Prior to the opening of our Spring season, the NYC Parks Commission requested a sit-down with the 6 families of Metro NYC Old Boys Pugby (we cannot call it rugby, because USA Rugby would expect a vigorish, as if our lifetime of blood and sweat equity is not enough). Between the Gents and the Village Lions, we had requested both March 30 AND April 7. Due to a scheduling conflict, we were told we could only have one of these dates. March 30 promised to be unseasonably warm and there was no weather guarantee for April 7. The 6 Rugby Dons looked at each other, a tacit understanding reached at once, and nodded in agreement. As Rugby is an English game, it demands proper English weather, wet and cold. March 30 was therefore out, but there was hope for April 6.
The day broke on schedule. Overcast, cold, windy . . and that was just at Houlithorns. But it also should be noted that although Papi was not there, it was PURR-fect for Rugby. Randalls OF COURSE would be 10 times worse. About 10 Morris regulars made it today. Seamus Brosnan gets the award for furthest travel. He woke up this AM in the frigid emirate of Dubai and made it to our game on time. People often confuse the climates of Dubai and NYC. Then the drugs wear off . . . and reality sets in.
Morris would combine with the Gents and Long Island for a modified side of 13, which matched the numbers of the Village Lions. As the ball dropped for our match, the skies cleared, the sun came out, and the temperature skyrocketed to the mid-40’s. The Lions would jump out with a quick 2 tries, but the good guys would come roaring back. Off a penalty at the Lion 22, Long Island Ralph would slice through to the Village 5 and offload to Cal. Maybe it was due to the Ziploc of assorted pills that Cal found in the Houlithorn snowbank, but Cal ran like an elk in rut and touched it down just inside the right sideline. Curiously, he had thrown them all out with the exception of one little blue pill. Viva Viagara! A few minutes later, Uncle Tom thought he had the second Morris score, but the French ref ruled that he knocked on in the try zone. Actually, as the ref was a volunteer and did an overall good job, no one complained that much. The Villagers would then later score to close out the first half, up 3 tries to 1.
As the second half opened, Dave Kettner and Mike Ryan gladly switched positions. Dave was happy to go to the wing and Mike was eager to show off the moves he learned during touch rugby and play scrum half. A powerful run up the gut by one of the Morris-in-Training recruits would cut the score by one try, but Village would soon answer. With time winding down, Uncle Tom softened up the defense and after several phases, the ball would be fed out to Long Island Ralph. By this time, Ralph was hobbled, playing wing with a crutch. Anytime a Villager trying to get by him, he would “accidentally” clothesline them to prevent the breakaway. With the ball in one hand and a crutch in the other, Ralph would hop into the try zone. Doc Corney added a couple conversions, but Morris wound up on the short end of the score 23-19.
Afterwards, we knoshed on sammiches and beer from the beverage cart. In a BRILLIANT piece of planning, as soon as the cart left, the clouds returned and the temperature plummeted.
For my closing, I once again turn to my musical muse, Don Slade, for inspiration. In Europe on business, he none-the-less hears the call of NJ calling him home to the Promised Land. So to paraphrase Bruuuuuuuuuuce . . . . .
On a pot-holed speedway filled with vomit and bile
I ride with my team and head off to Randall’s Isle
Driving on the Triboro/RFK bridge
I got my kit on and my beer in the fridge
Rucking all day on the new sand sod
Cleat marks on my face being newly trod
Pretty soon little girl I’m gonna be a rugby god
The Dawgs on Poc’no howl ‘cause they understand
If I could take this ball into my hands
Mister I ain’t a boy, no I’m a Master
And I believe I can run no faster.