talking… optional – yars

The silence of rugby always intrigued me. In games only the captain could address the referee without incurring a penalty. Save your breath for running my teammates advised. They challenged us to play like the Welsh National Team – silently, even the captain only addressing the referee in a whisper. It didn’t make sense to trash talk ( an outlandish idea back then ) since everyone was only one tackle away from being unprotected at the bottom of a pile.

So we talked, but it was always of strategy, or “with you”, “on your left.”

For our last rugby match in England, five games in ten days with no snap left in our legs, we were a step slow. Our opponent was tough, they had seen us beat their two local rivals and they came out hard. Just a few minutes into the match their fullback sucker punched me in the jaw when I ran by, the lone referee looking away.

I gingerly made it over to the sidelines where the doctor ( who had bet heavily on us ) popped it back in, patted me on the butt and said cheerily “Now get back in there and keep tackling!”

Our legs were heavy, they were fierce tacklers, and I was pissed. “Bruce – kick up and unders, we’ll get it.” Pauly, built like a five-foot-eight inch incredible hulk, and hulk like impervious to pain nodded. Time and time again Bruce kicked the ball forty yards high and twenty yards down the middle of the field where only their fullback could field it with Pauly and I racing down. To let it drop meant we picked it up at speed, to catch it was to let one or both of us drive him into the turf.

If I hit him with my shoulder as hard as I could and drove him earthward, Pauly’s hits smashed him. Still he was brave and took the beating and they held the lead with just moments remaining. Once more Bruce lofted a high arching kick, the brown Gilbert ball floating against the September sky as Pauly and I sprinted toward their fullback who stood waiting, one eye on us, one on the gently descending ball.

Maybe it was the sun, but the ball floated down, bounced off the fullback’s chest and Pauly scooped it up in stride and stormed over the goal with the winning score.

Through the whole match, their fullback and I never exchanged a single word.

The Moral: Sometimes words are unnecessary

YARS – yet another rugby story


22 Comments on “talking… optional – yars”

  1. LadyBlueRose's Thoughts Into Words says:

    Great story, one of my friends in the Army played the enlisted against the officers…
    always a good game!
    ouch on the jaw….talk about taking one for the team in silence….
    Good story…I enjoyed it
    Take Care..
    )0(

  2. Thoughtlife says:

    Cool story. I’m guessing you were playing Rugby Union, not league. One of my favourite sports, and one of the most noble, in my opinion, for the reasons you mention i.e. on that field it’s all about what you do, not what you say.

    • billgncs says:

      thanks – Rugby Union in the US in the way back.

      We were descent enough to beat the local clubs in Sussex, Hove and Brighton – but we lost close to the Old Askeans in London – and the Public School Wanderers put a whooping on us.

      It’s a beautiful game. I learned alot of life playing.

      thanks for stopping by.

  3. Kristi says:

    Yes, talking is overrated….:D but many are not comfortable being silent.

  4. Eric Alagan says:

    Brings to mind about soccer, a gentleman’s game played by hooligans and rugby, a hooligans’ game played by gentlemen šŸ™‚

  5. Shannon says:

    No wonder I never became a rugby player! šŸ™‚

  6. I love reading these stories. I grew up in a European family whom adores soccer. But when you watch soccer games, I have to admit the players are sissy’s when it comes to injuries. What you are describing, about getting beat and continuing on as if it were nothing, is very inspiring.

  7. OUCH!! What a brave lot you were…gives new meaning to the strong, silent type!

  8. Chatty Owl says:

    I’ll just observe your rugby stories šŸ™‚

  9. susank456 says:

    Actions speak volumes. Great story.

  10. Clanmother says:

    I agree – sometimes words are unnecessary!!! šŸ™‚


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