In the shadow of the venerable olde Yale Bowl, just a Misty Mountain Hop, skip and a jump down I-91 from the Meriden YMCA camp, the Greys would host the opening palooza of the Fall 2018 season.
A decent number of Masters signed up to battle the I-95 traffic to New Haven, but after Wankers 1, 2, 3 and 4 bailed at the last minute, AND after Cal pulled up lame whilst playing touch rugby, our numbers dropped to a less than inspiring 5: Adam B (not beer), the Alderman of Houlithorns, Big Toe, Greeeeeeee-sack, and your intrepid reporter.
Before I continue, a few editor’s comments. Upon returning from the match, the side door at Houlithorn’s was no longer open to us, no doubt reflecting on Mike’s dwindling appearances and stature. Thus, a demotion from Mayor to Alderman seemed in order. Secondly, Cal’s injury is precisely the reason that Touch Rugby is not an activity endorsed by the Fitness Committee. If you are going to be hurt playing rugby, at least have the good grace and common decency to be on a pitch with some evil doer chasing you.
Numbers were light from all non-Grey teams. As the Gents had similar numbers and, more importantly, the jerseys, we became the Gentlemen of NY. Later, as Adam was waxing his legs, he also waxed poetic: Morris came in like a Lion and left like a Gent. With some help from the host Greys and the CT Yankees Men, we were able to supplement our numbers to get a full side and a few subs.
Over the years, we have learned that Al Roker is frequently wrong with his forecast and that Big Papi is ALWAYS correct. Al predicted overcast and dry. He was correct about being overcast, but the mist betrayed him. Chris, however, predicted that the weather would be perfect for rugby. Right again, Chris!
Once the kickoff ensued, it was a typical Grey/Palooza game. A lot of scoring for them and not much for us. It was fairly close after 1 stanza, maybe 4 tries to 2. Noting all their reserves, we Gents all drank some Grecian Formula at halftime, hoping to staunch the waves of Grey. But alas, it was all to no avail. The subs kept coming. They had the numbers, youth, speed, skill and stamina to constantly keep the Gents on our heels and moving backwards. Thanks to the young lads from New Haven, we got a few long runs to keep the score somewhat respectable. Final score was in the approximate range of 50-18.
After the match, the true glory of rugby would appear. Over a cleansing ale, I chatted with a young French ex-pat who was born in Liberia, hopped over the Atlantic sea-wall to land in NH. He was attending university in New Haven and after graduating, wanted to move to Australia to give a go to rugby down under. Of course he was also a Rabbitohs supporter, the official NRL team of the Morris Masters. Name me another sport where all these dots can be connected!!
Finally, while the Morris players and Spectator-adente gathered for a post-match photo, Big Toe proudly proclaimed that this game has marked the start of his 45th year of playing rugby. Mazzeltov to you John, and here’s to many more!