Day 1573 A great group of men

25 06 2017

Yesterday my rugby brothers from college got together one of our teammates came home from Australia, it had been 19 years since we had been together. We had all come from a football background and that year we took the field we absolutely no idea what we were doing. We tried putting football concepts into Rugby which didn’t work and we also had to learn that Rugby was harder and more physical than any sport we had ever played. We started learning  about each other, realized that we had met the others equivalent of crazy, we drank together, partied, fought, ruled the city of Denton. We all needed an identity and a purpose and in doing that we developed a true brotherhood. This is a place to talk about some of the things we did, but I will tell you about how it turned out.

We lost the first 4 games we played. We were physical, mean and downright ignorant on the field. We took a me first attitude, mostly because we didn’t screw up but we were screwing up because we were about ourselves.   The games weren’t blow outs but they weren’t close and I was like what in the hell had I gotten into. After I played a game which was 80 minutes, 5 minute half time. everything hurt even my hair. We all were physical , we tried to break you in half on a tackle or run through you when we had the ball.  Like anything you learn but I thought can these football players learn a foreign sport and win at it. We were learning about each other, we had each others backs always, feared nothing, drank half of the city away, and had so much fun doing it.

Then it happened, we were in a tournament at SFA. We were up by a try or in america (touchdown) then we actually passed the ball 3 times and scored from 40 yards out. Nothing was the same again. We beat schools like, TCU, Texas, a touring professional side from England, Texas Tech we didn’t lose again. Rugby is a long season from September until May. Needless to say your body is beat up but unless its broke or your bleeding you play. I got stitched up on the sidelines once, I had to stick tampons up my nose so the bleeding would stop. We qualified for the TRU of Texas Rugby Union Collegiate playoffs This was a first for UNT. The hardest part of winning this title is you play 2 full games back to back. Saturday and Sunday. One game is hard enough but 2. Are you freaking kidding me. Of yeah btw a cold front had come and the field was covered in water and the temp that weekend was 40 high. Our first game wasn’t easy as thought but if I remember we won 40-20. I had mud in places I didn’t know were possible a;so the team we played once they knew they weren’t going to win they got cheap shots in. We couldn’t lose our cool we had something to lose and they didn’t. after a pass I got a cheap shot I had one hell of a thigh bone bruise. We had other guys that were hurt to. The thought that in less than 14 hours we have to take the field again to become champions.

Oh here is a big turn of events. The team we had to play Sunday to win it all didn’t have to play. I believe the team was Texas Tech or TCU they decided to forfeit. So we had to play Saint Edwards university for the title and they were fresh and in rugby that spells doom. With advil, maybe a shot or 2 of liqueur, and whatever else, we dragged ourselves into the fields. Most of had never had a championship or even came close but we were 80 minutes away. AS we huddled each looked each other in the eye. We were silent for the first time. We broke and knew that today was it. We were slow like a time that had just played less than 24 hours earlier and the other team was not. They were fast, and physical and smelled blood. Halftime though they were only up 10-7. big mistake for them. As bad has we hurt we were stubborn, physically dominate and now we were 40 minutes away. It was such a sloppy game, so much mud and water and cold. The ball wasn’t doing what we wanted for either side. 80 minutes ended tided 20-20. Overtime made we want to scream so I did.  Both teams were worn out. It had been one devastating hit after another. 2nd overtime starts and ends 20-20. Yes that’s correct. we were going through a 3rd overtime. Champions rise to the top, you looked around into the eyes of our guys and you could see exhaustion. I truly didn’t have a clue what would happen. I was dragging myself all over the field. My leg felt like it was going to fall off, guys with separated shoulders. One of the other teams guys had a cramp which allowed for a delay.. We were 8 meters out from scoring. Nothing left except the heart of a champion and the will. I hear one of the guys behind us yell at us now you could feel the energy, this was it, The scrums collided we pushed a d the whistle blew. I still to this day have no idea but we scored. It was over, the game was over. I looked at my buddy Jim did we score. He said we just won the  f…. game and we are the champions, we hugged each other like we had just got the best Christmas present ever. I then fell to my knees in exhaustion and I cried like a baby. We were champions. I was a champion. I truly had nothing left that day. I was empty from a physical standpoint but I felt like something I never had in my life.

That group of men is the greatest group of men I have ever spent time with. Nothing could take away what we did that day or what they meant to me that year. 19 years later we didn’t miss a beat except I was drinking tea, and I have less hair. That was my band of brothers. We who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

Thanks for reading








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