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Monday, August 17, 2015

Sharkapalooza Over 40 Rugby Tournament: Friends, Heat...and Stiff Muscles

Being a Navajo Oreo with my good friends Timaris and Chee Montano
This past weekend, I had a chance to get a run in and play some rugby at the Sharkapalooza over 40 Rugby Tournament. I first played at this tournament in Newport Beach, California 3 years ago with Pasasena's old boys. It was a great time. (Even though we lost both of our games)

This time, Pasasdena could not get a team fielded to play at Sharkapalooza, but my friend Peter Nguyen, who is an old boy with the Huntington Beach RFC said they could use a spare prop, so I decided to play.

With temperatures well over 90 degrees(32 celsius), it was a good thing that Huntington Beach had a deep roster. We had 3 full sets of props where we were able to do ice hockey style substitutions on the fly to keep everybody fresh. We lost a tough first game on a late Penalty to Las Vegas, 3-0, but we ended up beating Old Southwest(I was able to catch up with my good friend Chee Montano and his charming bride Timaris) 7-0, and then we beat the Las Vegas Irish by a couple of tries to take the plate.

One of the great things with the Sharkapalooza Tournament(Run by the Back Bay RFC) is that not only is the pitch ringed by palm trees and is just a gorgious venue, but it is about 200 yards from the Pacific Ocean, which felt really good and refreshing to take a dip in after the rugby was done to cool off.

After the rugby was done, my wife and I were able to go grab some fantastic Korean food with Chee and Timaris. Living in Gallup, New Mexico, it is hard to get authentic Asian food of any kind, so they really enjoyed the Korean fare in Costa Mesa.

I still am pretty sore from the weekend as I write this...but I do so with a smile on my face. The game of rugby is fantastic, but I am always amazed at what nice people are involved with this sport.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Good Bye Buddha the Bulldog

Back in 2006, it was a watersshed year for me: I made it to Australia, I started playing rugby, and I bought my first bulldog. A brindled puppy named Buddha. He was very popular at rugby matches-what can I say, he loved the ladies. He grew up to be 80 pounds of love- a much adored dog every where we went. He was great with my grandson Duncan when he was a baby and toddler back at our house in Minnesota. While I was working as a travel nurse in Texas, Delaware and New Mexico, he was huge piece of mind for my wife.

Well, two weeks ago puppy heaven got a bulldog. Buddha died in his sleep at the age of 9. 

I had to share my favorite picture of him. My wife squeezed a referee jersey on him and put a rugby ball in front of him. 

Buddha just loved my grandson Duncan..and it was pretty mutual.
RIP big guy...
Buddha the Bulldog back in 2012

Monday, February 16, 2015

2015 Vegas 7's: Flying Fiji Wins it with Style Points.

My buddy Tom and I made it in the Las Vegas on Friday afternoon, so we missed the Friday Matches, but we got a good start on Saturday to get over to catch the action. In the earlier round games, the Fijiians were flying high and looking unstoppable.
Fiji was head and shoulders above everybody in Las Vegas.
Canada and New Zealand both looked like they might have something to say as well, but the host country Americans played some really good rugby to draw 19-19 with South Africa, combined with two earlier wins, it set up a quarterfinal on Saturday night against the Auld Enemy from the North.
The Blitzbokke eating Fijian Dust...
Canada has kind of owned the USA in Sevens the last couple of years, so imagine the surprise when the US took advantage of two early scores against the Canucks, but they did not let their foot off the gas pedal in a 20-0 win, which set up the Sunday semifinals of Fiji-South Africa and New Zealand against the surprising Yanks.  Fiji dominate South Africa and New Zealand came back from a 5-0 deficit to storm past the USA, 26-12. South Africa played with a great deal of intensity and purpose to teach the Americans a lesson 31-0.
South Africa scores against the USA.

This meant that Fiji and New Zealand, two rugby rich countries in the sevens game, yet had never won the USA leg of the Sevens Series, would face off in the final. Fiji showed the power, pace and crowd pleasing panache in taking a large lead over the Kiwis. New Zealand
New Zealand Scores against the USA in the Semifinals.
would score a couple of late tries to make the score, 35-19-but this game was never in doubt to the fans of Fiji, who showed in very large and vocal number to wave the flag for their winning side.
Fiji fans rejoice!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Off to the Vegas Sevens....

My buddy Tom Daniels and I all set with our Kilts for the Vegas  Sevens...
I initially was not going to go this year's Vegas 7's because my wife and I really need to save money for our trip to the UK for touring Scotland and catching Scotland and Samoa play each other at St. James' Park in Newcastle, England. Then word came that the North American leg of the Sevens tour will move next year from Las Vegas to Vancouver, British Columbia. After talking this over with my buddy Tom, we decided that we had to make it to Las Vegas for one last time to see the Sevens series, which is about a 4 hour drive from where I live in Los Angeles.