My parents blessed me with a few amazing attributes (besides good looks). One of the gifts I value most is common sense. Over the past several weeks, I have been inundated with e-mails urging me to click over to the Washington Post web-site and vote on a survey for which sports should be added to the 2004 Olympics (DUH - rugby, of course!). With each e-mail filling my in-box, I would click on the link and proudly place my vote for rugby. As the voting progressed, so did the urgency of the cyber ruggers out there. It became quite clear that we had a battle on our hands. We had heated competition from the Gen-X conglomerate of Ultimate Frisbee. Quite honestly, I have no idea what Ultimate Frisbee is, but apparently it's very popular. Every time rugby would "snag the 'bee," Frisbee would make another resurgence. To make a short story long, a couple of days later the Frisbee dudes and the rugby aficionados were utterly shocked by the 7-10 split of US Bowlers who pulled ahead by an astounding 100,000 votes.
Getting back to the common sense thing, no matter what the endeavor is, after a crushing defeat (in this case at the hands of bowlers!?), the human psyche naturally pauses to reflect. First off, it was quite clear that a very computer literate bowler, named Chuck, rigged his web browser to allow him to vote hundreds of thousands of times. I suspect this to be the case because I grew up in Buffalo, New York where there are more bars and bowling alleys than people, and a great deal of the people that frequent them are not what you'd call computer literate (but I still love you, Dad). Upon further in-depth study of the cyber-survey defeat, I came to the realization that it really doesn't matter. Woodward and Bernstein would agree that, yes, the Washington Post is a very credible publication, but it probably won't have much effect on the next sport to be added to the 2004 Olympics. I feel fairly confident that ultimate Frisbee and Bowling don't really stand a chance.
Something I've preached about over and over again in these rants is the need for more involvement by our membership. Going down to the local pub and telling the barfly you're sitting next to about rugby is not exactly what I'm talking about. Nor is seeing how many times you can vote on a semi-meaningless Washington Post survey. Granted, I voted as many times as the next cyber rugger, but alas, I sit here and wonder if the 20 minutes of voting could have been better spent to help the greater good of rugby. To put it another way, please don't inundate me with e-mails bashing the fact that I don't embrace the validity of this survey.
All I ask of my rugby brethren is to take a few minutes of self-reflection (as I did.) Ask yourself: Is there something more productive that you can do with that 20 minutes of survey time to spread the word of the most incredible sport ever invented? For those of you wasting your company's time right now, let's look at a few different ways that you can "waste" 20 minutes a week (and I know that you already waste more than that).
1. Draft a quick letter to local newspapers, letting them know of upcoming club events or games. This can be done online.
2. Adding your team's web-site address to different search engines or adding your team's address to other team's links. The world wide web is all about intertwining information.
3. Spread the word of your club to international teams. Players are always looking for clubs to play with in the US.
4. Buy things from Hooker Rugby Supply (this is called subliminal advertising).
5. Research different companies that might be interested in sponsoring your local team.
6. Finally, a topic near and dear to my heart, lay the foundation for creating a Youth Rugby League in your local community. These a just a few ideas to chew on. It is fifteens time, so "Let's get ready to rumble!"
*&%$#*&! Since I wrote this article Ultimate Frisbee has retaken the lead by a very large margin. Sorry Ruggers. Just in case you want to keep voting here is the link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/polls/olyadd_survey.htm
Hooker Rugby Supply