While some of us are stuck in this never-ending Groundhog Day of a winter, many of us will be traveling to a (hopefully) warmer climate for spring break, passing through several different states as our odometers tack on miles and miles of road or struggling with airports, luggage, security checks, and in-flight meals all in order to reach the one place where we can stop: vacation. All those cars, all those people… what a perfect opportunity to evangelize about rugby!
First, if you’re driving, you must make sure you’ve got a rugby bumper sticker of some sort on your vehicle. Feel free to purchase extras, and offer them at stops along the way! Think of all the drivers and passengers you’ll pass who may see the word “rugby” in the United States for the first time on your bumper. Don’t waste this chance. (And be sure to buffer your bumper…)
When you stop at a rest stop, take 5 minutes and really stretch your legs. (Note: For those of you who time your trips in hopes of eclipsing Mario’s record, you’re going to have to lighten up on this one and let the family have a proper break.) Grab a rugby ball from the back of your car, and toss it around. If anyone asks you what kind of ball you’ve got, take a minute to explain to them what it is and let them know rugby will be an Olympic sport in 2016. Oh, and be sure to wear your favorite rugby t-shirt!
Flying instead? Never miss a chance to randomly drop rugby words on unsuspecting passengers and flight attendants. Here’s an example: “Boy, I felt like I was in a scrum going through security.” If that seems too harsh, try this: “Is that the hooker for Cal?” While it will probably generate a few heads turning, it will definitely give you an opportunity to say, “No, not that kind of hooker, the proper kind – the rugby hooker!”
Going to the beach? Grab your beach blanket, sunscreen, and, of course, a rugby ball! I see kids all the time tossing footballs, playing volleyball or flying kites. Make sure your favorite sport is represented. If you’ve recently won the lottery, feel free to take 2 rugby balls to the beach with you. Throw one around, and give the other to anyone who asks questions and looks intrigued. If you really plan ahead, purchase some Try-On Rugby stickers and bracelets to pass around!
Sticking with our beach spring breakers, feel free to use the salt water to segue into talking about one of your favorite coaches, Salty Thompson. Take this opportunity to talk a little bit about youth rugby in general, and how it’s a great sport for kids.
Often times, you’ll meet people from other countries on your holiday. Always keep in mind that rugby is a universal sport, known ’round the world. If you’re adept at recognizing accents, and feel confident, drop a few lines about your favorite rugby team associated with that country. Or just fall back on the old standard, “Gotta love those All Blacks this year!” And this works, too, “I knew Ireland would win Six Nations, but who knew the fight France would put up!” No need to delve into details; stick to the basics. (But if you want details, you must print James Harrington’s Six Nations wrap-up for some leisurely beach reading.)
Need a good beach book? Don’t leave without When I Was Great, by Ray Green. It’s a quick read, but will leave you pondering for hours. (I loved it!) Need a movie for a rainy afternoon? In addition to the acclaimed The Rugby Player, one of my favorites is Forever Strong. Of course, Invictus is always inspiring. Be sure to tell your vacation condo neighbors what you’re reading and watching, and why.
Finally, when the week winds down, and you’re eating crackers and peanut butter to finish up your food stash, remember when you get back there’s always rugby. And never forget, you can always use your rugby ball as a pillow for the drive home.
Feel free to comment below, look for and “Like” our Facebook Rugby Wrap Up Page and follow us on Twitter @: RugbyWrapUp, Junoir Blaber, DJ Eberle, Nick Hall, James Harrington, Cody Kuxmann, Jaime Loyd, Karen Ritter, Jamie Wall, and Declan Yeats, respectively.