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Friday, April 29, 2011

Nice to Share a Wedding Anniversary with a Future King and Queen...

On this day, I celebrate 27 years of Marriage to my lovely Red-Headed bride. She was a great sport when I decided to start playing rugby 5 years ago, and was supportive last weekend when I was able to play with the Metropolis Old Boys against the OL's from Rugby, England.

I thought it was very sporting of the future King and Queen of the United Kingdom to get married on our anniversary. I would like to wish them a happy future together from my exile deep from the heart of Texas.

Word is that Prince William and his soon-to-be bride are big time rugby supporters, with wedding guests including the likes of Gareth Thomas, Sir Clive Woodward and Mike Tindall to sit on the groom's side of the Aisle...I wonder if there will be any good rugby songs at the wedding reception?



Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I'm just a 50 Year Old Kid...

Well, I am now back in Texas after a week back in Minnesota, where the weather was cold, wet and gray most of the week. (Except for Sunday, the day I left-it was 60 degrees and sunshine) I had bought tickets for my wife and I to see the Minnesota Twins-Cleveland Indians baseball game for Friday, and that ended up being a no-go...

That left Saturday's rugby to be played in cool, moist conditions between Metropolis and the Old Laurentians. The first game was Metropolis Old Boys/seconds against the OL's Veterans and seconds. This would end up being my first "international" match against our English visitors.  One factor in our favor was that we had a deeper bench and could do more substitutions. We also had a bit more speed and skill in the back line. Metropolis old boys Pedro and Super Joe played great matches. The last try of the game was scored with great back and forth ball between Super Joe and Dave Heebner.

The game was played with great sportsmanship-after a few days of partying together, that probably did not hurt. Plus Metropolis and the OL's have a special relationship. There certainly were some good hits and intensity, but no chippy or dirty play.

The other thing that made the day special that is was my dad's first chance to see his now 50 year old son play rugby. My brother Bill and my friend Jacques were at the game, as well. That was pretty cool. My dad just could not believe all of us gray-beards out there playing this game.  One thing that my dad noticed was even though we were busy beating each other up, there was nothing mean-spirited going on off the ball. Usually you think of playing a sport in front of your dad, it's usually when you are a kid in high school, but veteran's rugby has allowed a middle aged kid to show my dad just why I love this sport.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Do You Want a Chianti and Fava Beans With That Cheek?

My good friend Jean-Paul Sirat shared the following story involving an altercation between two French Rugby players, which I translated-A story that Sir Anthony Hopkins just might appreciate:

"Three Thousand Euro Fine For Biting Off  Didier Lacroix's Cheek"

Yesterday,  a Tribunal condemned a rugby player from Blagnac Sporting Club, Elvis Tekassala, a fine of 3,000 Euros for having bitten off  and ripped out with his teeth, the cheek of former Stade Toulousain player Didier Lacroix, 41 years of age in front of a bar at the beginning of November, 2010 in Toulouse "Justice considered there to be a definite aggressor and victim in this case, Didier Lacroix is clearly the victim", according to the ex-Stade player's lawyer and a sponsor for the red and black, Monsieur Frédéric David. The fine was much less than the prosecutor had asked for on behalf of Lacroix when the tribunal convened on March 22nd, initially asking for a year in prison for the ex-Blagnac prop. In it's decision, the tribunal found that Lacroix was the initial aggressor, but the counter to the aggression was found to be "disproportionate and excessive", according to the defense lawyer, Monsieur Pierre Dunac, who added that he was appealing the decision on behalf of his client "My client was only defending himself against an assault".  On the night of November 6th-7th, Didier Lacroix and Franck Belot, ex-second row for Toulouse, were celebrating the birth of Belot's son at the Grand Zinc, a bar in downtown Toulouse. During the night of partying, an altercation broke out between Tekassala and Lacroix in front of the bar. The burly prop from Blagnac bit the left cheek off the former Toulouse player and  spit it out on the street.  Elvis Tekassala had explained that he had been first attacked by Lacroix while he was in the middle of urinating-a version that was contested by the ex-Stade player, who stated that he has had to have several surgical interventions to correct the damage done to his face.

And people thought eye-gouging was a problem in French Rugby....

Monday, April 18, 2011

Minneapolis: It's Cold and Wet...but It's Home.

I have been back in Minneapolis for a couple of days now. I missed Metropolis RFC's game with Palmer.(They lost 34-17) and the DIII side winning against Dubuque. It's over 30 degrees cooler here in Minneapolis compared to Dallas. There is a weather forecast for snow in a couple of days. That said, it's been nice to see my kids and my grandson. Tonight, my friend Jacques and his family will be over to the house for supper, as another family friend insisted on grilling steaks and cooking for us tonight.

This week-long homecoming has been making me think a lot about about a song called "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros-particularly of the line "Home is wherever I'm with you."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Back to Minneapolis, Metropolis and the Old Laurentians...

I am leaving a place where the weather has been in the 70's and 80's, and I am heading home to Minneapolis-just in time for some snow and sleet. (As if I needed reminding about how lousy the weather is back in Minnesota)

On top of being able to catch up with friends and family, my timing worked out well for a couple of reasons: Metropolis is going to welcome the Old Laurentians of Rugby, England. Every two years we take turns touring. The OL's were here 4 years ago. We hosted a couple of players at our house who were just wonderful guests. It was great rugby, but they are just a super group of people. One of the joys of being at Aspen was being able to play with and party(like Dean-O above) some of the OL's who made it out to Aspen.

As luck would have it, the OL's are bringing some veterans so that means that before the main Metropolis-OL match, the Metropolis Old Boys will take on the OL's seconds/Old boys. Since I am already going to be on vacation, I can take the chance and play-nicks and nocks be damned. It's been killing me not to play any old boy rugby here in Dallas, so to have a chance to strap it on and get a run in next Saturday makes this week's trip back home to Minnesota even that much more enjoyable-even if the weather is going to be cool and wet.

Dave Heebner, the President of the Metropolis Rugby Club wrote the following to the OL's in anticipation of next Saturday's matches:

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

13 Weeks in Dallas Already?

It's hard to believe that my first 13 week contract here in Dallas is almost up. When I first got here, there was a bad winter storm that hit Dallas with all kinds of problems for people who had come here for the Super Bowl. Now, we have had some days where it has gotten to be over 30 degrees celsius, or in the high 80's.

I have been able to sample more than a few sporting events: Dallas Stars ice hockey, Dallas Harlequins Rugby, and Texas Rangers Baseball...
When I work as a nurse on the Spinal Cord Unit at the Dallas VA Medical Center, I work hard. It's physically and mentally draining work, but  I have to say that on my days off, my wife and I have been enjoying our time here in Dallas-so much so that I extended my contract to work here in Dallas until the last week in August. I am hoping that I will have saved enough money so that my wife and I can go to both Australia and New Zealand for the month of September. (I know I have match tickets for two games in Nelson...I just have not financed the entire trip's a work in progress)

Since my wife and I are staying at an apartment in downtown Dallas on the West End, we have been enjoying the bars and restaurants that are within walking distance to our place. Our apartment has a pool and a hot tub. The only thing that will make it complete is bringing my Bulldog Buddha down here to Dallas.

I will be going back to Minneapolis later the week. I am looking forward to seeing my friends, my kids and my grandson. I am also looking forward to a chance to maybe play with the Metropolis RFC Old Boys against the seconds from the Old Laurentians of Rugby, England as they do their 2011 tour to Minneapolis, with a game planned on April 23rd.