learning something – yars

At eighteen I joined a rugby club. Though I was five years younger than the youngest of the club players, they were a fun welcoming bunch. I’d chat a bit with most of the fellows but in the entire first season I never uttered a single syllable toward George. At the prime of his career, late twenties or early thirties in age, George was the star and leader of the team. Veterans ( unlike me who dared talk to George ) called him Bear, and he was bearlike, with thick forearms, wide shoulders and a massive neck, and that was topped with a ferocious Fu Manchu mustache and red hair.

In matches, George would crash into three opponents and drive them back and turn presenting the ball calling out “On me, On me.” Everyone was a step faster and hit harder as though his will infused with our own. Once near the end of practice that first year he came up to me and said in gruff gravely tones “Who are you?” I somehow squeaked out my name, “Bill”.

About eight years later, I am in the prime of my career as a solid player, and George is still a good player, but no longer the dominant player of before. We were playing our cross town rival the West Side Rovers and on the kickoff, my man did something cheap and dangerous. In the resulting tussle, I may have punched him in the face, well three times, and for the only time in my thirteen year career I was thrown out. I watched dejected on the sidelines sitting with my head in my hands as we lost playing fourteen against fifteen, the fifteenth me, kicked out.

After the game, I was sitting forlornly on the sideline and George sat down next to me and put his arm across my shoulders and said, “Billy – I’m sorry you got thrown out, but I’m glad you punched him. It shows you learned something.”

Moral: Sometimes you need to fight – and heroes can make things better.

YARS – yet another rugby story

Cleveland Blues at Squires Castle   circa late 1970's

Cleveland Blues at Squires Castle
circa late 1970’s


32 Comments on “learning something – yars”

  1. Scriptor Obscura says:

    Which one’s you in the picture? 🙂

  2. i love love the moral of the story,…

  3. Shannon says:

    What funny, but good lessons from rugby!

  4. bwthoughts says:

    […] learning something – yars → […]

  5. yes. That is why I took up martial arts

  6. susank456 says:

    Sometimes you just have to take a stand deal with the consequences, knowing you did the right thing. Great story.

  7. Rana says:

    I wish like no other I lived somewhere that had a rugby team I could join. I used to play ice hockey, but the skates just kill my ankles. There’s just no teams around me, and if there are it’s an all 30-45 year old man team. No one my age plays! 😦 I look forward to reading more YARS from you! ^_^

  8. I love these Rugby stories, seems no one ever had much to say at the time, but when they did, it was worth listening to. 🙂

    And off subject: Who wears short shorts, we wear short shorts… lalalala. 😉 Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

  9. Lol!!! YARS! :)- Keep ’em coming!

  10. Eric Alagan says:

    Yes, though I abhor it, sometimes we do need to fight – I’ve taken a couple and given a few.

  11. You were more than just a solid player!

    • billgncs says:

      can you find George in the picture ?

      • Clanmother says:

        I am guessing front and center with the Fu Manchu mustache. Am I right?

        • billgncs says:

          yep — interesting as gruff and tough as he was, kids flocked to him, and certainly never acted up around him 🙂

          • Clanmother says:

            He has a kindness in his face that is unmistakable.

            • billgncs says:

              I saw him a couple years ago at an old boys game – we compared replaced joints and a couple other injuries along the sidelines – he was smaller than I remembered not so massive in his chest and neck – but he still he had that presence. And after nearly forty years, I am still Billy to him.

              • Clanmother says:

                And that is the best of all – the way it should be… 🙂

                • billgncs says:

                  Once at a tournament at Traverse City Michigan ( during the cherry festival ) we had a big tent for the team with two rooms and camped at a ski resort ( it was summer. ) They served beer, bison, and big bowls of cherries in the lodge.

                  Well that is a pretty good combination for gas, and by morning George was in one room of the tent alone, and everyone else was outside sleeping on picnic tables on crammed on the other side.

                  He was the champion even at that. Once we overcame that, nothing could stop us and we won the tournament.


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