Classic Tale re Liberty Cup from Wise Rugby Playing Navy Man, U.S. Combined Services Player Tom “Doc” Williams.
NEW YORK, NY – This was on Tom’s Facebook Page and we felt it was web-worthy on a bigger stage. Following Doctor’s orders, literally and figuratively, here’s Tom’s tale:
“So, I’m sitting at the bar. The traditional p*ss-up that the [Liberty Cup] tournament folks have set up for the ruggers. Archie is to my left and Bill is to my right. Jim is buzzing around behind me, uttering unintelligibly and occasionally poking me to make sure I am hearing him… Mostly I’m not, because the big TV is playing the Yankee game and it brings back memories from younger days. I keep bobbing my head whenever he says something and this seems to appease him for short periods of time.
Archie is scanning his phone for pics and every once in a while, grabs me and hugs me…”I love you, Doc” Anyone who has ever been “hugged” by Archie knows, its an oxygen stealing evolution. I mutter, “Love you too, bro” And, I do. Archie is one of those guys you just have to love.
The rest of the Old Breed, the Marine Corps Old Boys Rugby Team, is spread throughout the bar. It is the team’s first-ever championship; booze is flowing like water and the guys are enjoying being the Kings of the Day. The bar is nice. Not too upscale and just seedy enough to host a rugby party. All is well. I’m still just trying to watch the Yankee game…
Jim and Archie notwithstanding, I notice a large line queuing up out side. Definitely not rugby types. It’s a line of young, male hipsters and scantily clad young ladies. It gets my attention immediately. The bouncers are arguing with what appears to be the lead hipster. It seems to be being handled as they all start coming into the bar, which is full of middle-aged and old rugby players – who have been drinking for a great deal of time. My “Doc” gene kicks in and I think “Oh sh*t.” So, I ask the bartender, “Why there is this influx of young party goers all of a sudden? Is it normal? She says that there is a “birthday party” scheduled as well as the rugby party. I can tell she now understands this was a gross error and has seen the same scenarios that have been flashing thru my mind for the last few minutes. She putters off to get someone else a drink and I get back to watching the Yankee game, thinking that this night is probably not going to end well.
Just as I am thinking that, out of nowhere I get punched in the jaw. Snaps my head to the right and I come off my chair looking to retaliate. It’s one of my guys, drunk off his nut and he is obviously just showing his affectio… in the only way his drunken mind will allow at the moment. [Fortunately] I recognized it right away. Been there many times. Good shot, though. I have an 18 1/2 inch neck and it rocked me pretty good. Luckily, I had just enough booze in me where it didn’t hurt that much and not enough booze in me where I couldn’t understand what just happened.
Booze, Championship, military rugby… Occasionally, you catch one in the jaw. Just the way it is, but it did bring home the reality that it was time to go. Being in a bar with a hundred drunk rugby players, hipster guys wearing pastels, along with their 20-something, scantily-clad girlfriends may have been a dream come true 20 years ago… but that time has long passed and I quietly and without fanfare, made my way back to my hotel.”
Thank you, Tom. And thanks to all those that serve their respective countries in service, be it military, police or fire departments. We all owe you. And thanks to John Tinsley and the Liberty Cup for making it all possible, yet again. Looking forward to the next one –and more tales– already.
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