question authority – yars

By my mid twenties I had been playing rugby for eight years and was a fixture on the A-team. Once after an injury, broken wrist, or maybe one of my five shoulder separations I was running with the B-team to get my fitness back. A new fellow just out of college with a long pony tail and attitude to match was running my position on the B-squad so I ran outside center next to him.

In Tuesdays practice we sprinted up and down the field in our unopposed lines he continually tried this cute little move. I mentioned that wouldn’t work in an A-game since it took too long to develop and he might try and alternative move. He glared at me and muttered something along the lines of who did I think I was anyway.

Well Thursdays practice found me back on the A-side and marking him in the scrimmage of A-team vs B-team. Every time he tried that little stutter step I hit him as hard as I could. I piledrove him into the grass at Forest Hills park over and over. We never said a word, but this was A-game intensity. I viewed it as an exercise of Pavlovian extinction of undesirable behavior. Whenever he returned to it, I planted him. By the end of the scrimmage the ball was flowing quickly to the wing with no cute moves.

Funny thing is he and I later shared many a brew and hour discussing the finer things in life, like footwork receiving a pass, or the value of the passive tackle and he went on to become an excellent player, far exceeding me.

The morals: Unsolicited advice is rarely acted upon or accepted, and it’s OK to question authority, but sometimes authority might just thump your ass.

YARS – yet another rugby story

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14 Comments on “question authority – yars”

  1. I’m not a sports type person, but your YARS pieces are really great! Thanks Bill!

  2. Cara Thereon says:

    I chuckled at your last paragraph. Sometimes we don’t learn until we get the thumping.

  3. susank456 says:

    You taught and he learned. So many hardheads out there think they know it all and don’t listen. Good story.

  4. Eric Alagan says:

    Very true,Bill – most bosses got to be there by their grit – because there simply weren’t enough rich uncles to go around!

  5. Amazing that only pavlovian methods worked – maybe there’s a lesson here

  6. I’m amazed he tried it more than once hahaha! You’re a real stickler for details aren’t you. 🙂


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