Forget the World Cup, forget England’s so-called Twickenham renaissance today, the real rugby is in fact taking place this weekend over the pond in New York State.
Considering that there’s now a fair to middling chance that I’ll be joining its ranks this season (at least if my body holds up to the rigours of pre-season training), I thought the very least I could do was pay attention to what’s going on in the world of Veterans rugby (or Old Boys rugby, or Golden Oldies rugby, as it’s often referred to).
So, as I write this, there are a bunch of ageing rugby fanatics who almost certainly should know better, dragging their tired limbs and flinging their frail bodies around the playing fields of the Can-Am Tournament in Saranac Lake, New York.
Considered one of the largest and best run rugby events in the world, the tournament was created in 1974 by the Mountaineers Rugby Club of Saranac Lake, New York and is now in its 34th year, the inaugural eight-team affair having mushroomed into a mid-summer tradition involving 100 teams and eight different divisions, including Women and Old Boys.
The tournament kicked off yesterday and will feature all-day play today and playoff matches tomorrow, culminating in the division championship finals.
The Old Boys event features three divisions: the Over-50s (now there’s a goal I should be aiming for) which features six teams, including Blackthorn who went undefeated in last year’s tournament; the Over-45s (for which I’m still a couple of years shy) in which White Plains will look to defend their 2006 Championship while the Mountaineer Old Boys (MOB) will attempt revenge for their loss in last years final; and the Over-40s – for young whippersnappers like myself – which features a nine team field that includes last year’s champions Myths and Legends as well as two touring sides, Halifax Old Boys and Turks & Caicos Islands RFC.
All I can say to all competing is good luck – and I’m sure that the local bars will have a VERY profitable weekend.