I renewed my strange and wonderful relationship with rugby yesterday, as Eleanor and I caught the second half of the Pittsburgh Angels' decimation of their opponent in the Midwest Division II tournament. We had to cross two of Pittsburgh's three rivers to get there, multiple times even, but get there we did. Founder's Field is a very nice venue. Much nicer than anywhere I ever played.
I played rugby (badly) in college. In six seasons I racked up a very long list of injuries, including three concussions, and never once scored. I was marginally better in the third half of competition. Let me know if you ever need an anchor for your boat races or a dirty limerick that contains the phrases "concave or convex" or "iambic pentameter". I am definitely your girl.
After graduation I moved to take a job where my boss just happened to be the faculty advisor to the women's rugby club, a club who had been coached by a couple of guys who had just graduated. I wasn't any better as a coach than I was as a player. Fortunately, they didn't really need me. The two captains were outstanding and there was a lot of talent on the team. They needed me to drive and be the grown up. Ha!!!
In the twelve years I have been in Pittsburgh, the only rugby I have seen has been on tv. Going to see the Angels seemed like such an occasion I even got out my old jersey And.It.Fit!!! I will admit it was much baggier back in the day (it was purchased in 1985, for goodness sakes! twenty four years, two babies, and a hell of a lot of nutella ago) but it was comfy, like I remembered.
Many things about the game, however, were very different. What is this business of lifting in the line outs? That was illegal and dangerous in the olden days when I was playing. Now it is normal and, seemingly, expected. There were a few other things that seemed odd (no, not the scrumcaps but I still wouldn't wear one!) but in general, the experience left me feeling awfully nostalgic. I have no interest in ever playing again, unless someone comes up with a wheelchair league, but I'd still be all over that third half. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine....
As for Eleanor, she LOVED rugby. Tonight at dinner she was still talking about it. Maybe love is too strong a word. She loved rearranging the gravel and thought seeing the women running around and clapping for them was cool. I told her she could play some day but asked that she please wait until after I'm dead.