Last Saturday was a brisk one on the turf field next to the Wade King Rec Center, clear skies, a steady northerly, it reminded one of February days gone by. But it was November and the weather was a welcome relief from the soaking we’d been getting the previous couple of weeks. It seemed like the area was putting on its Sunday best for the Parent’s Day celebration hosted by the WWU Men’s Rugby Club.
We had no idea how well attended Parent’s Day would be, with it being Veteran’s Day, the team WWU was supposed to play, Montana State, having pulled out of the scheduled match with the Vikings, and the Alumni Association and the school had just had a Parent’s Day a couple of weeks earlier. But the boys went on with it anyway, the first Parent’s Day celebration by the WWU Men’s Rugby Club in team history, the first one since 1955.
And what a great day it was. With Montana State having pulled out, the coaches decided to have an intra-squad scrimmage for both the 7’s and the 15’s teams. The 7’s led the day off and the boys, anticipating an invitation to the National Collegiate 7’s Tournament, went at it with a lot of vigor. The teams were split with rookies mixed with veterans to balance out the competitive juices and it was apparent as the game moved along that the 7’s team is not far off in their preparations for the Nationals. There were a couple of guys who didn’t compete, Matt Tiscornia and Nate Muir, both still hobbled by injuries, were forced to sit but everyone else had a great go.
Next up were the 15’s and again, the coaches split the squads into two, mixing rookies and veterans to get the best competitive mix. And given the number of boys on the team, the coaches decided to play three 25 minute periods to give everyone a chance to play and mix it up a little. At the end of each of the 25 minute periods, the coaches made changes to each of the squads, tweaking here and there to see how everyone fit together, and, at other times running guys in off the sideline to replace a player and then having a coaching opportunity on the sideline. The coaches also decided to sit out a few of the 7’s team key figures in anticipation of the getting one of the ‘at-large’ bids to the Nationals and not wanting to get those boys injured in what was a pretty spirited scrimmage. It was especially gratifying to see how far the guys with not much experience had come in the last 12 weeks, the progress is readily apparent and dramatic. Some of the new players have progressed quicker than others and are going to be challenging for position on the Viking squad in the spring.
It was fun to watch some of the parents and friends on the sidelines, especially those who hadn’t seen much of the game of rugby before. There was some hard-hitting going on and the parents didn’t know if they enjoyed seeing junior get bashed around like that. But all in all it was a great day on the field and when it was over the whole crew (over 100 people) headed to the VU where there was a catered meal waiting and people had a chance to rest, relax, and get to know each other a little better.
Paul Horne and Adam Roberts each gave a little talk about where the program had been, where it was, and where it was going, with the may theme being “Join Us On Our Way to The Top”. Captain Matt Jensen got up and said a few words about what the program had meant to him, we played the recruiting video that Coach Roberts and the boys had produced, and each of the boys got up and introduced their family and friends who were in attendance. And winning the ‘long drive’ contest were Jake Romano’s parents Mark and Ellen who came up from the Sonoma, California area. Actually, Mark and Ellen flew up so really, Quinton Willms mom, Joelle, who had driven down from Kelowna, BC, won the ‘long drive’ contest.
It was great so see all of the parents, friends, and family and we hope that the spring Parent’s Day, March 9th, when we will play Boise State University, will be as well attended. All in all a great event, a great day, a great rugby day.