Hasta Luego Fellow Ruggers,

Let me start off by saying thank you all for the overwhelming response to our liquidation sale. This is the very last e-mail that we'll be sending you from the surface of the sun, Texas. This is also the very last e-mail we'll be sending you as the proprietors of Hooker Rugby Supply. As our liquidation special kicked into gear, there was massive confusion as to where we were going and what we were doing. So, for a quick, simple reminder, Hooker Rugby Supply is merging with New Zealand-based, Knockout Sportswear. As hundreds of US teams know, Knockout Sportswear manufacturers what is, arguably, the finest rugby jersey in the world. As of May 1, Knockout Sportswear.com, LLC will begin operations based out of Buffalo, NY.

Before I go, I can't help but stir up a little muck. Today's rant, in the style that you've come to know and love will expose a scandal, the likes of which has not been seen since Ralph Nader's muckraking of the Corvair, or Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle," which exposed the unhealthy meat practices of the Chicago meat packing industry. Based on what I'm going to tell you, Division II Rugby in the US might never be the same again. Before I begin, I will freely admit that I do not have 100% of the facts. There are very few people in this imbroglio that know for sure the sequence of events that brought the following scandal about. The facts that I am completely sure of will shock and befuddle the every day Division II Rugby player who is, literally, out there for the love of the game with dreams and aspirations of winning the Division II crown.

The story begins 4 or 5 days before the 2001 Western Rugby Championships in Fort Worth. There was a forfeit or a penalty sanctioned on one of the Div I Men's team's that had been scheduled to compete. The Western Competition Committee contacted Dallas RFC to take that team's place. Initially, Dallas agreed and all was right. As the week wore on, Dallas RFC realized that they would not be able to get enough of their A-Side players together for the competition, so they did not show up for the match. In their defense, of course, they believed that their season was over a week and a half prior, and their players had scattered. Because they did not show up to play in the Western Championships, Dallas RFC was allowed to play their Div I schedule, but were NOT eligible for the 2002 Div I Championship Series. I don't know who is responsible for the next series of events but after the West's penalty was imposed on Dallas RFC, The Texas Rugby Union gave Dallas RFC the opportunity to play a Div I schedule, after which they received an automatic bid for the Div II Playoffs. Currently, Dallas RFC is 3-0 in the playoffs, easily winning all 3 matches by 20 points or more.

Note to readers: my team (The Arlington Mavericks) were the first victims of our cross-town Div I foes. Looking at this penalty that was imposed upon Dallas, one has to wonder who exactly was being penalized? Dallas has a fine Rugby team. They have often been on the verge of being an outstanding Div I team but have always had troubles getting out of the shadows of the Dallas Harlequins and Austin RFC. The bottom line is, they wouldn't have much of a chance to win the Div I crown. On the other hand, by working hard to survive a Div. I schedule and then moving down a division for the playoffs, they have a very good chance of winning a Div II crown. The most obvious question to ask your self is, "Who is being penalized?" If, by chance, Dallas wins a Div II crown, down the road when they tell people about their rugby career, they'll be able to say that they won a National Championship, nobody will ask what division they were in.

If I'm coming off sounding bitter, it's because I am, much like every other team that might lose to Dallas along the way. Dallas RFC just does not belong in the Div II playoffs - plain and simple. Now, there's no reason to blame the boys from Dallas. From the day they found out about the TRU's decision, they tried getting out of it. But, I'm sure that as these playoffs roll on, they'll accept their fate and, possibly, win their National Championship. And, I say, "good on them." As I move into the twilight of my career, not that there ever was a light of my career, I'll always remember the 2001-2002 season as what could have been if we had not been penalized for Dallas RFC missing the 2001 Div I Western Championships.

That's it. I'm done rucking in the muck. No more rants from Hooker Rugby Supply. Oh, but stay tuned for the rants coming from Knockout Sportswear!


Pat Laczkowski
Hooker Rugby Supply