Yesterday morning I woke up at 7:25am and jumped out of bed and grabbed my prepacked bag filled with my snacks, cleats, ipod, phone, keys, water, gatorade, my duct taped wallet, and (most importantly) my mouth guard. I have always hated being late to things and as soon as I gained complete control over when i would arrive to things I began arriving too early for fear of being late. Classic anne, I did the same yesterday morning. For some reason, I forgot that panera wouldnt be busy on a saturday morning right next to a college campus at 7:30am because, well, everyone is still asleep! I also somehow forgot that I am a very fast eater (the vermonster is evidence of this) and that it wouldnt take me long to finish my breakfast sandwich. Fortunately as I am just nearing the Law School parking lot 30 minutes early where we decided to meet, a teammate of mine named Beth pulled up next to me and said hop in. She happened to be up early as well due to the football game parking fiasco that happens every time there’s a game and they hoard all the parking spots. We drove around and picked some people up and met up with everyone else at 8:30 and then we were off. One of the great things about getting up so early is being somewhat delusional and “slap happy” to the point where everything is funny. Needless to say, the car ride was one big laughing moment.
It always amazes me to see what people can digest the day before a game (or a night before). I am one of those people who normally is too nervous before the event that I have to eat a lot of little meals that are relatively easy on my stomach. I learned quickly that the rest of the people in my car did not fall into that category after we stopped at Chickfila. Some on the team drank coffeee or redbull. Some didnt eat. Some were eating when they werent playing. It was really funny to see.
Somehow my car arrived last (it may have been the chickfila stop) and we ran onto the field trying to catch up with the rest of the team. When i say field, i really mean like a field. The grass was so high and poorly cut, you could hear your feet dragging through it. After an hour and a half of a warm up, we were ready. The sun was high by game time at 1 pm and the bugs were everywhere but no one seemed to notice because of the excitement of game time was approaching (no one left sun burned or bug bitten by the time the game was done even though we had bug spray and sun screen).
The set up of the game was four 20 minute quarters and, because we brought 46 people with us, we divided into almost four different teams of returning and new players to take the field each time. I was set for the second quarter to play scrum half. Here is a link to information about what my job was: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scrum-half_%28rugby_union%29#Scrum-half Surprisingly, I felt prepared before the game started. But when UNC Charlotte (our opponents) started scoring tries (five points) I got worried and much more focused because I knew my team needed to step it up. First quarter ended and we were down by two tries. I got thrown in there and somehow we scored two back! Finally! It was such an exhilarating feeling playing. I have never played a sport like rugby and, despite my family’s wishes, I don’t think I will ever be able to play golf now because of it. Too boring too slow too relaxed. Despite the troubles of a huge piece of molded plastic shoved into my mouth, we were able to get some intelligible words out to each other to help get things organized and succeed. I came off the field exhausted but wanting to play more. I made mistakes but I know how to fix them now and play better. “ancora imparo”.. I am still learning -michelangel. I thnk that is my favorite part of this whole experience. I am learning something new and bettering myself.
The next two quarters were spent watching my teammates fight tooth and nail to try to win but alas we loss. It wasn’t too upsetting though since UNC Charlotte played their full starting squad while we changed every 20 minutes. Afterwards, we had a social with the other team which is apparently a rugby tradition. I talked to some of the players on the other team and then all of the returning players introduced us to some very interesting, for lack of better word, songs that apparently are sung at socials. At the very end, each team held awards and I was given the MVP for the backs for the game! It was quite an honor and I was really excited. Definitely has me more fired up about this season.
Our coach keeps saying that he is so happy with how much progress we have made and how hard we have worked and finally yesterday I was able to give him and the other players the credit they deserve because they are the ones who taught us how to play, answered our questions, and took the time to help us understand the game. I am so thankful for people like that who are willing to teach and willing to help. I have not been in the position where I am learning something brand new and am completely relying on other people to help me in a long time so this experience has been amazing and eye opening. That team is a true team and I am so thankful to be a part of what is going on there. I believe in us and I am so ready for the next game.