley, North Harbour, or Black Heath.