Celebrating 50 Years of Kings Point Rugby

My good friend Tom O’Hara has shared an article along with comments about King’s Point Rugby celebrating 50 years of rugby. This is quite an accomplishment and the article deserves to be shared along with the comments of Tom O’Hara, Carl Hamm, Nigel Milton, and others. I have played with Tom, Carl, and Nigel, as well as with and against Bill Rung.

“This article, by Kings Point Rugby founder Billy Rung (USMMA ’70 and St. Francis Prep ’66), appears in the current issue of Kings Point’s alumni magazine.

Billy is kneeling in the front row, first on the left. That plebe in the front row, just to the right of the midshipman wearing the KP jacket, may or may not be a Xavier High School alum.

My old friend and Monmouth RFC teammate (and fellow Xavier High School rugby coach) Carl Hamm has reminded me to add to this post that Billy Rung is not only a former New York RFC First XV prop and captain, he is also a member of Norwich University’s All-Time All-Opponent Football Team.

Mr. Hamm graduated from Norwich after taking time off midway through to serve a tour in Vietnam with the U.S. Army. It was there, in fact, that Carl first took up the sport of rugby— because fighting North Vietnamese regulars and the Viet Cong weren’t stimulating enough.

Carl also reminded me to let you know that Billy served as captain of the legendary Old Miltonians RFC.

The Old WHO, you ask? You heard me, I retort the Old flippin’ MILTONIANS.

In the spring of 1989, Nigel Milton, the man from Manchester who coached Xavier High School to its first national rugby championship in 1985, was back home in England and about to be married. So many of his former players and teammates were traveling to Old Blighty for Nigel’s nuptials that we formed a team and scheduled a match against his IBM Portsmouth club on the day of Nigel’s bachelor party.

Eleven former Xavier players and coaches, including Mr. Hamm, were flying over from New York. Joe Ryan, Xavier Class of 1982, was already in London working for some Wall Street firm or another (and playing for the London Irish RFC), so that made us an even Dirty Dozen. Nigel would also be playing for us, increasing our roster to a baker’s dozen. We needed two more bodies, I mean players.

By a stroke of good fortune, Billy Rung, the Grandfather of Xavier Rugby (It was one of his original Kings Point Rugby 1970 draftees who founded Xavier Rugby.), happened to be working in Texaco’s London office and still playing, at age 41, for Wimbledon RFC. Bill brought his 51-year-old mad Welshman of a teammate down to Portsmouth to round out the Xavier side and was immediately named captain of the newly-christened Old Miltonians.

Although less than a day old, the Old Miltonians RFC had a set of (borrowed) jerseys, a team song— “Rave On, Old Miltonians”— and an official club history that would be as brief as it was glorious. The Old Miltonians would exist for only a single day and play but one match.

IBM Portsmouth (yes, THE IBM) did not take us too seriously. After all, they were playing 13 Yanks, a renegade Englishman and an elderly Welshman who had never even trained together, much less played as a unit. But we wiped the smiles off their faces in fairly quick order. A solid nucleus of our squad, including future USA Eagle and Rugby United New York head coach Mike Tolkin, had played together for years at 16th Street and won a national title. They had also played alongside many of their fellow Old Miltonians for various clubs back in the U.S. It didn’t take Billy Rung’s men long to mesh under fire.

What kind of captain was Billy, and how much did he want to win this “friendly” match? Early in the second half, with the Old Miltonians ahead by two tries, I was going for the ball in the loose when I received a sharp glancing blow across my bow, I mean nose, from an errant English elbow. I went down, bleeding profusely. Injury timeout.

Slipping effortlessly into his role as a field surgeon, Billy examined my proboscis. “It’s broken alright,” he pronounced. I can’t leave you in the front row, but I have no sub for you, Tom. Get out there on the wing.”

Someone was able to stop the bleeding, and out to the wing position, I went. For you non-ruggers out there, this was the equivalent of an interior lineman moving to wide receiver/DB. It took the English about 30 seconds to realize that the rugby gods had bestowed a golden opportunity upon them. They quickly scored one try on me and nearly scored another.

Captain Rung did not hesitate, uttering these words that shall live forever in the abbreviated annals of Old Miltonian history: “O’Hara, your nose may be broken, but you’re killing us out there. Get yer ass back in the front row.”

And so I did. And we won, ensuring the Old Miltonians RFC and their skipper a place in rugby history, forever undefeated.”

United States Merchant Marine Academy Release

Celebrating 50 Years of Kings Point Rugby

Submitted by William Rung ’70:

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Kings Point Rugby Football Club (KPRFC). I don’t know how many of you followed the Rugby World Cup (RWC) in Japan this past fall but I spent many an early morning from mid-September through early November watching the top 20 teams in world rugby vie for the World Championship – ultimately and decisively won by South Africa’s Springboks.

During that stretch of matches, my mind would wander during the less than stellar bits (as it would tend to do at 4 AM) and my thoughts would, on occasion, reflect upon how far international rugby as a whole has come since the first RWC back in ’87 – won by New Zealand’s All Blacks if you were dying to know or had forgotten. And then, after spilling some hot tea (yes, TEA) on the KP Rugby T I was wearing one particular morning, it struck me – for reasons that remain obscure – Kings Point Rugby was already 17 years old when that first RWC kicked off; what’s more, it was already 6 years old when the USA Rugby Football Union eventually came together in ’76, the KPRFC having been founded during the spring of ‘70.

What happened next was weird, more than likely brought about by the Gods of Rugby (the Welsh have long claimed that “Rugby is the game they play in heaven”). Looking in some VERY old files in advance of getting organized for my 50th Graduation Reunion next fall, I uncovered a long-ignored record of much of what happened that first year, the year the KPRFC kicked off. Given the upcoming 50 year milestone, I had a sense that there might be some interest in a synopsis of that first year and tested the waters with some “Ancient Mariners” – Jim Tobin ultimately supporting the idea of an article in the Kings Pointer.

The story begins in a galaxy far far away – Room 2328 on the “Flight Deck” of 2nd Company during the early spring of my First Class year. The Football Mariners had just won the Lambert Bowl (that’s another story), the holidays were over and it was time to start checking off the days until our June 3 graduation. I had no thought of playing another sport that spring – it was keep up with the books and enjoy, as best one could with license on the horizon, the last few months of First Class year.

One afternoon in late February, I think it was, there was a knock on the door by one Midn. Michael Ribera, 4/C who awakened me out of a very pleasant nap ( I never let him forget that) and asked if he could speak to me about rugby. He had heard somehow (no one ever admitted who shared the info) that I had played for the then formidable St. Francis Prep in High School and went back to play in alumni matches from time to time. Mike had played for a junior club in Rhode Island sponsored by Brown University and was wondering if there was any interest in starting a club at Kings Point. We found one other Midn. who had played the game before, Jim Saldutti, my classmate, who had played at St. Joe’s Prep in Philadelphia. That was the experienced nucleus. Suffice to say, the three of us put our heads together and said: “why not – let’s give it a go” and we were off.

Fast forward to early April. The “Temporary Roster” attached to the KPRFC Club Constitution, signed off by Captain E.W. Knutsen, Captain, USMS, Regimental Officer approving the formation of the KPRFC included 32 Midshipmen (looking good, eh?) – but there is a story behind that number, which has come down in KPRFC lore as “The O’Hara Press Gang Story”. T. J. O’Hara ’73, football and rugby teammate at KP, NYRFC club mate, friend and supporter (on a case by case basis) for over 50 years and last but not least renowned gadfly, will recount “The Press Gang” to anyone who’ll listen and on occasion even to those who won’t.

What Tom will tell you (in most cases) is that as we approached our first scheduled match v Yale’s Third XV, scheduled for April 18th in New Haven, of all places, we were very thin in numbers. And what he’ll then tell you (maybe) afterward is that in the spirit of the Royal Navy and basis the needs of the KPFRC, my roommate (and future Best Man, among other things), the late Timmy Lush ’70 and I roamed the company decks in mid-afternoon (when the hunting was best) advising those underclassmen that we deemed fit that they were now playing rugby, as Kings Point expected every Midn. to do his duty. I will not comment on the story save that by some stroke of Providence the 32 Midn. roster was in place by 3 April, giving us ample time (we thought) to prepare for Yale on the 18th.

So who was on that first KPRFC roster, you might ask (or not, if you’ve never been a detail person – but then you’re probably not a USMMA Alumnus, are you now?), the one that helped to swing the approval of the formation of the KPRFC, the approval that was recommended by none other than the renowned Lieutenant Dom De DeFilippi as Activities Officer and signed off, as you have read earlier, by Captain Knutsen? Never one to back away from the pressure of history, I submit to you the following, in no particular order of merit. It is a group that will, as the KPRFC carries on, achieve the renown and legendary status of the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae, the famed Iron and Stonewall Brigades of the Civil War, TR’s Rough Riders, The Fighting 69th, Patton’s Third Army and right down to today’s SEALs, Rangers and last but certainly never least, the USMC, whose guidance the KPRFC has tried to follow: “the difficult we do right away; the impossible takes a little longer”.

KPRFC Roster of 3 April 1970 Name Section Bellinger, Paul 73-436-1 Hamby, Joseph 72-319-1 Mc Connell, Robert 70 -133-1 Laidlaw, Douglas 70-135-1 Jones, James 70-133-2 Saldutti, James 70-133-3 Lush, Timothy 70-130-1 Rung, William 70-130-1 Kryschtal, Jaroslaw 71-230-2 Parker, Robert 72-25B-1 Varall, Kenneth 73-439-1 Ribera, Michael 73-436-1 Faherty, Arthur 71-230-1 Young, Michael 73-434-1 Faber, Gary 73-432-1 Nicoll, John 73-471-2 Barowski, Thomas 73 O’Donnell, Michael 73-430-1 Sullivan, Glenn 73-433-1 Tansey, James 73-433-1 O’Hara, Thomas 73-433-1 Miller, Thad 73-433-1 Egee, Walter 73-439-3 Alexander, Thomas 73-434-1 Davis, Gordon 70 Mannering, Gerard 70 Finnegan, Kevin 73 Mc Cullough, William 73-431-1 Davis, John 73 Pfeiffer, Steven 71 Wright, Havilland 71 Livanos, Robert 72

Lest I be remiss in giving credit where credit is due, again in the finest traditions of rugby football the above roster became a fluid thing, taking on a life of its own. Once the season began a small number of the above worthies decided to follow other pursuits; fortunately, these were replaced by others who saw the light and committed their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor to the KPRFC over the course of the season (and beyond). Those “late starters” deserve equally as much credit for the initial success of the KPRFC; they are recognized below as participants of the team movements cited.

Now, while all of this administrative wonderfulness was going on, aided considerably by both O’Hara Hall ( Capt. Jim Liebertz USMS , Athletic Director became a hands-on mentor to those of us who were working, within a very small window, to have a functioning KPRFC for the Spring ’70 season) and Wiley Hall (none other than RADM. Gordon Mc Lintock, legendary USMMA Superintendent, become a patron) we needed, among other things, to find a coach. This is where the story develops a plotline worthy of Hollywood.

As it happened my high school sweetheart (yes, that’s what they called them then) was reigning as the senior phlebotomist (look it up) within North Shore Hospital’s Hematology (you should know what that is) Group. Mary had developed much experience in sticking holes in Midshipmen’s arms when it was required and was developing a keen sense of being able to determine a person’s blood type and character without resorting to science. That’s why I ultimately married her, in the Mariner’s Chapel, with the reception in the earlier version of the O Club, in a military wedding with no less than four KPRFC members directly involved in the ceremony. Covered all the bases. And, just so you know, after almost 50 years she has finely honed her skill in determining a person’s character by whatever method her Sicilian ancestors have shared, especially rugby players. Scary.

But I digress.

Having watched me play a bit of rugby through the years I was resident at the USMMA, Mary had become quite comfortable with rugby and rugby players (mostly) and could speak with some authority as to the relative merits of front row binds and whether the backline was running a scissors or a loop. One fine day at North Shore (the circumstances have been lost in the mists of time) she happened upon one Dr. Jack Farman, newly appointed Chief of Radiology and somehow the subject of rugby came up, (couldn’t have been Dr. Farman’s accent, could it? Or maybe he was speaking Afrikaans?) as it will with most South Africans, within the space of 5 minutes. The good Dr. Farman had recently migrated from a similar position at Yale University Hospital where, as luck would have it, he moonlighted as Head Rugby Coach at Yale, as one might logically do when a number of the Yale First XV were South African born and doing graduate work at Yale. Fast forward: Mary became the no-fee broker and put Jack together with the KPRFC as their first coach.

Next, where to find rugby balls and kit – quickly. Remember, this was 1970 where the only thing most people knew about rugby was that it was a nice English name for a street or lane in the country. There was no internet, no Google, no mobile phones and the telephone books of the age were of no use, save for listing general sporting goods stores (and providing a necessary accouterment to rural “necessaries”, or, to be blunt, outhouses). So we began the search. We finally came up with ONE rugby ball (at Wolf Sporting Goods on the South Shore of Long Island, strangely enough) leather, with cloth laces and much fatter than today’s pass friendly, laceless, synthetic jobs. Next, where to find proper rugby shirts. No time for custom orders so we had to make do with the now KPRFC legendary royal and white hoops. We found Soccer Sport Supply on the East Side of Manhattan; someone had reneged on a custom order so we bought the lot and proper rugby shirts were in hand.

Upper Roosevelt was secured as our practice pitch (the spirits of KP ruggers past still haunt the place, making themselves known by producing mysterious ruts in the playing area from time to time and preventing the sustaining, let alone the growth of grass) after some discussion within O’Hara and Coach Farman began to sort out a side from the 32 volunteers and pressed men previously mentioned. Remember, only three had any experience of the game; Jack was in a brave new world from his previous coaching tenure wherein Yale had achieved national ranking but somehow had us ready to play Yale’s Thirds on “Opening Day”. Jack had a coaching philosophy that has stayed with me through the years; “The best way to learn how to play rugby? Play rugby!!” Kinda like pushing the kid off the dock to learn how to swim. (Another aside worth knowing is that Jack stayed in touch with the KPRFC through the years; the last time I saw him was when he came out to practice on several occasions the year the KPRFC finished third in the regional national 1 AA rankings (think it was ’14), the irony is that the lads defeated Yale’s First XV to secure that ranking. As Yogi would have said: “you can look it up”.)

So how’d we do that first year? Well, to quote an All Black I’ve known who shall remain nameless: “nobody died”. And while Jack was kind enough to arrange the Yale fixture the challenge for the club was to find reasonable opposition for a fledgling side at a time long after most clubs had set their fixtures in stone. We played a total of 6(?) matches overall and did well enough, save for one disaster – but that will come later; let’s start at the beginning.

Yale Rugby Football Club Third XV Away; 18 April 1970. The Match Report has not survived but the final score was Yale Third XV 14 – 0 KPRFC. And while no match roster has survived we do know that Parker, Tansey, Bellinger, Young, Alexander, Faber, Mannering (who did not have First Class privileges at the time – sorry for bringing up a bad lunch, Jerry) O’Donnell, O’Hara, Evans, Hamby, Faherty, Kryschtal, Nicoll, Pfieffer, Egee, Livanos, Davis, and Barowsky were “excused from the Plan of the Day…in order that they might compete…”. I recall a number of First Classmen also made the trip but as they had liberty there was nothing to be excused from and hence were not included on the available record. I do recall that we played hard, had our chances and were relatively evenly matched but lack of experience ultimately did us in.

New York Rugby Football Club Third XV Away; 25 April 1970 (methinks). While the date may be a matter of conjecture we do have the KPRFC First XV final selection: 1- Tansey; 2 -O’Hara; 3- Rung; 4-Faber; 5-Mc McCullough; 6-Saldutti; 7 – Nicoll; 8 – Pfeiffer; 9-Bellinger; 10 – “Cubby” (?); 11-Ribera; 12-Kryschtal; 13- Hamby; 14- Young; 15-Mannering. What we also know is that the following provided transportation as follows: Rung 5; O’Donnell 6; Faber 5; Alexander 5; “Cubby” 6; O’Hara 7; Schneider 2. The destination was legendary Randall’s Island in its unspoiled state – the pitch littered with broken glass, beer cans (unfortunately empty) and the bleaching bones of many a pig roast. Alas, the march of civilization ultimately spoiled that rugby paradise. That old pitch is now a parking lot and the balance of the Island appears to be carpeted in artificial turf with its cushioning long gone; playing on it is as good as playing in the middle of Second Avenue which some of us had been known to do after a night at the Mad Hatter – but again I digress.

Now as regards that singular “welcome to club rugby” match what we also know is that typical of rugby in that age, we had some last-minute cry offs. I recall that my roommate, T. Lush, couldn’t work his way out of restriction. Alexander also demurred, as did Laidlaw. No matter, as our younger legs finally wore down NY and we posted our first victory: KPRFC 11 – 3 NYRFC Third XV 3. Beating a men’s senior club, even their Thirds, on their own pitch – many thought we had it all figured out. But the rugby gods were laughing – not with us, as we thought playing a high school side in just four days hence would pose no problem – but AT us at that high school was St. Francis Prep, my rugby alma mater.

St. Francis Prep (SFP) Rugby Football Club First XV on Upper Roosevelt; 29 April 1970. Very little in the form of hard data exists to chronicle this singular event of the inaugural season. No match roster has been located, which is just as well as being documented as a participant in that particular outing might have actually tarnished any potential that one might have had in advancing a serious rugby career. But in this space, I can now purge myself of the long-standing guilt, the horrible nightmares, and embarrassment of being found out over the years – YES!!!! I bear sole responsibility for that debacle. But perhaps a brief accounting of the background might cause you to forbear from judging me too harshly.

Previously you have read that from time to time I would play in alumni matches v SFP. Over the four years since I had graduated the Prep had developed their side into a national HS power, beating college and Men’s First XV’s regularly and doing quite well on their initial tour to Wales. Knowing this, SFP and I had agreed that we would play Prep’s Second XV – good for their junior players and, as a fledgling program, helpful to us as we would learn from a well-coached, fit side. All involved thought it a good plan.

When I jumped on the bus to welcome my old coach on match day I couldn’t believe what I saw – essentially SFP’s entire First XV. The story was that their midweek match had been cancelled (that Match Secretary was far more realistic than I) and that they “needed the work” prior to a big match the coming weekend. They thought they’d surprise a former teammate/current alum opponent and they surely did. There was absolutely no wiggle room that I could squeeze through, pride still mattered and off we went.

When it was all over at full-time (actually earlier, as things had gotten quite out of hand and the captains and referee agreed that further continuance of the contest was most inappropriate) the scoreline read SFP First XV 63 – 0 KPRFC. Our victory v the NYRFC Thirds four days prior no longer looked so impressive but the learning imparted from the SFP display of well-executed fundamentals and sound tactical rugby was a positive takeaway and provided an encyclopedia of coaching points for the balance of the season. The boys from Brooklyn had “done well” and many of those we played against that day did even better later. Jerry DiNardo and Frank Pomarico went on to All America football careers at Notre Dame; Paul Houlihan all ACC at North Carolina – you get the picture. And while the score was out of control you have to remember that in that era a try was worth only 3 points. At today’s 5 point value the score would likely have been 30 points higher – in a match that probably only ran for 60 minutes. But truth be said, we earned the respect of the Prep boys that day. There was no quit in the KPRFC, no lack of sportsmanship – it was a perfect example of learning how to play rugby – by playing rugby against a truly skilled and fit side.

Westchester Rugby Football Club Third XV Away; 2 May 1970. My most significant memory regarding this match is not that we bounced back after the SFP debacle to secure our second victory (KPRFC 6- 0 Westchester RFC Third XV) but that the match wouldn’t have been played at all without the support of Bob Lavinia ’70 the then Regimental Commander (and successful escapee from the Rugby Press Gang – but that’s another story). As I recall the situation, I had diligently (at least I THOUGHT I was diligent) submitted the Club’s Team Movement request timely but for reasons that, again, to this day remain obscure I had not received the endorsed document in return, nor any information as to the possible reason, by the morning of the match. Given that we were scheduled to leave for Westchester at 1230, the situation was getting desperate but not serious, as the Irish are fond of saying. The suggestion was made that perhaps the approval was tacit and that we had nothing with a wish to concern ourselves, given that we had an established precedent on two occasions; however, wise counsel established that assumptions of that nature can only lead to ruin. Then it struck me: why not see what the RC has to say about the appropriate protocol? Suffice to say that Bobby located the errant document, amended the roster as “competitively necessary” to ensure that the KPFRC would be able to field its intended First XV and approved the Team Movement by the direction of the Regimental Officer. I know what you’re thinking. Nope. Couldn’t make that one up.

The archives show that the following made the trip to Bronxville that day: FIRST BATALLION: Rung (Capt.) 70, Lush 70, Mc Connell 70, Schneider 70, Hamby 72, Parker 72, O’Hara 73, Faber 73, Mc Cullough 73, Finnegan ’73, O’Donnell 73, Evans 73, Tansey 73, Miller 73. SECOND BATTALION: Kryschtal 71, Nicoll 73. THIRD BATTALION: Saldutti 70, Davis G. 70, Pfeiffer 71, Davis, J. 71, Livanos 72 Barowsky 73, Egee 73. The thought occurs that it might actually have been Winchester’s Second XV that we defeated that day in the “Match of Record”. More than likely we played a second match with those Midn. who did not get the opportunity to play in the first, with many of the KP First XV playing again to fill out the side. You may recall that in the good ole rugby days you could only field 15 players; there were no substitutions. AHH … those were the days.

Old Maroon Rugby Football Club Away; 9 May 1970. Back in the day, Old Maroon was a men’s club consisting of primarily Fordham RFC grads. The record showed that we were scheduled to play two matches that day; however, I have only the First XV result in the archives and that indicated this final: Old Maroon RFC 23 – 9 KPRFC. And while the score was disappointing, the greater significance was that the match was the first wherein the KPRFC played a men’s club First XV – and held their own. And yes, to answer your question, St. Francis Prep was tougher.

The match in the Bronx would be the last time the KPRFC would field a side including the Class of ’70 “Founding Members” as graduation was a mere 25 days away but many of the “ pressed men” were still in place and there was certainly a solid core of experienced (??) players to take the club forward. The roster that day: FIRST BATALLION: Rung (Capt.) 70, Lush 70, Mc Connell 70, Schneider 70, Hamby 72, Parker 72, O’Hara 73, Faber 73, Mc Cullough 73, Finnegan 73, O’Donnell 73, Evans 73, Miller 73. SECOND BATTALION: Kryschtal 71, Nicoll 73. THIRD BATTALION: Saldutti 70, Davis G, 70, Pfeiffer 70, Davis J 71, Livanos 72, Barowsky 73, Egee 73. Again, with 22 players available I’m certain there were two matches played that day, perhaps as a result of borrowing some of Old Maroon’s guys, having some of our guys play two or both sides agreeing to play short. That’s the way it was in those days; “in the finest tradition of rugby football” anyone who wanted a match more times than not usually got one. It’s a bit different nowadays with the competition levels being carefully monitored and players having to register, etc. And while the structure and world organization of modern rugby have given rise to the improved quality and safety of the game, the game has also lost something. One longs for certain aspects of the “Old School.”

So there you have it … or do you? The above narrative, supported by what records I’ve been able to unearth, would indicate the inaugural season of the KPRFC ended with two victories against 3 losses; however, I always thought we had a sixth match and that we actually finished 3 and 3. Perhaps it was only wishful thinking as looking at the calendar the supported scheduled fixtures were just about all we could have managed, given date of KPRFC formation and the beginning of finals/license prep for the Class of ’70.

If you stayed with me thus far I thank you for your perseverance. What started out intended to be a brief reminiscence turned into a 4000+ word trip down Memory Lane. But I’ve got some more to say. What about getting together for a proper celebration of the KPRFC’s 50th Anniversary next spring? Those of you reading this who attended the 40th Anniversary get together in Melville Hall in the spring of ’10 provided a lot of positive feedback at the time, including “how about we do it again”? I’m happy to begin the organization of the 50th Anniversary event but want to test the waters first as to what kind of get together you’d prefer, recommended price per person, traditional rugby Third Half or something a bit more formal? If we get enough interest and positive feedback as to numbers and how the event should be structured I’ll put together a distribution list and get going. You can reach me at runghome@aol.com with your input.

Some final (I promise!) thoughts that may help you to decide. As I’ve been reminded in the context of the Class of ’70 Fiftieth, a celebration of a “Golden” Anniversary for anything is a big deal. And as I’ve also been reminded more than once, a rugby club that can claim 50 years of continuous activity with the same structure as the day it was founded is also a big deal. Take a look at our inaugural season opponents. Yale, as one would expect, still survives “unadulterated” (although far fewer ex-pats fill out the club) but New York has morphed several times, merging with the likes of Hunter College and –dare I say it – Manhattan RFC. Believe it or not, St. Francis Prep RFC went dormant for a number of years, although they’re gradually coming back to life; Westchester has totally disappeared and Old Maroon was forced to merge with Fairfield in order to keep both programs alive. But the KPRFC, whether they’ve fielded three sides or only one and a half, keeps going. That kind of continuity and perseverance in the face of some challenging years deserves to be celebrated, as do the estimated 500+ players who have graduated from the USMMA over that span. Think about it. Fifty years. Whether you were “present at the creation”, graduated in ’19 or fit somewhere in between, we all share a common bond and rugby heritage. And remember, “the older we get, the better we were” in the storytelling. Wouldn’t it be great to hear those stories next spring?

“Are you available, fit and committed”? Let me know!

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