The Tigers held their end of the year party at Central BBQ on Summer and had a grand time. Following a great dinner of the best Memphis pulled pork, beans and slaw, the honors started with the remaining Tiger accomplishments for the season.
Then we honored the graduating players. Each of these players have completed their collegiate rugby eligibility at Memphis and all contributed mightily to the fabric of our team. We are a better club from having their influence on and off the pitch.
We started off with Chris Cobb. He played second row and flanker… and was strong enough that I had often him prop in practice. With his football background, he was always tough in the ruck, usually winning the ball. He was a steady defender and crushing tackler. He dominated loose play… no one wanted to get in his way. He was elected club as treasurer, served on the Executive Committee and received his Tiger Badge award in 2011. Thanks so much Chris.
Justin Walden was the perfect 13. He could give and take licks without problem. When he ran the ball he was forward leaning and tough to handle. He read the defense well and was quick enough to manage the outside run. In the last match he played as a Tiger he scored on a 1-3 switch, running hard against the grain and crashing over the try line. This was a signature run that we have seen many times. In honor of Justin, we will now call the 1-3 switch the “Walden” as a reminder of how it is supposed to be done. Justin served as team captain, organized the Pitch-a-Tent 7’s team this summer, and achieved his “Tiger Badge” award in 2011. Thanks Justin.
Ryan Phillips was one of the first fellows that I met when I was hired to coach the team. He was a consistent help to me and often assisted with practice organization. He was quiet, but tough as nails and always unselfish. He mainly played second row, but could step up to prop because of his superior upper body strength. When he ran the ball he was unstoppable. (He scored the first try of the senior game by running over three players.) Ryan served as team captain and was awarded his Tiger Badge in 2011. Thanks Ryan.
Joshua Campbell brought knowledge to the pitch that will be hard to replace as we go forward. He had the uncanny ability to quickly assess the defense and exploit their weaknesses. His field vision along with his strong upper body made him the most prolific scorer in the forwards. He spent most of his time at wing forward, but could stand 8 or fly half if need be. He was deadly accurate for set kicks within 35 meters. In essence, he was a coach on the field. He served as team captain, was elected treasurer, and served on the Executive Committee. He received his “Tiger Badge” award in 2011. Thanks Joshua.
Following the awards and accolades, the graduates revealed themselves to also be justices for the Supreme Kangaroo Court. While court was in session, charges were filed against selected players and coaches. Prosecutors were called up to make the case against the offender. The Judges would either make an independent judgment or appeal to the audience. (One hasty opinion turned on Justice Walden and the crowd found him guilty.) I was successfully prosecuted for running the forwards too hard. (I didn’t know you could run the forwards too hard. Ha!) Many Tigers were successfully prosecuted and there was proper punishment meted out. I believe the only tiger who was acquitted was Kasra. He was amazingly quick witted in his defense… and his rye comments swayed the jury. It was way too much fun.
I presented the vision for the 2013 spring season where we fully intend to be in contention for the top of the north division of the SIRC. To achieve that goal, Tigers have a lot to accomplish. The winter training schedule was distributed. A copy is available at the U of M Official 15’s Facebook Group. Though this training schedule is a Tiger Rugby product, it can be used liberally by anyone who wants to get into rugby fitness in six weeks. If you need a copy, contact me.
(Commercial break – For the spring season we need to raise money. We are about $3,000 short of our budget and that is with leaving the dues at $250 per player. ($250 is a deal when you consider that covers travel cost, kit and all matches.) Even though $250 is a value, this figure is a lot for students to come up with. All donations to Tiger Rugby are appreciated. Please see the “donate page” if you wish to contribute. Thanks to all who freely give. We’ll send you some swag.)
The new graduates were provided Tiger Rugby Mugs which shall never run dry when they bring them to the home parties and club socials. They were given plaques outlining their graduate status and the “Book of Man”, by Bill Bennett, which is a collection of stories, vignettes, and literature excerpts encouraging the better attributes of manhood. Players signed the books, often on pages that had meaning to them. Kian signed the section with Shakespeare’s St. Chrispen’s Day speech.
Here is his Kian’s favorite section of that speech, “We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today that sheds his blood with me shall be my brother;”
To end the day, Justin, cheerleader for the past two years led the lads in one more cheer.
Tiger Rugby rolls forward.