he who hesitates is wise – yars

With thirty players and one referee, there’s a lot of policing that goes on in a rugby match but not much fighting. If you fight and get ejected your team plays on with one less man, a huge deficit. We used to joke if you get thrown out for fighting, get somebody on their team thrown out too, and he ought to be better than you are. There’s a lot of honor, you play hard and clean and when somebody stretches the rules, there are subtler ways to send a message.

Ohio University back in the day was a wild party school. It was a great place for the after game party, but the matches were horrid affairs. Spectators half drunk by noon would surround the pitch screaming profanities and for blood, and their team tried to comply. Unlike the beauty and precision that rugby can be, games there were coarse barely in control things.

One of my mentors Barry H, ( in the team picture ) warned me about it as we drove down. Barry was ancient, ( over thirty to my green eighteen ) and brilliant. He had a graduate degree from prestigious Wharton, had started his own insurance company, a success by any measure. He was a fine rugby strategist and if he didn’t care to mix it up all the time, I had the energy to mix it up for two.

The game was a real donnybrook, no fun at all and a mess. Near the end a ruckus started at the far end of the field near the pack. I looked away and saw that the biggest guy on their team and Barry were squaring off at the other end of the field. This was young and strong against old and frail, big against small, good against evil. I sprinted over hollering, “Break it up” and grabbed the big guys arms to protect my teammate and friend.

Barry, wise and erudite, calm and the voice of reason, the elder statesman, hauled off and threw a hay-maker punch right to the big fellow’s jaw as I held him horrified at what was happening. We left him stunned on the ground and ran back to position and because of the tussle at the other end nobody saw it but we three.

Moral: Don’t be so quick to throw yourself into other peoples fights, they’ll let you know when they need you – and watch out for the old guys, they fight dirty!

YARS – yet another rugby story

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13 Comments on “he who hesitates is wise – yars”

  1. I’m always amazed at the details you seem to remember, as if the game was yesterday!

  2. woah, Rugby has never been a huge part of my life (ethnically, Soccer has been the favourite in my family) but it sounds extremely intense. I really enjoyed how you described the games however, it is quite poetic.

  3. susank456 says:

    The “old guys” have to be crafty, they don’t always have the speed and brute force of the younger ones. Good story.

  4. Clanmother says:

    I look forward to your words of wisdom!! 🙂


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