The scions of Babe were no stranger to leadership. On this glorious sun-splattered day in Denville, these descendants would lead a procession of melted pig fat tendrils up into the atmosphere to waft their ways to the ever hungering crowd. It was opening day for the 2016-2017 Tri-State Rugby Palooza season.
The jambalaya recipe had been put away until the Spring, so Big Al could slave away over a hot grill for nearly a week, all the better to ensure that the pulled pork, ribs and chicken were slow cooked to perfection. With the hungry mouths of the Masters, Women and Masters-in-Training to feed, there would be no pulling of pork until everything was eaten.
Bayonne, the Village Lions, the GoNY and Morris would put aside their carnal desires to first satisfy their rugby appetites, an appetite that had been slowly growing since our last game in May. Welsh Tom, Dave Martin and Lil were lined up to ref. Inquiring minds may want to ask why 2 of the 3 had bad wheels, but were fit enough to call the game.
Bayonne and Morris would open up. As to be expected, it was a sloppy game. The normally sure-handed players with vise-like grips, were dropping passes quicker than Donald Trump was changing his opinion on immigration. Bayonne would take advantage early to go up 5-0, but late in the game, Aussie Mick would make like a Manly Sea Eagle slicing his way through a Greg Inglis-less Rabbitoh’s defense and touch it down. After adding the conversion, Morris had a brief 7-5 lead. Bayonne would come charging back to go back up 12-7. But there was time for one more Morris surge. With time winding down, Morris would end up inside the Bayonne 22 with a 3v1 on the right side. ALL it needed was for a selfish bastard, ONE selfish bastard to bowl over the Bayonne Bomber and touch it down. But alas, the days of Tony Jones and Alex Cirafapillow are long gone. Rather than take the easy, manly (with small m) way to score, Morris would decide to get cute and pass our way to the open man. Needless to say, in a predictable conclusion to the day’s events, a pass would be made that could only be caught by a youth playing touch on Sunday. As this was Saturday and the game was played by men whose spare tire impairs their ability to touch their toes, the pass was dropped and the game was lost.
After losing, Morris was due for a breather to let the Lions play Bayonne. Just before Morris could play the Lions, Crooked Hillary stepped in and decreed that the next game should be the Lions vs the Gents. That would be the same Gents who only had 6 of the required 15 players and needed to borrow an entire Morris backline and a few scrummies. Luckily the entire decision making proceed was saved on a private Chappaqua server for future prosperity.
Eventually, Morris would kick off with the Gents in the final match of the day. Fresh from our Masters in training program, Mauricio would sprint down the entire far sideline to open up the scoring. TTTTTTRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYY!!!! came the call from ESPN Deportes. With our Puma now living in CA and schnooring his way into important matches via his camera, the Columbian Choo-Choo was a welcome addition. (editors note: how does an Argentinian schnoor?) Both teams would settle in for a nap as Danny set up for the conversion. The kick was just a bit to the left and a wee bit short. Good thing he used the tee, as without it, the ball would not have travelled those 5 meters in the air.
Fortified by Morris backliners, the Gents would tie it up, but on the last play of the game, Hogie would cherry-pick a pass and jog in for the easy score. With the conversion, Morris won the game and emerged 1-1 on the day.
On a serious note, it was entirely appropriate that Neil would get the game winner. This Palooza served as a fundraiser for ALS. All players chipped in to help a former teammate of Neil. The generous folks at Heineken donated some beer for the social held at Neil’s house. Thanks to Neil and Stacey for opening up their house to us. For the parts of the house that were not open, well the adults on the rope swing took care of that.
That’s my story for last week and I’m stickin’ to it. Next week, we take a Tiger by the tail and travel to the Princeton den.
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