Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I Hate Losing

My rugby team had been a roll for most of the last ten months or so, before losing to the Syracuse Chargers in the Four Leaf Fifteens Tournament we hadn't lost a game in almost a year.  This past Saturday was the first round of the MARFU playoffs, we played the defending MARFU champions Harrisburg RFC.
[rant]Now I have to pause to have a little rant here about how much our union (the PRU) sucks ass.  For years now, the PRU has promised to help procure practice and game fields for DC based teams and has consistently reneged on that promise.  The PRU even went so far as to create a new position of Grounds Director or some shit like that, but all that did was allow the Super League teams to steal the good practice fields that were found in DC from teams in lower divisions.  Even that wasn't that big of a deal because we were able to go out and cultivate a relationship with a rec center and now we have a practice field that can't be stolen from us. 
The problem is with game fields, specifically when the PRU declared the fields at Kenilworth Park unplayable a couple of years ago.  That would have been OK too, if the PRU had put any kind of resources into either rehabilitating the fields there or found some alternative place for DC based teams to play.  Naturally, they did neither of those things and each team had to scramble on its own to find somewhere to play their games.  When you see kickball dorks or various soccer leagues playing in the area, those individual teams aren't out beating the bushes to find a playing field; their league takes care of all of that for them and I have to wonder why can't the PRU do the same for us?  We pay those jerkoffs a lot of money every year for next to nothing.  In closing, fuck the PRU!!! [/rant]
So after a lot of drama about where we were going to play, we finally were able to borrow Western Suburbs field for this past weekend's playoff game.  Harrisburg didn't travel as strong as I thought they would, I think they only had 18 or 19 guys dressed, but that didn't keep them from laying the wood to us.  We're not used to getting smacked around, we do the smacking around; we're a big, physical team that is used to imposing our will on our opponents.  Unfortunately, when we ran into a team that we couldn't just shove around, we didn't do a good job of adjusting our game plan.  Harrisburg scored in the first five minutes and then scored again about 15 minutes later to go up 14-0. 
On the ensuing kickoff, HRFC didn't field the kick cleanly and our big men charged on like a pack of rabid bulls, fly-hacked the ball into the in-goal area where Alabama Sam touched the ball down for a try.  Momentum was swinging back in our favor and we were able to keep the ball in HRFC's half until we forced a penalty and Bible put up another 3 points to make the score 14-8 going into the half. 
We subbed in Little John for Dain at the half at hooker which definitely gave us a boost.  About ten minutes into the half Skip decided to sub in Sharp for Pete the Rock, but I think PTR's game is a little more dynamic than my own and took myself out instead.  Ego and pride reared their ugly heads, but I had to put team goals in front of what was going to make me feel good.  Sharp played well with fresh legs, he made about a half dozen tackles and seemed to be everywhere for the 30 minutes he was in the game but it didn't matter.  We couldn't ring the bell again as HRFC converted a penalty kick and then scored a try to ice the game with about five minutes left for a final score of 22-8. 
HRFC played well, but we could have and should have beat them.  It's been a long time since losing a game has stuck in my craw like this, I didn't want to win this game for myself but I wanted to win for Skip and for Coach Kruger.  They've put so much of themselves into this thing that I really feel like we've let them down by not winning on Saturday.