January 7, 2000

Feliz Ano Nuevo Fellow Ruggers,

Well, the zeros are up there and weíre all still here, and since youíre reading this, I assume your Why 2K bug was just a giant hoax aimed at bilking companies and governments out of billions of dollars. Way to go you computer nerds! Isnít ironic that the same people who made the two-digit mistake got to fix everything and make even more money?!

Since we at Hooker Rugby have returned from our winter holiday, we have found a new wind in the air. Itís not one of those Saskatchewan screamers but a joyous, warm, tropical, southern wind. (That warms your heart doesnít it?)

What Iím referring to, in a roundabout way, is the large increase in popularity and discussion of youth rugby in the US. I was invited by Pat Walsh (director of U15 rugby) to join a youth discussion group and a common theme has come to light. It was sparked by an article in the recent issue of Rugby magazine that reported that USA Rugby was awarded a $180,000 grant by the IRB for development of youth programs in the US.

The question lies in what to do with the money?

So, with rapid-fire succession, every Pat, Jeff and Harry has asked for his or her two cents. I give the USARFU President, Ann Barry, a lot of credit. With her adept typing hand, she has responded to many of these e-mails. While I will be honest and say some of her comments have been political double speak, most of what she said was very positive, and I think that she will listen to the masses.

President Barry, the gauntlet has been thrown down. We want what soccer had in the 70's and 80's. The bottom line is, we want Rugby Moms to start kicking butt for their kids. The only thing that remains to be seen is if we, the US Rugby community, are willing to do our share.

I know that at Hooker Rugby, we are trying to do our part. We coach and sponsor a high school team, and if you look at our January specials, you might see a few that are geared toward the little ruggers.

If youíd like to be part of the youth discussion group, please contact Pat Walsh at walshpj@erols.com

Pat Laczkowski
Hooker Rugby Supply