Feliz Navidad Fellow Ruggers,

I'm sure you will be overjoyed to hear that this will be our last sale-o-gram/rant of this century. Isn't it amazing how the Y2K bug is such a faint memory? I will tell you this: rugby players do not age like fine wine, but rather like dogs. The cold, hard truth is that every chronological year is more like three for us ruggers. I know this concept is a hard pill to swallow, but let's be optimists and put a positive spin on this. Rugby players have great reasoning skills. They are more caring, intellectual, great role models, and all around great people. Having two kids has helped me see this Holiday Season through the eyes of a child (my oldest is 2-1/2). I cannot remember when I have looked more forward to Christmas time.

Something else has changed in me this year. I owe it to the advanced, holistic, synaptic, rotting/aging principle, or "Oh, Crap!" for short. Recently, my team (The Arlington Mavericks) were stretching for a Thursday night training in preparation for the toughest match of the season. Just before we were done, our President gave us the news that the starting flyhalf of the team we were going up against (Shreveport, RFC) had passed away the day after Thanksgiving. As if this weren't sad enough, we learned that he'd left behind a wife and three kids. This news really hit home. At the end of practice, our coach put it well when he said, "We have been given a gift. We have all found a sport that allows us to be better people. Without rugby, we would just be doing time on planet Earth." Well, the game came and both teams played with more emotion than I have ever seen on a pitch. Every player, to the man, let it all out for 80 minutes and they all did it for Slick (our fallen comrade).

As with every rant, there is a lesson to be learned here. Today's is a bit cliché, but effective nonetheless. Get out there and play every time you get the chance. Play every minute like it's your last. God, or Human Kind (if you don't believe in God), has given me two gifts; my family and rugby. As long as I can draw breath, I plan to enjoy both of them to the max. With God and William Webb Ellis as my witnesses, I will never take either for granted!

My Hooker Rugby Family would like to wish you and yours a safe and joyous Holiday Season. See you in 2001, a Rugby Odyssey!!!

Pat Laczkowski
Hooker Rugby Supply