19 April 2005

Mandatory Rugby Service?

It is time to reinstate the draft! Our little US Rugby community is on the verge of reaching great new heights OR riding that slide-slide-slippedy-slide into a grand facade of mediocrity. On one hand, new youth programs are springing up faster than McDonalds can turn us into real life Grimaces. The mud of spring has given rise to extremely positive and promising growth of the youth game. We have prayed to our chosen god, we have followed the path to enlightenment, and we have even rubbed Buddha's belly for luck. Now that Nirvana is within our reach, why am I worried? Sit right back. The TPS reports can wait for a few minutes.

First problem, while the numbers for the youth game grow and grow, club and college rugby seem to be receding like my distinguished hairline. I am not too worried because if we keep growing the game the numbers in college & club should maintain. Future ramblings should look into player retention, but we need to stay focused. So, here is the big one. Who are those blessed Archangels of youth rugby? For the most part they are the same seven guys who have been running and toiling over “the club” for the past million years. I know the “M.O.” on this cast of gluttons, because I am one of them. It seems like every few months I step up and volunteer myself for another rugby improving task. Heck, I volunteer so often that my little sweet rugby widow has no clue what I have agreed to next. Every one of you can rattle of names of the magnificent seven that are running your club as well as the new youth programs around town. It is just a matter of time before the drive and desire of these super volunteers gives out. It is the circle of life.

So what are we to do? The rugby giant is awakening and we need to show the world just how strong he can be.

Time for the pitch! Make it to your fourth year of rugby; you will then be required to give back one year of volunteer rugby service. Every two years after that, you owe us another year. This miraculous transition into a world rugby power will fail without more help. Please keep in mind we need the help at all levels. A million high school players will mean nothing without clubs to matriculate to. I know it sounds cliché, but take every bit of joy that rugby has given you and just give 10% of that joy back. Your mommy would be proud and better yet it would get me out of the doghouse, that my rugby widow put me in years ago!

Pat Laczkowski
Front Row Outfitters