The attention of the sporting world will NOT be focused on Concordia College this weekend, or in these United States of America. (Gasp!) Think bigger—literally, picture some behemoth of a man with arms the size of small children, bulging shoulder and neck muscles, a barrel chest and tree trunk-like legs. Now, keep picturing this man: what’s he wearing? That’s right, a size-medium jersey and shorts to accentuate those muscles, cleats and sometimes a funny hat-thing to protect…his ears? OK, one more question: who looks like this? No, it’s not the Concordia wrestling team—kind of close, but no cigar. Those are rugby players. And that attention-capturing event is the continuation and culmination of the Rugby World Cup. That’s right; it’s an “Invictus” kind of thing!
Since Sept. 9, sixteen national teams (including the United States) have tried smashing and mashing their way to a world championship. Now, just four remain—Wales, France, Australia and New Zealand—and it’s sort of a big deal in many countries.
But why does it matter here? Rugby is the new soccer of America: a globally-recognized sport finally gaining popularity in the U.S., with the cutting of Concordia men’s rugby club aside. (Insert the awkward silence of former Concordia men’s rugby players here.) So, people need to be up-to-date on exactly what kind of sport this is. That’s where this column comes in, being written by an expert on pretending to understand things.
Let’s start with the basics. The object of rugby is to score points at the expense of the other team. One does this by running an over-inflated, oval-shaped ball to the opposite side of the field, sort of like in American football. One can also score by kicking the ball through two tall pole structures that are on each side of the field, or maybe that’s still American football… Anyway, each game or possession or something starts with a gigantic group hug. The point of this group hug is to gain possession of the ball, or perhaps just to build camaraderie. Once in possession, the offensive team tries to score while the defensive team tries to defend. People run, get tackled, get back up, run, toss the ball, group hug, tackle and score until the game ends. At least that’s the gist of it; there is no need confuse anyone by getting too technical.
But of course everyone is ready for rugby now. So wise up, Cobbers. Jump on the national bandwagon. And how about this: rugby is important in many parts of the world, and as globally-engaged students it should be important to Cobbers, too. BREW, for crying out loud! Turn on the telly this weekend and tune in to King Kong-sized men hitting each other senseless the way it should be done: without pads. Enjoy and cheers, all!
Bobby Brunhuber is a sophomore from Backus, Minn. studying English-Writing and Global Studies, with minors in Sociology and Spanish. He is a Sports Writer for the 2010-2011 Concordian. Bobby’s idol is Indiana Jones. He is an avid soccer fan, has an irrational fear of snakes, and an irrational obsession with LOST.