Team USA Eagle 7s star Matthew “Polar Bear” Hawkins contributes weekly every Thursday, technology permitting, right here on Rugby Wrap Up. SAN DIEGO, CA – I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas and your still fiddling with your new gadgets and gifts. Christmastime definitely gives you the time to reflect and realize how special life is and how much the smallest things really mean.
Unfortunately for some, it brought huge sadness and grief and I send my condolences to the Naqica Family, as the patriarch of that family, Sitiveni T. Naqica, passed away. “Papa”leaves a legacy with his family and with in the rugby community that touched so many. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Naqicas through this time of mourning.
It makes you realize how special opportunities are and just how limited the opportunities in life can be and when the opportunity arises, you have to jump. It’s a jump that sometimes has a safety net a few feet below and you’re back on your feet in no time. For somethe dive is a little further and a little longer, but you find yourself breaking into a sparkling blue ocean. For others you attach a cord your not quite sure how long it is, but you jump anyway.
I think right now that’s where we as USA Rugby find ourselves. We are in a situation of two new dawns, two new chapters, and to be frank I don’t really believe anyone knows how long we’re going to fall and when we’re going to be back on our feet.
To explain all this mumbo-jumbo, I refer to the hiring of a new coaching staff for the USA Fifteens and the contracting of full time Sevens players. Yes, the one is something of a regular occurrence and has been for a few years now, and again the people making the decisions are faced with many different ways to approach the decision. At the end of the day each one of those decisions will have USA Rugby heading in a different direction, but I believe still with a common goal.
On the other hand, the second [player salaries] is something very new to rugby here in the USA – the opportunity to have full-time rugby players in an environment where they are able to push themselves and their teammates to hopefully exceed previous levels and take USA Sevens and rugby here in the States to new levels of glory and exposure. As always there are many ways for this to happen and I look forward to seeing the direction this goes oin and what we end up with on the other side.
For both of these, I unfortunately for now can only speculate exactly what will happen and where everything will fall, but I will check back in a few weeks from now, with hopefully some more insight and positive news for our wonderful sport here in the US.
If you haven’t yet, please take the time to look at all that this wonderful game has given you and realize that part you play in the rugby story is small, but can always have and impact and be meaningful. its been around a long time before us and will continue on a long time after us.
P.s… Don’t forget to check in tomorrow for Eagle legend Phaidra Knight’s interview of another star rugger.