Game brings a punch to the
head and a tear in the eye
By Lon Matejczyk
Colorado Springs Business
Journal, June 6, 2008
punch to the head made a resounding “thonk.” The
blatant punch was directly in front of the most crowded section in the stands
and in front of the touch judge. The two players got into a wrestling match
coming out of a maul that had collapsed to a ruck.
the blazes is Matejczyk writing about this week?
spent the better part of last weekend at Glendale
Colorado’s Infinity Park,
home to the Raptors rugby club. I gave tours to people from the Springs and took my kids for a brilliant time of watching
the best sport in the world.
started American football and many say American basketball. It is rich in
tradition and has a camaraderie element like no other sport. Last weekend,
every time I turned around there was someone I knew from days gone by.
are rugby players around us right here in our
community that you probably don’t know about. I am outing them. Scott Hente, City Council; Scott Gray, Cornerstone Commercial
Realty; Ron Chernak, First Business Brokers; Terry
Storm, Pikes Peak Association of Realtors; Jay Patel, local activist; Vic Tise, Scientific Research Corp.; Amy Rusert,
Zeal Communications; Wayne Timura, Next Level; and
CSBJ columnist John Hazlehurst. These are just some the people who have come
forward and admitted it.
on these trips to Infinity Park there is someone watching the game near me that
wants to know more, and I willingly explain the sport, from its beginning as
the game played at Rugby school in England to its present status —
played in more than 120 countries and the world’s No. 2 played sport after
soccer. In the United States,
there are 75,000 members of USA Rugby, which is based in Boulder. There are about150,000
is said that rugby is a ruffians game played by gentlemen and soccer is a
gentlemen’s game played by ruffians. Look at the soccer riots, for instance. Rugby has a reputation for the “third half,” where the
home team puts on an event for the visiting team including dinner in most
instances. There are many rugby traditions including century-old songs that
have tended to be a tad off-color but can be extremely funny.
Infinity Park is the
first municipally owned rugby-only stadium in the United States and will be home to
the World Rugby Hall of Fame. Colorado has
made its own niche in the Rugby world. In
addition to USA Rugby based in Boulder,
there is the Aspen Ruggerfest’s reputation as the
nation’s most elite tournament. Men’s clubs such as the Denver Barbarians, the
Denver Highlanders and the Gentlemen of Aspen have been a part of the Rugby landscape since the 1960s and in the Eastern
Rockies Rugby Football Union since 1967.
younger in establishment, the Glendale’s
men’s and women’s teams are fast becoming known on the state and national
landscape, reports the Raptors Web site. The rugby played
last weekend at Infinity park was outstanding. The conference center,
rugby pub and work out facility are almost complete. ESPN and Fox Sports will
be airing last weekend’s games. You can find out more at www.glendalerugby.com
I was watching a game, a young boy about 8 years old came up to me and asked,
“Are you a rugby player?” I responded with “Kind of, I don’t play much
anymore.” This young boy then asked, “Can I have your autograph?” A tear came
to my eye as I signed his program, the world’s best sport and something I am
very passionate about has finally come of age in the United States. It has only taken
185 years. Have I mentioned we need a facility like Infinity Park
here in the Springs? It would not be just a rugby
stadium but a facility that could be used to benefit all kinds of sports and
people. It would help build community.
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