Rugby Brotherhood: the Hoggies legacy

Kevin Key, Contributing Writer

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The alumni rugby game is a time honored tradition. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Kerin.

After buying a few days off school, breaking out of jail and being invaded by an army of newborn babies, the UD community made its way down to the rugby pitch en masse to watch tradition in action — the alumni rugby game. The match is a tradition in which older, stouter men walk all over younger, smaller men — and we love it. However, for the men on the pitch, the tradition is more than just a game or a social event. The alumni rugby game is a tradition of brotherhood and inheritance that stretches beyond graduation date or major. The men who play have one thing of importance in common: they were all Hoggies at one point in their lives.

I was able to speak with a number of the alumni after the game and found that there was a great diversity of age and graduation dates. One alumnus, “Uncle Buck” graduated in ’97. Many others graduated in the early 2000s, and some young men even graduated this past May. This diversity is a perfect example of the strength of the tradition that the UD Rugby club has held through the years.

“The alumni games are a great chance for the non-starters to play with energy against a real team,” Chris Botto, class of ’05, said. “[The games are] a great chance to build relationships between alumni themselves and with undergraduates. The brotherhood that the rugby club builds stretches for generations.”

“Other than being another game of rugby, you get to see how far the roots of rugby go,” Titus Willard, class of ’17, said. “The older guys make you feel a lot of gratitude for being a part of something that has been going on for so long. For me, seeing the people who have been a part of the tradition makes the tradition of the club feel like less of a myth.”

“Like the long grey line of West Point, we are here for each other,” Botto said. “Even if you were there at the founding of the club or if you just graduated we are all UD Ruggers … So many times I have been asked for advice about grad school or jobs and I help that person out just because they played rugby at some point or another.”

This tradition is better than a tradition of excellence on the field or spirit of competition — it is one of family, and the relationship is one formed on the field.

Looking forward from this great day of rugby, Willard, a club officer, is excited for the club this year. “We did get smashed, but we didn’t get smashed for the entire game,” Willard said. “We held our own for the beginning of the game, and that’s good for an alumni game. An alumnus actually congratulated us on our back line after the game and that’s encouraging … The freshmen have a lot to offer and we all look fantastic even after the game.”

With another successful alumni game come and gone, the Rugby team looks to carry this energy into their upcoming matches, despite the 44-10 loss. Their second ever developmental league game will take place this Wednesday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

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