Friday, May 28, 2010

Tackling Cancer, a great cause compelled by the love of rugby

Fellow blogger, Dallen Stanford of Pakis Corner fame, introduced to the world this week the Tackling Cancer Foundation, a fantastic non-profit combining the founders love of rugby and their desire to serve the greater good.

Started in September 2009, the foundation provides support to leading cancer researchers while promoting safe and active lifestyles through sport.  They have already partnered with non-profit cancer research centers in LA at the Vanguard Cancer Foundation and Texas through the Any Baby Can program and plan to eventually find a partner in every state the USA.  

Their immediate goal is to provide a fund-raising platform to support the various cancer organizations and find partner rugby organizations (they are off to a great start with the likes of  Pepperdine University, Belmont Shore, Fallbrook, Dallas Harlequins, DARC (see photo below), and the Austin Valkyries, to name a few, already on-board).   In addition, they are working to employ full-time organizers like Dallen and USA Eagle Matt Hawkins to help build awareness and encourage participation throughout the US and eventually, the world.   

The Angry Ref - “It’s Gotta Go Both Ways”

No, it doesn’t.  It absolutely doesn’t.  The only way it’s gotta go is the way it goes.
OK, so that’s not exactly true.  If you have two teams that are both committing the same infraction you do have to call it on both teams.  But when you have one team committing an infraction over and over again and the other team never commits the infraction then no, it does not have to go both ways.
What the hell am I talking about?  I’m talking about comments from the sideline, specifically from parents.  Look here parents, let me tell you something, most of you don’t know half as much as you think you know about rugby.  You certainly don’t know a damn thing about officiating.  And you know even less about your own stupidity and need to STFU.  Seriously, what makes you think that it’s at all appropriate to yell things at an AR at a frosh/soph U19 match?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bakline's lastest t-shirts in support of the US National Women's Rugby team

Hot of the tail of their 'rebuilding for Haiti' Tees, Bakline has launch a new one (see photos below) to help support the US National Women's Rugby team as they head over the pond to England for the World Cup this August.

All profits from this supporter tee will be donated to the team to help fund the significant costs for attending, and at $20 its a great deal.  The T-shirts are on a limited run and available for sale only until July 20th, when they will be printed and shipped.  So head on over to Bakline now and pick yours up!

And if your interested wearing your nice new shirt at the World Cup this Summer, then head on over to Your Scrumhalf Connection and check out their great travel packages.



Monday, May 24, 2010

Podcast Episode 10: Rob Schnabel (Bakline)

In this podcast episode, I talk with Rob Schnabel, President & Co Founder of Bakline, Inc., a designer sportswear company headquartered in NYC.  We chat about Rob's early rugby days at New York Rugby Club, the beginnings of Bakline, and the helping to rebuild Haiti campaign, a grassroots relief effort done in partnership with students from New York University

You can listen to the podcast player below, via our Podcast PageiTunes, or by RSS Feed 

Friday, May 21, 2010

UVU Summer Camp brings top Southern Hemisphere players to the US

Utah Valley University has teamed up with team Blitz to host an exciting rugby summer camp this June. Held on UVU's campus, the 3 day camp is open to male and female players between the ages 17-25 years old.
The camp will include expertise of some top International players from the All Blacks, Wallabies, and Super 14 such as Sosene Anesi, Christian Lealiifano, Wycliff Palu, and John Schwalger to name a few!

Covering theoretical and tactical knowledge, and providing positional skills specific training techniques, this is a really unique opportunity for young players. William Fale, UVUs head coach and the camp organizer, was inspired to hold the camp based on his experience as a rugby player.  The exposure and access to top level players was life changing for him and something he passionately wanted players in the US to also experience (there will be more on William in a future podcast...coming soon!).

The camp costs $300 per person and you just need to cover your food, accommodation and travel out to Utah.  The registration deadline is coming up fast, so if your interested, please act soon.

To register and get further details, head on over to

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

NYC: Youth rugby fund-raiser tonight at Butterfield 8

Good mates Mike York and Christan Mayo from NYAC rugby club are hosting a happy hour charity fund-raiser tonight, Wednesday May 19th, at Butterfield 8 (5 East 38th St between 5th and Madison).  

They are raising money to help four kids from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Brooklyn go to summer rugby camp at Penn State this summer . 

There will be an open bar from 7-9pm with draft/bottled beer, house wine and premium mixed drinks: $35 ($10 of which goes to the charity)

If you can't make the happy hour and would like to donate, head on over to their site for more information and little more about their fund-raising efforts.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Fox's Rugby World misses the posts

As any fan living in the States knows, rugby TV shows are few and far between. So with Fox's Rugby World making its debut on Friday, a lot of excitement was generated in the US rugby community.  

I watched the show with great anticipation Friday, but was left feeling disappointed.  I went on twitter and facebook to get some feedback, and chatted with fellow blogger Josh Young, who came to the same conclusion: great to have rugby on TV, but this was far from perfect.  Was it the commentators?  The content?  Our high expectations?  I couldn't put my finger on it, so I decided to sleep on it.  

Saturday rolled around; knowing the show would air again on MSG, I set up Tivo so that I could watch it again.  Great!  So how did I find it second time round?  Well, it's worse than I thought.  I realized that my high hopes for this show blinded me to its awfulness.  How could I have missed that?  Hell, I had twittered that I thought it was alright.  Needed some work, but it's ok, right?  Err, no.  

Friday, May 14, 2010

USA Rugby announce High School and Under-19 Championships to Kick Off in Utah

Courtesy of USA Rugby

BOULDER, Colo. – The top 24 boys and girls teams in the country will meet at Rio Tinto Stadium for the USA Rugby High School and Under-19 Championships in Sandy, Utah on May 21-23.

The tournament gets underway with a full day of Boys’ High School and Under-19 competition from 11 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Friday, May 21, leading up to the championship matches on Saturday at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., respectively. The Girls’ Under-19 contest commences early Saturday morning and culminates in the Championship match at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. (All times are local).

USA Rugby National Men's Club Sevens - June 1st Registration Deadline

USA Rugby have sent out a friendly reminder that any Senior Men’s Clubs that would like to be eligible for the National Club Sevens competition, have to be in good standing with USA Rugby by June 1st 2010.

What that means is that your club has fully paid registration and at least one active coach registered with USA Rugby.  All players must be registered for the club, through initial enrollment or transfer, prior to any qualifying sevens match or by July 15th.

Full eligibility regulations can be found at

Clubs not in good standing by June 1st will not be eligible to compete in the compettion.

If you have any questions you can contact the USA Rugby’s Membership Department via
Will Ris – – 303-539-0300x136
Matt Trenary – – 303-539-0300x118 or
Lucy Zugschwert – – 303-539-0300x134

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Angry Ref - "Do you know what this game means?”

I get asked this a lot.
“Do you know how important this game is?"

“Do you know what’s a stake today?”

“You know this is a big game right?”

Wrong.  I don’t know.  And the fact is, I don’t want to know.  Besides, what’s the implication behind this question?  Are you suggesting that if the game meant “nothing” I’d approach it different.  Are you suggesting that my focus and preparation are different if the game isn’t a big deal?  Are you insinuating that I don’t give my best effort every time out?  Because if so, that’s a little insulting.
Let me tell you a little story.  I was off somewhere out of my union with a group of referees most of whom were far more advanced than I was at the time.  They were trading ref stories and one, and I forget the context of the remark, essentially stated that when he was coming up long ago it had been a waste of his time to ref the D3 notional playoffs.  He just couldn’t muster the excitement.  He talked about the challenges of getting up to do such a mundane game.  Clearly D3 was below him.  Now, as much as I disagree with his attitude he did make an important point, one that has stuck with me throughout my career.  It was this:
“I knew I had to get up for it because even though I wasn’t excited it was everything to these players.  For many them this was the pinnacle of their rugby lives and that had to be respected.”
When I was playing I was never on a team that made the playoffs.  I never even played in a game with playoff implications.  Never.  But as a player every game was important to me.  As a ref there are a couple things I carry with me each week.  The first is that every game is important to the players.  The second is that every game is important in and of itself.  You cannot allow a game at the end of the season to be any more or less important than a game at the beginning of the season.  Even if the last game determines whether or not a team makes the playoffs, or what their seeding will be.  Because the fact is that the way the games go from the start of the year determine what situation the team is in at the end of the year.  If you sleepwalk through an early season match you could have a hand in setting up the “winner take all” scenario at the end of the year.  If you’re concentration and preparation aren’t there for the games you deem as “unimportant” you could ruin a team’s year later on down the road.
So I don’t care what any one game means.  I don’t care what the implications of any one game are.  They are all important.  Nothing changes for me in terms of how I call the game.  I call what I see.  I interpret the law as I interpret it and I don’t care who you are, or who your coach is, or where you played before or any of that.  Once the game starts you’re a player and I’m the ref and the play is the play.  Because as much as we ref a game overall, and think about the game as a whole entity a large part of what we do is adjudicate moments.  Each breakdown, each set piece, each attempted tackle is its own entity seen and judged in real time.  Whatever happens in those moments happens and as a player I’m not sure you want the ref thinking about what it could mean in the larger context of this match or season.  I think you want the ref focused on this play, this moment happening right now.  Right?
To answer that I present this quote from Bruce Weber’s book “As They See ‘Em” about baseball umpires.
“Put another way, umpires are the only ones in the park for whom the narrative powers of a ball game are supposed to be irrelevant.  For fans, for players, for broadcasters, for everyone else the appeal of a ball game is that it is a story, with characters, a measure of uncertainty and suspense, a beginning, a middle, an end, and in the best of circumstances a climax and a denouement.  But for umpires, the story can be nothing but a distraction.  For them the game needs to be a procession of episodes, each only as weighty as the previous one, and it’s imperative for them to combat the very human impulse to be drawn into the drama.”
That is why I don’t want to know what this game means.  Because for me it can’t mean anything more than any other game.  An even keel is what defines a good ref.  The first play is the same as the last play.  The first game is the same as the playoff game.  It is not the meaning of the game that matters to us, it is the judgment of the moment.  For us, the game is nothing more than a series of moments strung together.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

NYC: Youth Rugby Awareness Night hosted by Play Rugby USA tonight

The folks over at Play Rugby USA will be hosting a "Youth Rugby Awareness Night" at the Australian Bar (20 W 38th St, New York) from this 6pm this evening.

Come on by to enjoy some drinks specials and learn more about how you can get involved with this year's Mayor's Cup Rugby Festival which will be hosted next month on June 5th.

This will be the 3rd Mayor's cup and last years event was the first I podcasted on for a rugby life.  You can listen to that 1st podcast here and also catch the 2nd part with Play Rugby's Mark Griffin (founder and president) and Christian Mayo (Director of Programs).

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