What Would Baron de Coubertin Have Said?

February 23, 2013

The motto that Baron de Coubertin advocated for the Olympics when he led the formation of the modern Olympic Committee in 1894 was “Citius, Altius, Fortius“, which translates to “Faster, Higher, Stronger”, a phrased he would use to describe the goal of the athletes in the modern Olympics.

Well, we’d have to change that phrase around a little to describe the comparison between the rugby players of Western Washington University and Central Washington University after the match that was played between the two teams, today, at Magnuson Park in Seattle.

Central won the inaugural Cascade Cup by beating Western 44 – 0, and, when asked his impression of the Central team as he walked off the field after the game, Western’s freshman 2nd row, Louie Henson, replied simply, “Bigger, Faster, Stronger”.  Or, as Baron de Coubertin might have said “Colossicus, Citius, Fortius”, which pretty much would say it all.

When Coach Paul Horne took over the program last spring, one of the goals he set was to have Western be competitive with programs like Central’s in three years.  And, while Western did not win today’s match, the way the Vikings played, competed, leads one to believe that Coach Horne will achieve his goal, and probably sooner rather than later.

But enough of the philosophical waxing about what could have been…  After Western’s Boatmen (2nd XV) got handled by Central’s 2nd XV by a score of a whole bunch to not very much, the rumbling on the sideline was, “Will the Vikings be able to stay on the field at all with these guys?”  That question was answered quickly when Central kicked off to Western to start the game and tested the Vikings early by taking possession of the ball and began working their way towards the Viking goal line.  Western’s defense stiffened and was able to get possession back and Quinton Willms, as he would do many times on the day, was able to kick the ball out of danger and give the Vikings some breathing room.

Central got their first try of the day a little over ten minutes into the match and converted to make it 7 – 0.  The score would stay that way until there were about 35 minutes gone in the first half and Central were able to push over another try, but miss the conversion, to make it 12 – 0 at the half.

And as the second half started, the Vikings were the ones pressuring the Wildcats, going down on the kick off to gain possession and put some pressure on Central.  But, as they would do all day, Central were able to work their way out of trouble and the game settled into the same sort of pattern that was typical in the first half:  Central using their massive forward pack to gain possession of the ball and then get the ball to their backs who were able to make good ground before Western stopped them.

Western could never seem to mount much offensive pressure during the game but did manage to make several nice breaks off after defensive stops.  Central were able to push across another try about ten minutes in to make the score 17 – 0, and then it was another ten minutes before they scored again at about the twenty-minute mark of the second half.

And after that try by Central at the twenty-minute mark, which made it 22 – 0, you could see a little of the resolve on Western’s part melt away for a little bit.  Central took advantage and scored again to make it 32 – 0, and after that the strength of Western’s character showed up again and the last ten minutes of the match was a repeat of most of the match, Central attacking and Western defending.

Central was able to push over another try with no time remaining to make the final score 44 – 0.

Western had many bright spots but were never able to put together any sustained attack to threaten Central consistently.  The Vikings were forced to defend almost constantly and gave Central several opportunities to attack with aimless and misplaced kicks that went right back to Central and played right into their attack strategy.

But again, as bad as the score was, the Western players experienced first hand what it is going to take to be able to be competitive at the next level.  Time in the weight room, time on the field in conditioning, and getting the players the knowledge and experience to challenge the Central’s of the rugby world.

“Colossicus, Citius, Fortius”