Merhaba Fellow Ruggers,

HIS-STORY. For thousands of years, people have recorded what has happened, so that people will remember it in the future. I'm sorry, ladies, but for most of recorded time, history has been written from the male perspective. Many of you may know this already, but before this Happy Hooker started the crazy American dream of owning my own business, I was a High School History teacher. For the few students that were awake when I lectured, I was able to make a connection between the past and their lives in the future. Well, boys and girls, that's exactly what we're going to do today. So, sit back at your keyboards, keep the panic button close at hand, and try not to fall asleep.

It was a very hot steamy night in August of 1998. 14 players from Dallas, and 14 from Los Angeles, squared off to do battle in an arena that had never before been witness to rugby. These combatants participated in the very first Professional Indoor Arena Rugby in the US. Hooker Rugby was privileged enough to be the vendor at this prestigious event. So, I can tell you first hand, the approximate 3500 people that attended saw some pretty exciting action. I've coined the phrase that it was "Rock'em Sock'em Rugby." The promoters of that event were trying desperately to start a league at that time. For reasons unbeknownst to me, it did not work… end of story… or was it?

Accounts have been sporadic and sketchy. Rugby Union traditionalists have scoffed at the ugliness of the rugby that was played that night. The purists of our sport have gone on to say that if this league was to take hold, it would further cement the perception of rugby as a crazed, lunatic sport that Mothers would never let their children play. For the traditionalists, this is just another step in the degradation of rugby. Other arguments in their corner have been; lifting in the lineouts, the use of shoulder padding and scrum caps, and even the disappearance of ties on our socks. I've even heard, once, that William Webb Ellis would be rolling over in his grave if he saw Indoor Arena Rugby. As Sister Mary Elephant would say, SHUUUUT UUUUUUPP!! (thank you) Here comes your history lesson kids.

Rugby's foundations were built on anarchy. We all know the story - Sir William was bored one day while playing soccer (who wouldn't be?), so he picked up the ball and ran. From that point forward, every time someone has gotten tired of following someone else's rules, they've come up with a new game. Americans love to make a sport "American" even if it was invented in another country. That's just what is happening here. Looking further into the history of Rugby, the same thing has happened again and again. Rugby has mutated or changed altogether into several different sports that are around today; American Football, Hockey, Basketball, Rugby League, Australian Rules Football, Touch Rugby, and now Arena Rugby. I know that there are more, but you get the point.

Let's take a quick look at how the World Arena Rugby Federation could affect us, if the league starts up. We'll use the numbers from the 1998 game. If the average attendance is 3500 people per game, multiplied by 8 home games, equals 28,000 times 12 participating cities equals 336,000 people. That is just for one regular season of Professional Rugby. Those numbers are based on average attendance. After word of mouth does its magic, that number could easily double. So, the question is, has American Rugby ever captured that great of an audience with so few teams? As the saying goes, any exposure is good exposure.

For those who are concerned that Mommies won't let their little ones get involved in such a violent sport, we can look as close as our beloved American Football, Hockey, or even WWF wrestling. No matter how violent American professional sports get, it has never decreased participation in each sport's little league system. I included WWF wrestling because, even though it's meant for entertainment purposes only, little kids all over the country still participate in Youth Wrestling Programs. If kids in Youth Rugby Programs want to replicate what they've seen in indoor rugby, it's the Coach's responsibility to teach them the proper techniques for tag rugby. The same applies to ALL youth sports.

This concludes today's History lesson. You can now wake up and wipe the drool from your chins. If you're not doing anything Friday, August 25, 2000, and you happen to be in the Dallas area (or would like to make a special trip to steamy N. Texas), make plans to be at the re-match between the Dallas Outlaws and The Los Angeles Road Warriors as they vie for The Gold Cup 2000. I, the Happy Hooker, promise that you'll have a good time. Get your rugby buddies together and use the Arena Rugby game as a springboard for an outstanding Friday night.


Pat Laczkowski

Hooker Rugby Supply