Why I’m Walking Away: An Open Letter to the American Rugby Community

For the first time in over ten years, high school rugby season is getting underway without me.  I doubt I’ll be missed by anyone but my players, and – after the hell I’ve put them through – even that might be iffy.  Over the past several seasons, I have largely become a non-entity in Rugby Illinois (formerly the Illinois Youth Rugby Association).  I voluntarily removed myself from any involvement at the state level long ago.  Now, before anyone can turn an accusatory finger at me and cry hypocrite, I understand that this makes me a part of the problem rather than a part of the solution.  Unfortunately, I championed the solution for years and was met with nothing but resistance and derision.  There are only so many times a man can pound his head against a wall before he realizes that it’s probably smarter to just take a Tylenol and walk away.

I started coaching rugby the same year I started teaching.  Prior to that, I spent four years playing on a nationally competitive collegiate side followed by a brief stint with a small men’s club.  I already had three years’ experience as a high school football coach, and I volunteered my time with the rugby club for two simple reasons:  I love working with teenagers and I love rugby.  The head coach quickly became one of my closest friends.  He and I used to spend hours talking about the future of the sport in Illinois.  Enthusiasm and awareness were both on the rise, new youth clubs were springing up every year, and the quality of competition was steadily increasing.  In ten years, we thought we’d be a legitimate presence in our school, with the support of the athletic department, access to school resources, and a legitimate IHSA tournament to determine the state champion.

But, ten years later, very little has changed.  Although there are more youth clubs and more players than ever before in Illinois, the public profile of the sport is still minimal and its reputation largely negative.  Worse, despite the outward appearance of change and growth, disorganization and dysfunction still rule at the state level.

Although my hiatus from coaching was meant to be temporary, I have a difficult time believing I’ll return to the rugby pitch any time soon.  What follows are the reasons why.

The Question of Legitimacy

For years, there’s been an ongoing push at the state level to “legitimize” rugby in Illinois.  But there’s only one way to really do that:  Become an Illinois High School Association (IHSA) sport.  Unfortunately, reactions to any mention of the IHSA range from indifference at best to outright defiance at worst.  There is an inexplicable insistence at both the state and national levels that rugby stands alone.  That rugby is, should be, and always will be unique in American sport.  This, however, defies reason.  Simply put, you cannot gain legitimacy as an outlier.

Blind Adherence to Overseas Models of Player Development

Ask any American what three sports the U.S. is best at, and you’ll invariably get three answers:  Football, Basketball, and Baseball.   They are recognized and endorsed by state scholastic organizations nationwide, and they follow similar models of team and player development at the elementary school, high school, and collegiate levels.  Common sense dictates that if you want to develop both the quantity and quality of athletes enjoyed by the big three, you would be best served following their blueprint.

In my experience, one of the main reasons why both the state organization and so many of the individual coaches are so vehemently opposed to seeking IHSA membership is because they fear losing their autonomy.  In other words, they might have to answer to somebody and be held to enforced standards of professional conduct.  So instead, we have State Based Rugby Organizations (or whatever the hell USA Rugby is calling them these days), community clubs, and fledgling “local academies” for player development.  The end result of this is a shortage of resources compounded by insufficient community awareness and parent support.  Worse, most players still do not learn about the sport until they are in late high school or even in college.  Meanwhile, boys’ and girls’ La Crosse have been classified as Emerging Sports in the IHSA with over 100 combined teams and – in my area at least – huge enrollment numbers.

And you can guess what sport those numbers are being drawn away from.

A Shortage of Professionalism

One of my long standing laments about coaching rugby in Illinois is the dearth of coaches who are also educators.  Does a good coach necessarily have to be a teacher?  Of course not.  On that same token, can an educator be a bad coach?  Absolutely.  All things being equal, however, I’d much rather entrust my own daughters to a trained professional who spends his or her days immersed in children and who thus understands and is responsive to their unique needs and desires.  More importantly, I want my children in the hands of coaches who are willing to put their players’ well-being before their own.  Sadly, I see far too little of this on the sidelines of high school rugby matches.  I’ve seen coaches who scream, coaches who swear, and coaches who don’t know how to win and lose with class.  Not to mention the many coaches I’ve encountered whose primary interest in their youth club is using it as a farm system for their men’s club and who don’t understand the myriad distinctions between being a player-coach among grown men and being a coach in a youth program.  In my experience, the bad coaches greatly outnumber the good ones, and they comprise the vocal majority standing in the path of true legitimacy for the sport.

Negative Public Perception

Over the past decade, USA Rugby has worked diligently to raise the public profile of the sport in this country.  In November, they managed to sell out Soldier Field in Chicago for a nationally televised Eagles/All-Blacks match.  I was there.  It nearly brought tears to my eyes to see 60,000+ screaming fans gathered on the lakefront for international rugby, even if most of them were wearing black and white.  Just five years earlier, I attended a match between the U.S. and Wales at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois.  There were fewer people in attendance that day than we get for our high school football games.  I can neither deny nor criticize the explosion in overall awareness between 2009 and 2014.

Awareness, however, is not enough.

What I saw in Chicago last November was all at once everything that is so right and everything that is so very wrong with rugby in America.  The Eagles acquitted themselves valiantly, playing some of the best rugby I’ve ever seen from a U.S. side.  The crowd was a testament to the natural diversity of the sport, and it was raucous until the final whistle.  Men, women, and children of all shapes, sizes, and colors were gathered together to celebrate a mutual and non-partisan love of the world’s greatest sport.  They cheered.  They sang.  And – in one of the great traditions of the sport – they became friends.  For many young spectators, it was a brilliant introduction to the simple beauty of the rugby life.

It’s a shame that it had to include a 68-point loss.

Far more distressing than the final score were the ludicrous displays of buffoonery and hooliganism that have become inextricably linked with rugby in this country:  Fans wearing nothing but tattered match shorts and tank tops (on a 40-degree day on the lakefront!), public displays of competitive drinking, vulgar and sometimes downright disturbing call-and-response songs and chants.  After the match, I even saw one young woman who was so drunk she’d pissed her pants and had to be carried out of the stadium by two men that I hope like hell were trustworthy friends.  In short, there were far too many people treating the event like the post-match parties of their college days.  And this in what was meant to be a family-friendly environment.  Needless to say, I was glad that my children weren’t there.

In short, little has changed in the fifteen years since I graduated from college.  Little will until we start taking the necessary steps to truly legitimize rugby in the eyes of America.  In Illinois, in my community especially, it’s a tough sell.  Too many parents have too many memories of the misbehavior of their college teams and local men’s clubs.  Unfortunately, scenes like the ones described above do nothing to dispel those notions about what it means to play rugby.  When you’re asking parents to overlook their personal experiences and trust that the rugby community is changing, you do yourself and the sport in general a grave disservice by having neither licensed credentials to demonstrate your qualifications nor any cogent affiliation with the school system.  Most parents will assume you’re a ruffian and that you’re going to indoctrinate their children into a life of drunken hooliganism.  Sadly, they might be right.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is this:  As much as I love teaching, I love coaching, and I love rugby, my days on the pitch are most likely over.  The only way I can see myself going back is if rugby becomes an Illinois High School Association sport with a school-sponsored team in my district.  When that day arrives, I’ll know that we’re finally done with coaches scrambling to put together their own schedules, clubs desperately seeking patches of grass to host matches, and the endless chains of vulgar, derisive, and inflammatory reply-all emails that pass for the decision-making process in this state.  When that day arrives, I’ll know that I will never again have to sit through an organizational meeting where one coach is asking for donations of used balls because his club is broke while another belittles the notion of school funding and support, where a coach motions to change the state by-laws to allow his high school athletes to play on his men’s team in the summer, or where I have to justify my refusal to take my youth team to any tournament sponsored by a beer vendor.  When that day arrives, I’ll know that I’ll never again have to defend my involvement in the sport to a colleague or justify its safety and efficacy to a parent.

Because when that day arrives, I’ll know that we’re finally legitimate.

As always, thanks for reading.

CVA

To read more from this author, click here.

The Curse of Fandom: Can I Bear to Watch This?

It’s the first Sunday of the NFL season, and I’m scared.

I’ve noticed in recent years that my emotional state in the fall has grown inextricably linked to the successes and failures of the Chicago Bears. I am no longer a casual fan watching with casually detached interest. I no longer watch football on Sunday afternoons with the remove of a fan watching a TV show. I am slowly but surely crossing the line into superfandom. When the Bears win, it brings both climax and catharsis to my week. No matter what else might be bringing me down, I can go to bed Sunday night with the assurance that all is momentarily right with the world. When the Bears lose, the frustration follows me the rest of the day and haunts me into the night. I wake up Monday morning wound up and already desperate for next Sunday to get here already so I can get some release.

And when the losses start to mount? When a game becomes a streak?

You’re probably better off asking my wife about that.

Better yet, don’t. I don’t want her to get mad at me.

Anyway…I suppose I can trace it all back to 2011. We’d been spoiled the previous season, watching a stalwart defense and stellar special teams buoy an emerging offense en route to the NFC Championship game. The team got better and better as the season went on, and they were only an injury away from playing in the Super Bowl.

If Jay Cutler finishes that game, the Bears win. Just sayin’.

When the 2011 season finally arrived, it came bearing otherworldly expectations. And the season seemed to follow the same blueprint as the year before. The Bears started slow, hit some bumps in the road early, but made steady improvements every week. By mid-season, they were systematically dismantling some excellent teams. They were hot, and they looked like legitimate Super Bowl contenders.

Then…disaster. Injuries to Jay Cutler, Matt Forte, and Johnny Knox devastated the offense and cost the team the season.

And that season nearly cost me my sanity.

Watching as the losses added up and the odds of making the playoffs continued to shrink became a weekly exercise in anger and misery. By the time the playoff window finally closed for good on Christmas night (irony), my emotional nerve endings were already fried and I was nearly numb.

The 2012 season was more of the same, although this time it was the defense that caught the injury bug and collapsed late in the year. Not that the offense did much to help.

Then there was 2013. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you already know how I feel about 2013.

But here’s what really worries me. The wife, a psych major with a Masters in School Counseling, pointed out that I seem to be projecting my issues with my own football team onto my favorite pro team. In other words, the Bears have started bearing the brunt of my frustrations with my own players. The line between coach and fan has grown increasingly hazy.

In 2010, we had a lot of talent but it never fully jelled. We finished the year 9-2, but got dominated in our second-round playoff game. In the end, we were never anywhere near as good as we should have been. In a lot of ways, losing was a relief. Still, the after-effects of 11 weeks of stress and frustration lingered. Thank God for that 2010 playoff run.

In 2011, we were even more talented. And all the pieces seemed to come together. We were winning games by an average of 30+ points, and we beat the eventual 8A state champion (at their place, no less) on the road to a 9-0 regular season. The wheels came off in a second-round playoff game that we lost 7-0 at home to a moderately talented but very well-coached 6-3 team. Our team was undone by its biggest playmakers’ own egos. We were finished long before we should have been, and the Bears were all I had left. Watching them find new and more pathetic ways to come unglued each week compounded my sorrows to the point that my family could hardly stand to be around me on Sundays.

2012 was our state final run. We lost 10-8 in Champaign. It was the one black mark on an otherwise perfect season spent coaching an amazing group of kids. But it was followed by an inexplicable meltdown that kept the Bears out of the post-season and cost Lovie Smith his job.

Last year, our defense was never as good as it should have been. And that defense let us down in the state quarterfinals. Critical breakdowns in the closing minutes cost us a late lead and, ultimately, our season. We racked up a lot of wins, but we lost to every good team we played. Sound familiar, Bears fans?

And now, the 2014 season is less than three hours away. I’m not coaching this year, but is that going to make things better or worse? Without a team of my own, I don’t have any emotional baggage to bring with me on Sunday afternoons. At the same time, the Bears are now my one and only outlet as far as football is concerned. Is this season going to be easier since I can no longer project my own professional issues onto my favorite professional team? Or is it just going to get harder since the Bears are now my sole emotional investment in football?

I guess only time will tell. I’ll let you know how it all plays out.

As always, thanks for reading.

And GO BEARS!

CVA

If You See Me Tonight…

Tonight, for the first time in over ten years, I’ll be going to a high school football game as just a spectator. I’m already sick at my stomach over it. I’ll be there with my father, who’s always been my biggest fan. I know he’s looking forward to hearing my “insider’s perspective” on the game as it unfolds, but I don’t know how much there is I can really tell him. I’m going to be there to support the players I coached last year and should have been coaching this year. I’m also going to be there because I have friends coaching on both sidelines. Beyond that, I’ve distanced myself from it these past few months. It was the only way I could think of to keep from hurting.

With that in mind…if you see me tonight…

…please don’t take it personally if I seem a little distant or act a bit aloof. I’m not used to sitting in the stands and really don’t know what I’m doing. And I probably feel like I’m watching my prom date make out with my best friend.

…please don’t ask me why I’m not coaching. I’ve answered that question enough over the past three months. The political answer is because I need to take some graduate classes and I want to spend some extra time with my family. The truth is that my family and my children are more important to me than yours. I know that as a teacher I’m probably not supposed to say that, but anything else would be a lie. It doesn’t mean your son doesn’t matter to me, though. If that was the case, then I wouldn’t there at all.

…please don’t ask me if I miss it. I do. So much so that from where I sit right now the thought of being at the game tonight without really being there sets my stomach churning and the bile rising.

…please don’t ask me about my replacement. He’s only in his second year coaching, and he worked with our Freshman team last year. I barely know him. He’s young, but he always seemed like he knew his shit. I think he’ll do just fine at the job, and I will tell you that he’s doing great whether he is or not. For your sons’ sake, I hope he is. I’m going to be real here, however. There’s a dark, selfish, and egotistical part of me that wants to see him fail.

…please don’t ask me what I think of the defense’s game plan. I had no hand in creating it, but I’m sure it’s sound. If anything goes wrong, it will be a breakdown in execution rather than in scheme. With that in mind…

…please – when there is a breakdown on defense – don’t ask me how I feel about it. Especially if it’s an issue with the defensive line. If/when something goes wrong, I’ll be stuck watching just like you. Except I’ll be watching from beneath the ponderous shadow of the sense that I should be doing something. So, the short answer is this. I feel helpless. I don’t know if my presence on the sideline would make any difference, but I’m frustrated and feeling guilty all the same.

…please don’t make any jokes about me going to talk to the team at halftime. If the game’s going well, they don’t need me. If it’s going poorly, I won’t have a sense of humor about it.

…please don’t ask me about the offense. Please especially don’t ask me about the play-calling. Just….don’t. I’ve been trying to figure it out for years. And I just don’t know.

…please, if we lose, just leave me alone.

Sorry if that seems like such a negative way to start a Friday morning. I needed to get that out of my system. Time to be positive now.

Wish us the team good luck.

As always, thanks for reading.

CVA

Starting Again…with a Great Big Asterisk This Time

School starts today. It’s Institute Day, which means no students. Instead, we get to sit through the same District, Union, Building, and Department Meetings that we’ve been having on opening day for over ten years now. I’m sure we’ll hear most of the same jokes, stories, and statistics that we always hear in the same canned speeches and recycled pep talks that we’re forced to endure every year. Then, near the end of the day, we’ll finally get some “individual time” to make sure our rooms, plans, and copies are in order so we’re ready to actually teach when the students arrive tomorrow.

School starts today. Which means summer vacation’s over. 4:00 am still feels like the middle of the night, my morning routines feel completely alien, and coffee has already ceased being a warm, delicious luxury and become a strong, black, dire necessity.

School starts today, which means life returns to routine and structure.

But with so many things returning to normal, I am becoming painfully aware of how much everything is going to change.

I quit coaching at the end of last school year. Despite the sentiments I recycled a few days ago about trying to achieve balance in my life, it was actually a very sudden decision. And it’s one that I’m still coming to grips with.

I started this site 18 months ago and during that time I’ve often wondered what it might be like to step away from coaching for a year and blog about the experience. How might my life change if I excised one of the fundamental facets of who I am? How might the balance of my life change if I were to set aside the thing that unbalances and undermines it the most? How much could I actually accomplish if I was done working at the end of school each day and actually had my weekends off? How good of a teacher could I be? How many projects could I finish around the house? How much more time could I spend with my daughters?

How much writing could I get done?

I suppose now we’ll find out.

This post is late coming, seeing as I began my “leave of absence” (I have a hard time believing I won’t go back at some point) at the start of summer vacation. I nearly cried when I had to face my position group on our last day of spring workouts and tell them out of the blue that I wasn’t going to coach them this year. I went through finals week with a ponderous void weighing on the hollows of my heart. I spent the first two weeks of summer – normally devoted to June football camp – alternately feeling like I was late for something and had forgotten somewhere I needed to be. But by the start of July, summer was mostly just summer. I did some graduate coursework – a luxury I never had time for before – which helped to keep me busy. I extended the annual trip to my grandmother’s house by an extra day just because I could. And I soaked up as much time as possible with my two young daughters and my wife. I only felt the absence of coaching when I stopped and let myself dwell on it.

You might have noticed, though, that this blog went dormant for three months. So did my writing. Sadly, I wrote significantly more last summer when I was both coaching football and preparing the house for a second child. This is where the questions about balance come in. Because I wasn’t coaching this summer, because I knew I had the extra hours to spend with my family, I felt obligated to spend ALL my extra hours with them. I took less time for myself this summer than I ever have before. In the end, I feel like I accomplished nothing over the past two months.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I loved every minute I spent with my family and I wouldn’t trade that time for anything. But it makes me wonder. One of the carrots that eased this decision for me was the promise that I would have more time to write. Yet so far I’ve written next to nothing. Ironically, the start of school should help with that. Structure is good for me. So are the pre-dawn hours. If nothing else, they’re the only time I really get to myself. The doubt still remains, though. Am I going to be a better husband, father, teacher, and author this year now that coaching has been put on hold? Am I going to finally strike a satisfying balance in my life? Or am I going to find myself wasting more time simply because I have more time to waste? Growing lazier because I don’t have the pressure to focus my effort? Actually taking less time for my own needs and my own dreams because I feel like I have the time to spend with my family thus I must spend all of that time with them while I have it?

I’m so accustomed to balancing my life against the massive and unstable weight of coaching, will I be able to keep myself level without it?

It’s the first day of school, and the morning writing hour is drawing to an end. I don’t know how ready I am to start a new year, especially while still sorting out such a major change in my life. I can tell you this much, though: I’m excited to be back in my office watching the sun come up while I type.

As always, thanks for reading.

CVA

New Year, New Look, New Life…

With a new school year and a new adventure about to begin, I thought it was a great time to freshen things up a bit around here. The “reconstruction” project is nearly done. I hope you like the new look!

What follows is a repost of some thoughts I originally published in April (please don’t point out the irony to me…I’m well aware of it). They were the inspiration for this blog’s new tagline and should provide some perspective about the major changes that have swept the Alexander house this summer.

Thank you for your patience as I’ve gone dark these past few months. Updates and explanations are coming soon.

CVA

Striking Balance in Suburbia

Monday was the first time in weeks that I was able to come straight home after school. The sun was out, the temperature was up, and the wind was high. The Wife and I took a long walk with The Younger (The Elder was at her grandparents’ house for the day) and enjoyed an hour of fresh air and quiet conversation.

The Younger – who was born at the beginning of football season and only started developing a personality during the dead of winter – smiled at the sounds of our voices, giggled at the sights of the neighborhood, and kicked with glee at the cool of the breeze on her face. In short, she spent the afternoon outside with her mommy and daddy, and she beamed the whole time.

After our walk, I went to collect The Elder and stopped to pick up an early birthday dinner for The Wife. The four of us ate together while the sun was still out, then we played together in the front yard. I got to feed The Younger her bedtime bottle and got to read to each daughter independently before turning out their lights for the night. Then The Wife and I finished our night by watching the How I Met Your Mother finale and cashing it in early.

It was as close to a perfect evening as I could imagine.

And it makes me think long and hard about something The Wife said to me on Friday.

I came home around 4:00 (about three hours earlier than usual these days) and was able to wrangle the girls while The Wife made dinner. What we sat down to that evening blew me away: Pasta, salad, homemade eggplant parmigiana, and glasses of red wine.

“This is amazing,” I said.

“This is what rugby season is losing you the other nights of the week.”

Those words have been echoing in my head ever since. As I went to bed Monday night, they were practically screaming in my ears.

We’ve been having rugby practice for the better part of three weeks now. We open our season at home on Friday night. And I’m steadily growing to dread each day of it.

Now, I’ve always approached the start of a new athletic season with a healthy dose of trepidation. This has understandably been compounded since the birth of The Elder. I anticipate the arrival of each fall and spring with memories of the summer and winter weighing on my heart. I lament the impending loss of the hours with my family and the freedom of actually having spare time. But I also quickly forget it all once I’m out on the field. The hours with my friends and my players are usually enjoyable enough to numb me to what I’m missing, and the impact I have on the young men in my care is generally enough to make the sacrifice seem worth it.

But not this year. Not this spring.

I’ve always told myself – and my wife – that whenever the day arrives that I reach the end of a season and I genuinely regret it, that will be the day that I hang up my whistle.

For the first time, I’m beginning to wonder if that day is on the horizon.

Ever since I read Grendel in English 4 Honors, I’ve held firm to the belief that “Balance is everything”. But this winter is the first time in my adult life that I’ve truly felt that balance. Consider the list of things I accomplished without football or rugby to get in the way…

…I finished a manuscript I’d been picking away at since fall of 2010. And I did it in a flurry of 1,000-plus-word mornings followed by a few weeks of focused proofing and editing.

…I was an attentive and affectionate husband, one who was finally able to help his wife work through some lingering post-partum depression and anxiety that had gone largely repressed on her end and overlooked on mine.

…I took an active role in my daughters’ lives for more than just a half-hour a day (which probably helped a lot with the above).

…and I was probably the most on-the-ball I’ve ever been as a teacher. I was able to come in every morning with strong lesson plans, graded papers, and a positive attitude about my job and my students.

I call this blog Husband, Father, Teacher, Coach, Author because it’s all about my struggles to balance these facets of who I am. And this winter I was the best I’ve ever been at four of my five roles. I’d finally struck balance between the four most important parts of my life.

And now we enter a time of year when the fifth unbalances them all.

I can already feel myself growing lazier with my lesson plans, bracing myself to “wing it” in front of my students, and falling behind on my grades.

Although I’m maintaining this blog as proactively as I can, I haven’t typed a new word of fiction in weeks.

I’m steadily seeing less and less of my wife. And – fatigued as I am by the end of the day – I’m spending less time actually interacting with her even when we are together.

Although my girls light up in elation whenever I come home, I know their faces are painted with bittersweet joy. They’re only so happy to see me because they see me so little.

I’ve been wrestling with these feelings for most of a month now, but the events of Monday evening stirred me into sleepless turmoil. I’m realistic enough to know that if I ever did walk away from coaching, not every afternoon could be like Monday was. But I’m optimistic enough to believe that such days could become more the norm than the exception.

Even still, my evening with my family was probably only a jab at the heart, a feint to set me up for a roundhouse to the jaw.

It was the damn HIMYM finale that sent me over the edge.

*Spoilers Ahead*

The revelation of Tracy’s passing is what brought these thoughts to the fore. I remember near the end of season 8, old Ted delivers a monologue about remembering his life 45 days before meeting his eventual wife. He says that if he’d known then what he knows in 2030, he’d have gone to her apartment and introduced himself that day so that he could have those 45 extra days with her. And even if he couldn’t have them, he says it would have been worth it to him to see his wife for even just the 45 seconds it would take for her then-boyfriend to show up at the door and escort him away. He simply loved her that much.

If my wife’s life were to become suddenly and immediately finite, how many of the afternoons spent at football and rugby would I wish and pray every day that I could have back? How much would I give for 45 more days or even just 45 more seconds?

What if I faced the same situation with one of my daughters?

Regardless of tragedy, how much of their “big stuff” will I have lost to the mundane routines of practice, meetings, and film? How many of their victories will I have missed out on because of football games and rugby matches? And just how few might be left ahead?

One of the football coaches I work with gives a speech every year about the importance of legacy. What will your legacy be?

When I look back on my life – when the day comes that I face my judgment, whatever its source – will I be remembered as a good teacher and a good football and rugby coach? Or as a good husband and a good father? Do I want my legacy to be quantified in wins and losses or in hugs and smiles? Do I want to lament never having won a state title or having never published a best-seller? Do I want to live on in the memories of other people’s children? Or of my own?

Do I want to look back at the end of my life and remember the stress and the heartache and turmoil I endure every fall and spring?

Or do I want to remember balance?

As always, thanks for reading.

CVA

By Some Miracle…

Our rugby team is officially 2-0. For the second week in a row, we were trailing late and got the go-ahead try with less than 5:00 to play. I’m going to enjoy it for tonight, but then there’s a lot of work to be done. About the only thing we’ve done right so far is find ways to win. I’m not going to look it in the mouth, though. A year ago we couldn’t even do that much.

All right…a victory beer then so much needed rest. No better way to start a weekend.

As always, thanks for reading.

CVA

Finally!

After starting March with nearly two weeks’ worth of practices cancelled for snow and starting April by postponing a match because our pitch was underwater, we finally kicked off the 2014 rugby season tonight. And after a 2013 that began with a winless spring and ended with an underachieving football season, starting the year with a big win is almost indescribable.

Now, my feet hurt, my voice is shot, and my head’s pounding. Time for a well-earned beer.

Hope everyone else’s weekend is off to a great start.

As always, thanks for reading.

CVA