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It's been a good couple of days. The first reason it was good I can't write about in an unlocked post. Suffice it to say I got home late last night.

Today the Charles River Rats played in a tournament in Marshfield. Our first game was at 10 a.m. against the South Shore Anchors. I did not play in this game. The guys played a sloppy first half but got rolling in the second half for the 17-6 win. Our next game was scheduled for 4 p.m., the championship game against the winner of the 12 p.m. game between Newport and Hartford. I watched the next game or two, sometimes strolling along the sideline, sometimes sitting under our tent. One of the teammates and I took off to find food. We got back to find out that Newport had beaten Hartford but decided not to stick around for the championship game. We like to think they are scared of us, since this is the second time in the past three weeks that they've left a tournament after one win instead of playing us in the final game. It was decided that the winner of the 2 p.m. consolation game between South Shore and Hartford would play us for the championship. We ended up having a rematch with South Shore.

Before I write about the championship game, a couple of asides. One of the stories of the morning was that in the 9 a.m. Division III game, the Boston Ironsides, which is Boston's predominantly gay men's team, won its first ever game. They've been in existence for about three years and have been pretty bad. But apparently they've improved a lot this year. Although they lost in the Division III championship game, they played really well. And everyone seemed really happy for them and their win.

The other big story was Dave Connelly. He scored his first ever A-side try and walked off the pitch as though he had just won the World Series. We all started ragging on him, constantly throughout the day, and he was really eating it up. One of the guys even "borrowed" Connelly's phone to call his Mom and let her know that Dave scored an A-side try! Anyway, when I got home, I decided to write up a little something in "honor" of Connelly's "heroics" and sent it to the team's e-mail list. Here is what I wrote:

Guys, I just wanted to say it was an honor to be a part of today's games, to set foot on the same pitch as Dave "Champagne" Connelly. I can feel my eyes misting up now as I recall that glorious moment. All seemed lost as we crashed down only meters from the promised land, seemingly unable to penetrate the South Shore defense a third time that game. The outcome teetered in the balance -- everything we had fought so hard for seemed perilously close to vanishing in a cloud of dust. But then, like a golden ray of sunshine splitting the leaden, overcast skies, "Champagne" Connelly scooped up the ball and dove forward. We held our collective breaths as he dove, swanlike -- such grace, such deftness, like Achilles hewing down the mighty Hector at the gates of Troy -- and touched the ball down for the try. A wave of jubilation swept over the crowd, a sense of relief and unburdening, as though Connelly's try atoned for Prometheus' sins and released him from his shackles. Truly, it was a moment that will go down in the annals of sports history! But what truly moved and inspired me was Connelly's humility as he strode off the field. Asked how he was able to score such a heroic try, he shrugged off his Herculean effort and simply said, "I thank my teammates, my family, my prayers, and my training. I just take it one try at a time. It was the Lord that carried me over that goal line." Dave "Champagne"Connelly is an example for all of us, the true essence of the River Rat rugby player. Gentlemen, we should erect a statue at the Fens in his honor. This is a moment I will share with my children and grandchildren, and they with theirs, through countless generations. Connelly, I salute you.

When I got back from lunch, I found out that Dozer was having trouble with his peripheral vision. He didn't know why, but we decided not to risk things. Keith was going to move from loose-head to tight-head to fill Dozer's spot, and I was going to start the game in Keith's spot. My first significant A-side action was going to come in a tournament championship game!

Before the game we went over several things to make sure that I felt comfortable with all the calls and to work on improving my scrumming technique. Thanks to my teammates' help and my experience against the Boston Old Boys last week, I felt a lot more comfortable out on the pitch, even though it was an A-side game. I thought I played well. I played with a lot more confidence. I held my ground in the scrums. I didn't get the opportunity to tackle anyone, but I dove into several scrums, clearing opponents back and helping my team keep possession. And I was an important part of two mauls in which we drove at least half the length of the field and set up tries. I only handled the ball once. It was one of the things Justin, our captain, pointed out when he congratulated me on my game at the drink-up afterwards. I got the ball unexpectedly, but I didn't have momentum and probably little support. So instead of running with it I made a nice, crisp 5-meter pass to the flyhalf, which got a nice attack going.

Dozer felt better as the half wore on, so I was subbed for at halftime. I did not want to come out, something Keith and others noticed in my body language. Now that I have a clue what I'm doing and am starting to do so somewhat credibly, I'm really having fun. And we did win the championship. We had a big lead after the first half, allowed them to tie it up in the second, and then pulled away again. Both the game and hanging out with the guys was a blast.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Apr. 23rd, 2005 11:41 pm (UTC)
>locked post

I'm glad you enjoyed your game. Now produce a locked post and tell us the rest of the story!
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

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