Mrs. CALumbus Bear and I went to the Collegiate Rugby Sevens Invitiational this weekend because (1) Cal was attending and (2) it was in Columbus, known as one of the world's best and most awesomest cities, albeit with too few Cal Bears. Neither the missus nor yours truly is a rugby expert, but we couldn't miss this chance to see our reigning (and 25 times out of the last 31) National Champions. The action kicked off on Friday night, where we kicked things off against Harvard as we see below.
The guy kicking is All American Keegan Englebrecht. I was sitting right next to his family. His father is originally from South Africa, and they live in Texas (Dallas, I believe). Nice folks and really dedicated to their Senior Son, who, by the way, is one hell of a rugby player. He also has the best boot in the entire tourney field. On a day when all kicks were dropkicked (exceptionally difficult), he stood head and shoulders above the rest. He took every kickoff and every conversion attempt, and he did remarkably well.
About Hahvahd. The first thing I noticed was an air of aloofness among the Harvardians, and some sort of affected upper-crust accent. Things overheard: "I say, I do believe we're going to get our heinies pummelled. Be a good sport and hold my ascot for me, Biff." And the pummelling of heinies is just what happened. First there was some of this:
I've got what you want, but I'm gonna give it to one of us, not one of you
Then a little bit of this:
my dust: eat it
Then even more of that:
more dust to be eaten
Then there was a whole bunch of this:
some serious hahvahd ahhss kickin
There's Keegan Englebrecht, making one of his 13 bazillion conversions. It sure didn't hurt that most of the trys were right down the middle so he had a great angle.
Side note: a Kiwi and a South African (both au pairs who wanted to watch some rugby "just like 'ome") were sitting right behind us, and the entire tourney they were saying things like "that was poor" and "this is terrible" and "why doesn't he run?". Apparently, they were used to a slightly higher caliber of play, and they weren't shy about mocking everyone on the field. Right before our game started, Mrs. CALumbus Bear, who is the master of tact, mentioned to the girls that they were right in front of the parents of one of the players, so they shouldn't say anything bad. The bunch of us (Keegan's parents included) all started chatting and the au pairs learned about Cal and our rugby tradition. They instantly became Cal fans and rooted for us for the remainder of the tournament. Good on ya, Kiwi and Afrikaan ladies!
Back to the game. We were doing so well that Jack Clark, the most interesting man in the world, had a bit of a party out on the pitch during halftime.
Jack says: after we kill them, we will feast on their bones
One Harvardian wished he could be as cool as a Cal player, so he got Cal-baptized:
In the name of the Tedford, the Oski, and the Golden Bear
Our domination was so complete, our players were jumping for joy, like below:
Throw your hands in the air like you just don't care
After all this running, jumping and kicking, this was posted on the scoreboard:
Aww, you didn't score any points, but at least you didn't forfeit like stanfurd
But because Jack didn't train classless folks, the mighty Bears all congratulated the Harverders for not getting more severely injured and for keeping us limited to 42 points.
There better not be any spit in any of your hands!
And thus concluded Friday's match. There were many games that day, but no one played better than the Bears. And this Cal fan was quite happy to be able to watch his alma mater represent itself well in a national tournament.
Another side note: after the game, I went to the concession stand and some guy in a white shirt and a maroon hat said "Go Bears". I was a little startled, but I gave him a "Go Bears" back and asked if he was a Cal fan. He confirmed, whereupon I mentioned his hat was the wrong color. He indicated he went to Harvard but he grew up in Berkeley and his father taught at Cal. In a fit of classiness, I said "oh, your father must have been terribly disappointed." I'm not sure he got the joke. But I didn't regret saying it! Either way he was a cool dude who was pulling for Cal just slightly less than he was pulling for Harvard. His tiny grandson even yelled "Go Bears" every time he saw me or Mrs. CALumbus Bear for the remainder of the tourney.
I will sign off for now and hopefully post pics of Sundays games at a later time (I missed all of Saturday due to weather and other events). But here's one FANTASTIC Sunday pic that I'm sure you will all enjoy. After one of the games, I noticed our team was hanging out in the stands and watching a match. When the match ended, I wandered down and congratulated the team on their National Championship. I also asked if they wouldn't mind having a picture taken and posted on California Golden Blogs. Here is the result of that request:
Cal Rugby Great!
What a great team and a great bunch of guys. Best wishes to the Seniors, and Roll On You Bears!