BALTIMORE, MD – Admittedly, after working a whole bunch of hours on a commercial Thursday and Friday, I wasn’t 100% behind the idea of driving from NYC to Edgar Allen Poe’s hometown, just across from Fort McHenry – where Francis Scoot Key penned The Star Spangled Banner – to sit in on rugby seminars for people that are light years ahead of me in those areas. But the guilt of missing something and 3 pints of coffee did the trick and viola – yours truly made it to USA Rugby’s National Development Summit. And I’m glad I did.
Aside from getting to chat with Wallabies Head Coach and all around good guy, Michael Cheikah, networking with contemporaries and learning more and more about a game that I thought I knew pretty well, the weekend also served to recharge the batteries; to reinforce the commitment to making this rugby thing work. Seeing dedicated others come from all over to share ideas, offer expertise and have a few laughs in the process made the trek worthwhile.
But it was a WWE wrestler that definitely put the proverbial cherry on top.
John “Bradshaw” Layfield, a very large man with a Texas swagger, absolutely killed it as the featured speaker. And this is coming from a guy whose ego repeatedly kept pointing out that they picked a [bleeping] wrestler instead of certain rugby pundit to speak. Yeah… I know. Egos are dangerous and silly things and often wrong. And it was definitely wrong this this time. Layfield was funny, humble and commanded a room of notoriously difficult-to-impress people. We gave him a standing ovation, before bombarding him with boos that his notorious WWE persona so often got. And he loved it. Oh, and he has also saved and changed kids’ lives through rugby by founding and stewarding Beyond Rugby Bermuda. So there’s that. Look up the program and check it out.
And then there were the USA Rugby award winners, like Mystic River Men’s Coach Josh Smith. who won the Men’s Club Coach of the Year. And while his brief and spot-on speech hit all the right buttons, it was the very, very end that has him a RugbyWrapUp.com MVP. Make sure to watch through the credits.
And there you have it… Kudos to those that helped put the event on and those that attended.
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