Dispatches From The Front: Days 9 and 10 Star Spangled Rugby.

This is part 4 of a 5-part series. See also: part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 5.

And the bombs burst in air… The sweet music of the Star Spangled Banner floated through the chilly air. Despite pouring rain and and howling winds the USA Eagles took the field to a roaring fan base. Many of the fans were dressed appropriately to the weather, but others figured the Statue of Liberty and Wonder Woman were the best way to celebrate on this night. As the stands weren’t full, the cameras were quick to capture even the most minute indiscretions. All I can say is, as I’m typing this story, it’s nice to be wearing Mens clothing again.

The challenging conditions would have frustrated the most professional rugby team, yet the Eagles stuck to their game plan with a punishing forward dominated game. There were some instances of ill timed kicking that threatened to challenge our post Cold War dominance over our nemesis the Russians, however by the final whistle you could almost hear Ronald Regan telling Mr. Gorbachev to “tear down that wall!!” Our favorite pool team hung on to win 13-6, and so began the party in downtown New Plymouth. They don’t call it the “Crowded House” for nothing.

The highlights of the evening were the crushing tackles by our forward pack, led by Mike McDonald and Todd Cleaver, our captain. Todd was reprimanded later for being an awesome American, yet unlike in past years, this didn’t lead to more severe consequences. Perhaps the commissioners didn’t have an opinion on our Iraq involvement.

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The following evening the Harlequin tourists took on our host New Plymouth Old Boys RFC. Apparently, the word Old Boys in New Zealand can be translated as “anyone who wants to smoke an American rugby team”. From the first kickoff, the hits were brutal. When the highlights of your match include “hey we won our own scrums” and “the referee was excellent”, you know our tourists were in for a long day.

As the temperature dropped and our hamstrings began to tighten, the score gap widened. It should be noted that forwards, the salt of the earth and our game, scored all the tries for us. John Paul Kloiber worked his magic twice, and the valuable cog from the Fox Cities Gargoyles, Andy Goodyear, pushed across his first international try. There is some dispute as to whether or not he was in a backfield position when he scored, but I’ll have to remind you some people still think Kennedy was shot by someone on a grassy knoll.

Tomorrow we head for Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. There are rumors that great surprises are in store for us.

Yours in rugby,
Prince Jim

Jim Harings
Jim Harings
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