Tuesday, July 15, 2008

BYU Rugby... it's a family affair

As a junior in high school, I decided to drop my mediocre pursuits in track to participate in our newly-formed rugby club. It was just a rag-tag group of guys trying something new; we learned quickly, and though most of us hadn't participated much on other school teams, we found a way to go to the final state game two years in a row. Sometimes, just sometimes, you stumble upon something amazing, and it changes your life...

I had grown up playing backyard football and tackling without pads as often as I could. When I was only eight years old, my oldest brother used a thick roll of foam as a tackling dummy and had me practice my tackling form repeatedly in preparation for a big neighborhood football game. I don't remember much, except the fact that I tackled Travis Fehe about ten times or so. He was a running back on the middle school football team, and tackling him felt like a big achievement at the time.

I've never been massive (that's my brothers' department); in fact, I was quite small up until my junior year of high school. And perhaps, for that same reason (the 'smaller snake' effect), tackling has always been my favorite part of football, and since, rugby. I think it's the rush that comes from knowing you have stifled your opponent's progress to enable your own; you have sacrificed your body more than they have, but it's worth it. Being smaller, I had to give my all always, and inevitably, rugby became a part of me.

I recall a seconds' game against the University of Utah. I was a freshman on the BYU seconds' team, and we were doing a rotation of ten minutes or so for each player to get some time (if you can't tell, I wasn't exactly a star selection). Utah had a Polynesian player that was about 6'-7" tall and pushing 300 pounds. While obviously not very skilled either, nevertheless, he was massive! On one touch of the ball, I was in position to tackle him, and all I managed to do was wrap up one of his huge legs. I held on and wrenched as hard as I could, and even though the ball had already left, I ended up putting him down nonetheless. I count that as a small victory.

My rugby 'career' ended that same semester with a recurring injury to my ankle. My hopes were down, and I didn't think I would be able to play well enough to compete anyway. Upon returning from an LDS mission and boosting my GPA, I thought I might be able to take a crack at it again, but a series of random and unfortunate injuries have since rendered me a liability rather than an asset.

Despite being confined to the bleachers, I have still found great fulfillment in BYU Rugby... especially due to the fact that all my brothers have played on the team. Craig was the first to play in 2000-2001, only a year after we first played in high school. Chris (Alma) played after his mission with Craig and then with me in 2001-2002. After Craig's mission, both he and Chris played together until I came home. Craig played until 2007, and the next year, my youngest brother, Brett, joined the team to continue the tradition for the 2007-2008 season. Now he is serving an LDS mission as well, and for the first time in nearly eight years, not one of us is on the BYU Rugby Team...

And so, I think it appropriate and ideal that I start this blog to continue in the support of the team I love. BYU Rugby is in my blood; it's become a family affair... and I will always be a die-hard fan, cherishing the successes of the moment and pushing for the prospects of the future.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I see that you have started another blog. Very cool! I told John that I might still like to go out to San Fran this year even though no one is there. At least we could go see the city a little more, but the games are just fun...even for those of us that don't yet understand it. Perhaps Chris and Craig can share some insights as well, aye?


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