One of the things Lennon was most excited about when coming to Austin was rugby. Our first visit out to Burr field was to watch a Hawaiin shirts vs. skins game, (after we finally found the field while humming the banjo tune reminiscent of Deliverance during the dirt road drive).
The Austin Blacks are the team of the Austin Rugby Club, but this weekend we watched the Austin Huns play at Burr against the Dallas Harlequins. I don't have much interest in rugby beyond the cuteness of the striped polo shirts that comprise the traditional uniform, but Lennon is quite the enthusiast, and now that he has a new 9-5 job, he has no excuse not to start getting his butt kicked by cleats during evening practices.
Despite my lack of interest in most sports, there is something to be gained, though, from watching men (or women) run full throttle into each other sans padding. So, as a non-competitive sport viewer, I offer up the universal lessons that rugby has to offer for all people:
How To Take A Hit Like A Champ
1) One must always know what they are in for. Observe a situation before stepping into the foray. This is the equivalent of studying a play book, or taking a deep breath before the buzzer sounds in a race. If you're going to get the wind knocked out of you, make sure you've got wind to spare.
2) Avoid friendly fire. Ther's nothing more frustrating than being knocked out by your own team. Be aware of the location of all your chess pieces at any given time.
3) Kick like you mean it. Punting is for chumps. I used to punt in PE class during dreaded kick ball games so that I could outsprint the person going for my one-inch kick to get to first base. This wasn't a strategy - it was a fear tactic. I didn't want the ball thrown at my face. If you've seen the movie Julie and Julia, then I advise you to take away this one mantra: "No fear, Julia."
4) Even when you're in the game, remember the outside world. Sometimes what seems most important at the moment is put into perspective when you stick your head up above the squall-of-work bubble for just a minute. Clarity often ensues.
5) Team work. Nothing pads a hit like a good team mate, (although, refer to point number two), especially if the guy in front of you has a really cute butt to look at. Maybe this isn't applicable to all people...
6) Don't hedge the field. If the ball is your target, go for it. In first grade I stood in front of a field kick during a pee-wee league soccer game and blocked the ball with my belly button. From that point on I never went near that nasty thing. Thank goodness for participation trophies. Regardless, I never made a single goal; I was too infatuated with the risk.
7) Get a leg-up. Go further, read more, study harder, get up an hour earlier... however much you can push yourself to get ahead of where you were before - do that - but not more than that. Review point number four. And if you fall from your vantage point, get up gracefully.
8) Remember, it takes patience to get where you are going. So don't rush the field if you aren't ready, and don't brawl just because something doesn't go your way. Some things are a long way off but very few things (on this planet, at least) are in the distance of infinite.