God Bless Us Every One Fellow Ruggers,

Since September 11, I have learned something about myself. Being creative and being a good writer are very dependent upon my mood (which is not to infer that I am a good writer). On the morning of September 11, I sat down at the computer and merrily started my latest rant. As we all know the events of that morning, at 8:58 AM, I left the keyboard and haven't returned until now. Sure, I was able to get back to work. I even managed a few hours on the 11th - I have to eat, no question about that. As America has united, so have the people who have to be creative for a living. I've read articles where the authors expressed the same numbness and blank minds with an inability to put cohesive thoughts together. On the other hand, during this tragically imposed writer's block, I have been utterly amazed at the outpouring of words, thoughts and art that I have seen in the past two weeks. As we all probably know by now, a number of rugby players probably saved a lot of lives on the 11th. The actions and the courage of these players have re-inspired me - not only to help spread word of their stories but to move on and to restore my life to some sense of normalcy.

Over the upcoming months, we're going to see a lot of memorials and remembrances popping up all around. There is no shortage of them now. I've got a small example of how this tragedy is uniting people who normally would not be united. My little brother (who used to play in the MET Rugby Union) sent me a link that he never would have sent before. He used to play for White Plains RFC and the link he sent me was for Old Blue RFC (http://www.oldbluerfc.org). If you know the teams, you know that they are rivals, and don't care much for each other. At the time, he told me he couldn't believe he was doing it, but I had to check out this web site because they'd put up a beautiful memorial that gave mention to all of the rugby players that were killed or missing due to this attack. I've gone back to this site every day and, sadly, the list continues to grow. As of this morning, the list has reached 16 current or former rugby players. Like all of the horrible lists of the dead or missing, I'm sure it will continue to grow.

Two of these rugby players, who have made the national press, were on United Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania. An article from Sports Illustrated pretty much gives the short version of what we think happened on that flight.

Being as inundated with news footage as we have been, several times a day we hear more and more stories of heroism and courage. Obviously, the stories of Mark Bingham and Jeremy Glick have taken the forefront because their actions have been preserved for the world to see. I'm quite sure that the other 14 Ruggers on Old Blue's list exemplified the same attributes that rugby players worldwide display on a daily basis. I don't know how many times I've written about how rugby players are a breed apart from our fellow citizens. Our neighbors think we're missing a certain number of brain cells, but we know better. Now the world sees a little of what we've known all along. Mark, Jeremy and all of the other heroes of that day have made me feel a sense of pride in my rugby brethren that I have never felt before.

As most of you know, I never want to be redundant, but I call to arms our rugby family and ask you to reach deeply into your pockets and help support the charities that will help those affected by this tragedy. But, I can't stop there; I would like to see a member of each team in the country volunteer to take the post of "Charity Collector." This is not a great job, but somebody's got to do it. Collect as much money as you can and when you've got enough to make a worthwhile check, divide the amount in half. Give to one of the relief funds for this tragedy and give the other to the pre-existing charity of your choice (i.e.- the Leukemia Society, Breast Cancer Society, etc.) Let's not forget that there are many people in this country that need our financial support. If we're truly going to unite as a Rugby Community AND a Country, we have to support everyone that needs it.

Pat Laczkowski
Hooker Rugby Supply