March 7, 2000

Salut Fellow Ruggers,

Well, since my last letter I have had to go into seclusion. Not since the likes of Salman Rushdie has an author been so hunted and persecuted for his thoughts. If you donít remember, or didnít receive my last letter, I put down some very polite and friendly suggestions for improving referees. Well, let me tell you, referees are certainly an intelligent, and well-written breed. That e-mail has been our most controversial to date.

This week, weíre going to try to tone it down a bit (the little lady can only take so many death threats.) This letter will also, probably, be a hodgepodge of mental secretions.

First off, belated congratulations to the Houston Area Rugby Club for winning the annual Galveston Mardi Gras tournament. Also, hats off to the Galveston Rugby Club for hosting such a wonderful tournament. There was ample, free, golden libation at the Saturday night tournament party.

I have a few comments on this monthís issue of Rugby (the one with the huge mug shot of Eagle Captain, Dan Lyle). I was reading about a new club model for the Denver Harlequins, RFC. Theyíre putting into action a plan that Iíve mentioned several times. They have combined their Division I Menís Club with a local Womenís Club, three High School Clubs, and also a Quad Wheelchair rugby club. By combining their individual forces, they are putting together the best elements of each of the clubs, and pooling their resources. The larger the group gets, the more power they will have.

Our best example in every community is the beloved Soccer Mom. I would say the best name for this plan would be the English Model, because clubs in long-standing rugby nations (like England) have used this very model for almost 150 years and it certainly seems to be working for them.

Also in this monthís Rugby, Iíd like to give due to Mark Rudolph, graduate of my Alma Mater and Executive Director of USARFU. Heís done something that the American Rugby populous has been crying for a long time. He finally published an accounting of where our CIPP dues go. Most American Rugby players thought that their CIPP dues went to fund Area 51, but alas, this is not true. Just looking at the Pie Charts, not only makes me hungry, but it makes me a bit confused. Iíll freely admit that I know nothing about running a national program, and I wouldnít even pretend to.

There are some revenue generating programs that could do better, such as merchandise sales, sponsorship programs, etcÖ For example, merchandise sales could be improved by seeking out other vendors to sell licensed merchandise. Can you count how many retail outlets used to sell Michael Jordan licensed apparel? On the expense pie, one suggestion would be to make almost all communication on-line. Just venturing a guess, I would say that 98% of American Rugby Leadership and contacts is currently on-line and in a couple of years, that number will rise. On-line communication is virtually free. I enjoy the Touch Line Newsletter that I receive a couple of times a year, but I can just as easily enjoy it on-line. Iím going to quit here because I have a vested interest in staying on the good side of USARFU and I think theyíve been doing a much better job as of late.

Please keep in mind that Iím not writing Satanic Verses, but rather trying to stir the proverbial pot that is American Rugby. If you agree or disagree with things that I say, you might just be motivated to do something about it. Usually, we all have the same goals in mind - waking that damn "sleeping giant."

Pat Laczkowski
Hooker Rugby Supply