a Bris Kit sandwich . . .
. . . or a pulled pork sandwich. . on second thought, I’ll stick with chicken. What does this have to do with rugby? Absolutely nothing, just a reaction to Jeff Gresack regaling 3 goys and a guy for 2 hours each way about his experiences with life and religion.
When we arrived in Bayville, the autumnal chill had not been burned off. Long Island Ralph had arranged for Oyster Bay to be at high tide, so we were not treated to the smell of dead crabs, but he had forgotten to adjust the temperature. He disappeared behind the Porta-John and magically, just as we were ready to kick off 15 minutes later, the clouds separated and the temperatures rose 10 degrees.
As with the last palooza, Lawn Guyland and Morris would join forces against the combined hordes of the Connecticut Greys and the Village Lions. As with every other game we play, the opposition would take the opening kickoff and sashay through the porous More Island defense to score. (maybe if we were more pious, we would be less porous, but that is for greater minds than mine to ponder.)
After the initial score, Big Papi would probe the Grey-on defense to look for their soft spots. (or did the Grey-on defense soften up Chris whilst probing for holes in our offense?) Adam Brennan gave up his shoulder while making a tackle and with the aid of Jeff’s icepack, reemerged as a hunchback on the side line. Jeff sacrificed also, so as to keep Adam comfortable, he donated his icepack and allowed his beer to get warm. Both sides would settle in for a hard hitting, well played match. A long run on one end was matched by our opponent. Infractions were minimal. For once my knees were not rubbed raw from having repeated scrumdowns on fake grass. No doubt inspired by the presence of his twin brother, Dave Kettner was all about the pitch, harkening back to his days with the Memphis Elvii.
The pitch was typical of many municipal pitches in this area. Each of the 17 sports that called the field home had their own lines marked out with their own color. No doubt in honor of visiting Morris, rugby lines were red. Bayville Recreation had obviously called Tom Feury for advice, as the lines of the football endzone were extended in red to meet the sidelines.
This panoply of colors resulted in some initial confusion. On one particular maul, the Morris scrum lost track of where we were and mightily pushed the opposition seemingly forever. When we felt the crabs nipping at our ankles, we realized we had literally driven our opponent into the sea. Impressive from biblical perspectives, but worth bupkis from a scoring perspective.
The carnage continued. Aussie Mick went to tackle a Grey Centre, but was met by an erect male appendage in his eye. Mick claimed it was a finger, but at the social later, the 2 were seen having a quiet conversation and sharing an aperitif and a cigarette. (not that there’s anything wrong with that! )
With the sun setting into the Bay of Oysters, Kris O’Brien would throw a dummy and dance an Irish jig around the Grey-ons and score as time expired. (the dummy wasn’t a fake rugby pass, it was the defender who attempted to tackle him.) Rene the ref blew it up. They scored 6 tries, we had 5, we each missed some conversions, so let’s just say we lost by 3. Does the score really matter? It was another magical afternoon in a picturesque setting with friends playing the sport they play in heaven.
Before we close for the day and plan for the final palooza of the season in 2 weeks at Meriden, CT, I would be remiss if I did not mention another former flag coach that broke his cherry today- Welcome Stef Aliprandi to the wide, wonderful, world of Morris Masters Rugby!