Monday, 21 April 2008

Are we Olde yet?

There's been an interesting discussion over on the World Masters Rugby Group recently.

It started with a report, penned by one Ray Karenas of the Chicago Grey Lions, of a recent encounter between his team and local rivals the Chicago Griffins Old Boys.

Ray starts his report with a comment that I too been forced to make after each of my performances this season, to the effect that the opposition's team "were younger and fitter than ours." Does every veteran rugby player feel like this I wonder?

Ray goes on to describe how he then injured his shoulder in attempting a tackle...

"That’s right, a tackle, in an old boy game. Typically, the Mexican Bullfighter Defense is the standard mode of play, you know, “OlĂ©” is called out as the opposite back is running by you. But these are the Griffins, so when a good hit is made available you take it...

"...after three steps Simon launches a kick to touch! The ball falls short of the line but bounces high up in the air! This is not so bad as the opposite wing is now waiting for the rock to drop into his waiting grasp. Karenas times his hit just as the ball is tucked and the wing turns his hip to run upfield. The combined grunt and snap, crackle, pop of his shoulder dropped both players immediately, with only the opposite winger getting back up.

"Prognosis, rotator cuff possible muscle damage which will be identified by a further MRI. X-Rays did not show any broken bones or fracture up in the shoulder which may have been a better result. He knew it was serious when he could not lift the beer up to his lips, but remarked, 'I do have another one I can use'."

Ouch. Sounds painful - but rather than elicit outpourings of sympathy, Ray's report appears to have set off a chain of messages, under the heading "Are we Olde yet?" detailing how long various members of the group have been playing and the various injuries that have been picked picked up along the way.

The bottom line is that there are some seriously old buggers still playing the game! The two oldest contributors who still turn out regularly appear to be a certain Joe Wilson, who at 63 has just played his 41st alumni match against his old university, and Alan Frener, who first played in 1957 and is still playing every week for Salisbury RFC at the age of 62. As he says , "Everyone keeps asking how much longer can I keep going. My stock answer is until something falls off!"

The litany of injuries is pretty impressive too. For the record, my own injury history includes a broken hand, broken thumb, broken collar bone and torn ankle ligaments, but is nowhere near as impressive a collection as that owned by "Dr. D" of the Pelidactyls team in Tampa, Florida:

"I've had two knee operations, 2 teeth knocked out (yes -you dentists, that's with a mouthpiece in place), and 2 shoulders separated.

"I tell folks that as soon as I suffer a major injury, I'll quit playing rugby.

"When's kick-off?"


Nursedude said...

Flanker, this geriatric rugby is catching. My 48 year old brother(turns 49 in September) told me today he wants to play with Metropolis this fall season. He has seen how much fun I have had with it, and wants to join in on the fun too. It could be interesting. Back in our youth, he was captain of our American Football team(he was a linebacker) and was4th in the state of Minnesota in wrestling. He is one of these disgusting people who is a natural athlete. Will keep you posted

Total Flanker said...

A natural athlete? Better keep him out of the tight 5 then! :)

Caroline O'Hagan said...

more appropriately, Alan Freners answer should be "Until I am thrown in Jail for fraud" which is exactly where he is right now. He's my uncle, so I can say that.

Anonymous said...

Shame Alan Frener is a liar and a con man. He is banged up inside prison for fraud...which is exactly where he should be. Alan Frener is theif and should not ne allowed any where near children.