Sunday, May 9, 2010

Overlords RFC, Part Three

I put a call into Rich McCue. We had been friendly with Rich, his wife Heather, and their kids for a couple of years. We had played hockey with them a few times, so I thought they might be game for a rugby adventure. Fortunately, they were, and we scheduled a touch rugby game for the following week.

So far, the kids had been pretty excited about the idea. This was as surprising as it was gratifying to me, since none but two had ever shown any interest at all in rugby. Maybe they felt the low morale, too; and maybe the idea of a new adventure that we would all be embarking on, and the alter-ego element, the opportunity for totems and colours and all those things, and maybe even a kind of small-scale glory, appealed to them the same way they did to me at that moment. T-Bone and A-Roq were already interested in Norse and continental mythology, and were quite into fantasy video games, often with a martial element. They began coming up with a mock mythology for our alter-egos almost immediately. Sno-cone, six at the time, came up with a stirring riff on the piano one day, which we immediately adopted as our battle theme. The little girls, for their part, seemed very keen on dressing up in the navy and blue family jerseys, with the matching shorts and socks. We even began brainstorming for an official logo and motto. We came up with a logo - an upright oval with a simple half-cross in the upper half - and tossed around the motto "Break or Be Broken" for a few days, before concluding one day, amongst a few chuckles, that it was too intense for playing touch rugby with a bunch of little kids (we finally settled on "Together We Rise").

Anyway, we hit the local elementary school field a couple of times for practices, and when our debut game came that Sunday, we were ready. We laid out the boundary cones, went over some rules with the McCues, and the fun began. I must say it was disconcertingly tiring. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't even breathe after two minutes. Rich is something of an athlete already, and does triathlon training. I thought I was in pretty good shape, but the continuous process of stopping, accelerating as fast as possible, slowing, accelerating again, stopping, leaping, etc., really destroyed me. Rich zipped past me more times than I'd care to admit.

Despite my exhaustion, we managed to eke out a victory, and our amiable rivalry had begun. Almost immediately, our weekly games became the family highlight of the week, and I was thrilled that the kids talked about it so often, and even wanted to go out and practice during the week. I wondered sometimes how many sixteen year old boys were keen on going out a couple of times each week to run rugby drills with their little brothers and sisters. Everyone was excited and it all seemed to be working better than I had dared hope. Kids started tossing rugby balls around in the house and in the yard ("we need to practice again, our game's only in two days!"), and two even asked if they could wear their Overlords RFC jerseys to school. It seemed like magic.

The seven of us: A-Roq, T-Bone, Skinny Dip, Lady Lu, Red Bear, Sno-cone, and myself so far comprised the team (Trixta had only just turned three, and J-Dawg, the oldest, was more focused on doing musical demos at the time). We would have had an awesome time for the rest of the summer just us, but Overlords RFC got an injection of new excitement when an unexpected addition to our playing side showed up one day...

To be continued.

2 comments:

Jewelz said...

I've been actively looking for ways to create unity among my children, with a fourteen year age difference between the oldest and youngest. My seventeen year old leaves for college in a year and a half, so I have felt the time ticking away with her. I'm hooked on your family team story – looking forward to the next part!

Lisa said...

and the unexpected addition was?...