Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Stampede to Reload - Fight For Namesake?

So it was a tough loss this past weekend to Albany Law. But I am feeling confident that the team has gained focus and maybe even a bit of attitude that it may have been missing. The one thing I think we have been missing is a nasty streak, and maybe we found a way to get one this past weekend.

We were also missing several key players, most notably rucking/mauling machines Ben Geiss and Dan Rodecker. Owen Maranville and Bill Ackerbauer had season ending injuries, and newer ruggers Jamie Robinson, Mike Kotary, and Josh Clevenger were inactive for the game. While we will benefit from the return of Clevenger and Robinson, and perhaps the debut of Kotary, the other four will still be unavailable for this travel weekend. We may also lose scrum-half Alex Eves, whose wife is expecting to deliver the first baby (dare I say foal) to the Stampede Rugby Family any day.

We have two focused days of training ahead and I am sure that Coach O'Dalaigh is going to push us hard. You could tell that he was not pleased with the fitness level of the club, and I think it is something that we will see a focus on in the coming week. By all accounts, Vermont Law is a tough team. They are almost certainly younger and faster than most of us, so we will have to play well above where we were on 9/16 if we want to improve to 2-1, which will be important if we expect to return home and challenge a tough veteran team from the Albany Knicks on 9/30. This could be a critical two weeks for the team to come together.

We would love to have fans/spectators make the road trip with us as we are trying to promote Saratoga Rugby as an event that the whole family can enjoy. We keep admission reasonable to all of our games: free. Just bring yourself and your family and a few folding chairs. Heck, even ask some of the guys on the sideline for an explanation if you are new to the sport. We'd be happy to explain what is going on.

In other news, it appears that the Saratoga Stampede name is an issue of some debate. Local media venues have been pressured, it appears, by a group that says it was using the name for the past several years. It turns out that the group is Saratoga American Legion Baseball. The funny thing is that while rugby plays, A.L. Baseball is out of season, and when baseball plays, rugby is out of season. Seems as if the two Stampedes could easily co-exist, as few people would ever really get teen baseball and men's rugby confused. Especially when we promote ourselves as Saratoga Stampede Rugby and have vastly different colors (baseball is blue, red, and white; rugby is maroon, black, and yellow). After agreeing in April to try to co-exist, it appears that some behind the scenes trademarking applications were filed. So much for good faith.

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