compromise — yars

It was scorching hot. The two teams surrounded the referee before the final match, the championship game. We were hot, dirty, bruised. Some would say we even smelled bad. It was an honest stink, earned from bruising tackles, long runs through six rugby games to meet for one last test.

We offered, instead of the ten minute halves for the final, how about playing seven minute halves, like all the previous games on this hot hot day. They snickered, “They can’t last, they’re weak… don’t do it” to their captain.

We beat them fourty-one to nothing playing ten minute halves.

The moral: Just because someone offers a compromise doesn’t mean they are weak. They may still be able to kick your butt. At least listen to their offer, and don’t piss them off.

YARS — yet another rugby story


one more step

In rugby sevens, seven players take the field for each team and play two seven minute periods. Fourteen people on a field slightly larger than an American Football field where normally 30 reside. It is played at a whirlwind pace, and a single bad pass or missed tackle can result in a score for the other team.

About two minutes in, you are scraped and bruised from collisions and the ensuing wrestling for the ball and the pursuit, but you are full of adrenaline. Your legs pump and you power through tackles wreaking havoc when your shoulder drives through your man. There is no rest for either of you as you scramble quickly to your feet and pursue to stay in the flow. By minute 5 your legs burn, your breath comes in heaving gasps, and you operate from muscle memory and will. Those last two minutes are when fit teams separate. Machine like they pass crisply and cut sharply and deliver driving shoulder tackles when the lesser teams stumble and grasp emptily at you as you run past.

Then the whistle and the glorious halftime, that one minute of drink and rest and regrouping before the madness begins again.

To win the tourney, repeat for six or seven games in a day. We were good. With Paulie, TK, two Tommies, Hawk, Zep, Janiczek, and a Billy we won more often than lost. We were at Poe Ditch field near Bowling Green College in Ohio and it was 90 degrees in the sun with no shade for one hundred miles, just cornfields as far as the eye could see. It was our fourth match and Tommy P was all over the pitch, supporting, tackling, using his smooth side step to spring past his man. After the match I asked him how he could do it in that heat when even our fittest were wilting. His reply:

“I know I can’t run all the way down the field, but I can always get on my feet and take one more step. You just have to do it.”

I think of that remark often. Sometimes I struggle, but I can always get to my feet and take one more step. Today was a hard day, but tomorrow I will take one more step.

May you always have one more step.