TAMPA, FL – Laura Fields Taylor, more affectionately known and adored as “Mama T,” passed away Monday evening, 17 April, in Waco, Texas, at the young age of 51. During her time on the pitch, Laura served as official Team Mom and Medic for the Palm Beach Pinkies, Tampa Bay Titans, Tampa Bay Krewe, Augusta (GA) Rugby Club, and Austin (TX) Huns Rugby.
Laura leaves behind her best friend of over 20 years, Lee Taylor, her mother, her sister, brother, and other family members. Mama T is also survived by the countless friends and hundreds of ruggers she helped mend and return to the pitch. With her countless contributions to rugby clubs under her care, Mama T leaves behind a legacy unmatched throughout the USA Rugby South and beyond.
Taylor’s Time in Tampa and Florida
Originally from Greenville, South Carolina, Taylor spent the majority of her time serving as Team Mom and medic to clubs across Florida, and a plurality of that time with the Tampa Bay Krewe. After Lee took a job as a wildlife biologist in Georgia in late 2011, the 20-plus year friends returned to their home state of South Carolina.
Lee Taylor Fondly Remembers His Best Friend Laura
Lee Taylor fondly remembers his best friend Laura Taylor, and the time they spent with Rugby clubs across Florida and the USA Rugby South:
“Laura and I were friends for about 21 years. It was Laura’s idea for me to get back into playing rugby when we first moved to Florida since we didn’t have many friends or family close by. As with many rugby teams, we were quickly adopted into the fold, and she found her role as team mom and physio. She was an occupational therapist by trade and offered anyone that needed it medical attention, a quick smile and/or sip of water. She was very creative using super glue, duct tape and occasional bubble wrap to keep her players on the field. The Tampa Bay Krewe rallied behind her before during and after some major-medical issues. Laura was a great Team Mom and friend to anyone that needed one.”
Long-Term Krewe Member Eric Saunders Talks about Mama T Meant to the Krewe
Long-term Tampa Bay Krewe Rugby member Eric Saunders, who has also served as a former club president and currently coaches the Krewe’s U 19 team, took time to talk about Laura Taylor, more affectionately known as Mama T, meant to the Krewe:
“I loved Laura. She was the selfless person you’d ever meet. She literally did everything for others and almost nothing for herself. How do you ask for a better person than that? God takes the good ones early. Her passing is a testament to that.”
My Personal Feelings for Mama T, and What She Meant to Me
As a rule, I avoid adding commentary of my own in what I publish for Rugby Wrap Up. However, Mama T and I were very close, and we shared many commonalities. My fraternal grandmother was born in the Anderson, Greenville, and Spartanburg area of South Carolina, commonly referred to as “Upstate” SC. So she and I shared the bond of both being from the “Deep South,” and the culture that is associated with that part of the US.
More importantly, in the three years she and I shared the Krewe family, we could confide in each other in ways that were too personal for others with the rest of our club. Back in December 2011, when she and Lee moved back to SC, I cried because I knew her smiling face, and her unmatched and passionate devotion to our team, was moving several hundred miles away.
On Wednesday, 19 April, the day I found out about her passing, I felt an emotional and physical pain at a level I had not experienced in years. I was saddened that God had called His earthly angel back home, less than a month after her 51st birthday. Writing this tribute has taken time, as knowing she has made an early trip to heaven still weighs heavily on my heart. She was a person who loved everyone, and everyone loved her. No one else can and/or will replace her devotion and dedication to the Tampa Bay Krewe Rugby Football Club.
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