May 27, 2002

Good EEEvening Fellow Ruggers,

Welcome to the Case of the Black Rugby Widow Spider. The names have been changed to protect the somewhat innocent. Any resemblance to a real-life person, or persons, is merely coincidental. The following story is based on a composite of several case studies and is not intended to represent one particular Black Rugby Widow Spider or their victim(s). Before we get into the lurid details, we must first outline the players in this melancholy rugby drama.

- Rugby Player: fun, good-natured, trustworthy, obedient, competitive, loyal, dependable and, mostly, honest person, who enjoys getting out there and mixing it up every Saturday with his/her mates.
- Rugby Widow: fun, good-natured, trustworthy, obedient, loyal, dependable and, mostly, honest person, who allows their spouse the opportunity to go out and mix it up every Saturday with his/her mates.
- Black Rugby Widow Spider: conniving, cold-hearted, un-trustworthy, un-sympathetic, un, un, un (you get the idea.) person who will stop at nothing to prevent their spouse from mixing it up every Saturday with his/her mates.
- 'Mates: no description available (remember, a 'mate's always there to commiserate with - they may have their own Black Rugby Widow Spider)
- Divorce Attorney: no description necessary
- Clergy: no description necessary
- Mother-In-Law: no description wanted

Take a Rugby player who has been playing since his late teens, goes through college, joins the local club and merrily plays Rugby week in and week out for ten years or more. Then, enter the Rugby Girlfriend. Everybody is extremely excited for Rugby Player X because they thought he'd never settle down. Rugby Girlfriend is sweet, a little bit shy, but very tolerant of Rugby Player X's habitual Rugby habit. Then, the inevitable happens. The Rugby 'mates get an announcement in the mail. Player X is having a bachelor party preceding his impending nuptials to Rugby Girlfriend. All of the 'mates rejoice with glee. Remembering full well that "what goes on, on tour, stays on tour" the bachelor party was "just ok." With the big day having come and gone, we then have the wedding. All of the 'mates put on their Sunday best, shine up their black eyes and pretend to be adults for, at least, an afternoon. Rugby Player X performs his best uncomfortable, shy, Charlie Chaplin routine - rocking back and forth, knowing that something is amiss. Did we mention that this wedding took place on a Saturday afternoon in October? (It was probably the only date available at the Church.

Jump forward to the spring season. Married Player X pulls out the moldy boots and trots off to the first outdoor training of the season. What used to be a late night at the bar has turned into "I'd better get going, or the Little Missus will be wondering where I am." It's at this point in our story that the Rugby Widow gets bit by a toxic, mutant spider that mysteriously turns her into THE BLACK RUGBY WIDOW SPIDER (BRWS.) Married Rugby Player X slips quietly into bed as BRWS creeps further away, with her back turned to him. In her head, she's spinning a web of future Rugby destroying action. It may not happen the first Saturday, but for sure, as the season progresses, she'll get a hold of the schedule and start planning couple activities for a Saturday here or there. Tuesday and Thursday night will become the pinnacle of their activity time together - something always planned. Slowly, but surely, these convenient plans will interfere with Player X's Rugby activity. If Player X makes a stand, BRWS slides further away on the bed. I think you see the road that our victim is headed down. Flash forward a few painful months and Rugby Player X disappears, never to be seen at the pitch again.

What is, poor, Married Player X to do? One has to wonder, what makes a sweet, understanding, Rugby Widow turn into a BRWS? Could it, by any chance, in some misshapen way be the fault of Rugby Player X? We all know that it's probably not possible, but let's, for argument's sake, assume that he is, somewhat, to blame. Here are a couple of suggestions for finding the mystical anecdote. First, and foremost, besides Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, show an interest in the BRWS's hobbies and leisure activities. Help her in the garden, spend an afternoon at the mall (without protest), take her out dancing. If you have kiddies, stay home with them and let HER have an afternoon out. The bottom line on this one, mates, is that if you want to play, you've got to pay - and I'm not just talking about dues (you're welcome administrators.)

Try to make Saturdays into a social event. Introduce your spouse to the other Rugby Widows. In most cases, this will work in your favor but be careful here. If your spouse is a lost cause, her toxic venom could spread to the other Rugby Widows and before you know it, you have arachnophobia all over the place and your own teammates will be putting the boots to you.

Don't watch Rugby during Prime Time. If you're blessed enough to have a game on TV, then tape it and watch it another time. If you go to a Rugby Party with your Rugby Widow, outside of the game, try not to just stand in the garage socializing with the other rugby players, talking only rugby. Take an interest in what she is talking about. If she's fully engaged with the other Rugby Widows, then feel free to talk all the Rugby you want.

Let's face it. At one point or another, the BRWS can come out in all of our significant others. Finding the harmony between the two things that you love (the sport and your significant other) is worth the effort.


Pat Laczkowski
Knockout Sportswear

One more thing - if I was too hard on the BRWS's of the world, I apologize sincerely. The above was meant for humor and entertainment but there was some truth to it as well. I, personally, believe that we can all co-exist with a little effort from both sides.