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Friday, January 17, 2014

Pasadena Rugby Club:Is There a Doctor on the Pitch?

Aaron Tanner, Doc Smookler, Doc Balkian, Doc Bryant and Nursedude
Believe it or not, on the Pasadena Old Boys, or OWLS(For Old War Lords), there are 5 of us who work at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles. Aaron is a Speech Pathologist, I'm a nurse, and 3 Medical Doctors, Dr Balkian, Dr Smookler and Dr Bryant-who is also the President of the Pasadena Rugby Club.

Dr Balkian actually ended up scoring a try in the old boys game. It felt good to play. I actually like the new Crouch-Touch-Set call for scrums. It seemed like we had fewer resets of scrums, and we ended up doing well in both the scrums and the line outs.

Me doing a lift on a line out-the one without the scrum cap

We had a great time getting a run in for the Old Boys, and beating the combined LARFC/Godzilla RFC in a match played in fantastic conditions. (I've been here in LA for 18 months and I STILL don't get sick of palm trees)

After the game, we rooted for the Pasadena A team against the LA Rugy Club-which did not need Japanese Mercenaries, thank you very much.

It was a very hard hitting game where a total of 3 LA Rugby Club members needed to get stitches for some nasty cuts....

One of the LARFC guys who ended up getting stitched up by Doc Bryant.
This kept Doctor Bryant very, very busy as he stitched up the 3 wounded LARFC players-for no charge. Talk about sportsmanship. It's not quite the same as bringing all of the beer and food-but it's something nice we can offer our opponents.

Some Rugby Clubs may have deals with athletic trainers, but the Pasadena Rugby Club is the first one that I have seen where where we have so much medical support-just in case.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Taking on Godzilla....and the LA Rugby Club

The insignia of the Japanese Merceneries who played with the LA Rugby Club...
A couple of weeks ago, the Pasadena Rugby Club put out the call to old boys like me to play a game against the Los Angeles Rugby Club. When we got out to Rancho Palos Verdes, the LA Rugby Club was short a couple of players-so they put out the call the Godzilla Rugby Club-A club made up of Japanese Expats who live and work in the LA area- to fill out their ranks. With about two thirds of our opponents speaking and yelling Japanese on the field, it's probably the closest that a 53 year old prop like me will ever get a chance to play in an international match.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

USA RWC Qualifier against Uruguay: Got my Tickets!

In Rugby-the Birthplace of the sport back in 2012
Ok, with less than two years to go before the anticipated oval-ball orgy that will be RWC 2015 in England, I am very much looking forward to going there to catch some Rugby World Cup games.

If I am going to watch the USA Eagles play in England, there is a little issue that needs to be worked out: The USA still needs to qualify for the World Cup. The Eagles suffered dual losses to Canada to put the Americans in the position of having to beat Uruguay in a two game, home and away series against the Tecos for the Americas 2 spot in the RWC-in the same group as South Africa, Scotland, Samoa,  and the number one Asia Qualifier. (The smart money is on Japan taking that spot)

The return leg in the USA will be in Atlanta, on the campus of Kennesaw State University. I am happy to report that my buddy Tom Daniels and I will both be going, as I just got my match tickets in the mail…
I also booked by round-trip flight from Los Angeles to Atlanta for the last weekend in March.

I had mixed feelings about USA Rugby choosing Atlanta for the match. The weather should actually be pretty decent in that part of the Southeast in late March-warm, but not un-Godly hot and sticky, like it can get in the summer. I really thought USA Rugby might try to bring the Eagles back to Houston, where the Bayou city has supported USA Eagles match in a big way with some very nice crowds the last couple of years in friendlies against Italy and Ireland the last two years. The BBVA Compass Stadium is a nice new venue that seats about 20,000 people. My guess is that there might have been a conflict with the Houston Dynamo, the MLS team that calls this stadium home.

On the bright side, this trip to go cheer the Eagles on will give me a chance to explore the history and sights in Atlanta-a city where I really only know the airport and a Waffle House near the airport.

The state of Georgia is also home to Life Univerisity-a very, very good college rugby side that has a lot of support and alumni in the area.

This will be my first USA RWC Qualifier. I did go to a different RWC qualifier 4 years ago while I was in Portugal. I had a chance to see the Lobos play against the gritty, physical Georgians on a gorgeous day in Lisbon in a match where the Georgians beat Portugal in a tough match.

At any rate, I will be in Atlanta to cheer the Eagles on, and hopefully they can stamp their ticket to England for next years Rugby World Cup.