I signed up to go to Vermont with the NYRC U19s as a coach/driver, which I was really excited about. A bunch of us met to pick up the 15 passenger vans early on Saturday morning before our Developmental game. However, because of paperwork issues etc, it took longer than we thought it would and a few of us had to rush down to Coney Island to make it to the game. I guess the combination of being late, warming up without my own gear, and not having breakfast doesn't work for me, because I'm pretty sure I played some of my worst rugby ever and I couldn't stop shaking. There were good moments (and we won 41-5), but I was holding onto the ball too long, kicking straight to opposing players, and missing conversions from dead centre. Ugh, bad news. I do really want to thank whoever (Maura?) made me the sweet kicking tee from the Dunkin Donuts cup though :)
Anyways, after the game we got the kids and headed upstate. The drive was gorgeous and so much fun--Mira and I had 12 high school boys and they were hilarious, singing along to random songs on the few radio stations in range in rural VT ("Quit Playing Games With my Heart" was particularly good) and starting a capella versions when all we could find was static (those boys did a great version of "Hit Me Baby One More time"!). There was also a great full-van dance party to Soulja Boy's "Crank That". The drive itself was good because it allowed me to clear my head of the game and focus on the road and on the beautiful foliage--now I understand why people do fall foliage tours! I thought the Princeton towpath was beautiful, but upstate NY and VT are another thing entirely...
On Sunday we ran a clinic for our U19s, a U19 boys team from Saranac, and the Southern Vermont College girls. AJ and I ran the kicking station, doing grubbers and up & unders, and then we had split backs/forwards to work on different skills. I think the clinic was great for the kids' development, and also for all of us coaches--I've never been able to grubber and after practicing it with the kids, it looks much better (though still not too pretty). It also led to one of my favourite quotes of the weekend--as Twiggs was explaining that for the backs drills, the boys & girls teams would work together, she very seriously stressed that the boys shouldn't feel superior: "Just because men are faster, that doesn't mean you are any better than women. Besides, I could school all of you!" She did add a "just kidding", but I think Mira, Rosie and I were laughing so hard no one else could hear it!
But the best part was during the lunch break, when Molly asked Rosie, Mira and I to play for the SVC girls. And not just any positions--they needed forwards. After giving us the once over, she assigned Mira and Rosie to PROP and ME to LOCK!!! Direct quote from Molly: "Hoop, you're too big to prop." I told her I wanted that in writing and signed so I could have it forever--I've taken crap about my size from teammates for years!
Of course we all jumped at the chance to play our fantasy rugby positions! (Literally--we were bouncing all over the field and it took a few minutes to calm down enough to actually learn what to do!) With about 10 minutes of scrumming and lineout practice under our belts and an expert prewrap/tape headband provided by Annie to keep my ears on, we were ready to go.
It was definitely one of the most fun games I've ever played, and I'm so happy to have gotten the chance. The whole weekend was a great time and I loved working with the kids, and getting to live out a rugby dream was the icing on the cake. So now I can check that off the life list, and look forward to demo-ing the Mod Pod lineout tonight at practice!