Monday, January 20, 2014

A Star Is Born - Tour Magic

No rugby tour would be complete without its own quirks and traditions. As a part of our rugby travels and team bonding, special rules will be sprinkled into daily activities from always having a specific item on your person, referring to the coaches or certain players with special honorifics, buffalo drinking rules, various themes for "fancy dress" and more. Last year's Beaver team had a lot of Pitch Perfect, a Solid Gold theme for the stands, a neon themed night of adventure, sparkle headbands for all, and 'Time-Outs' all as part of the experience. The year prior saw a Glitz and Glam party complete with bedazzling and stick-on jewels for all, a "Let's Get Physical" '80s workout gear theme in the stands and more.

 Beavers at USA 7s in 2012. Had to layer over our spandex after the sun set.

This years team has a lot of players from a lot of places and has incurred so many changes in recent weeks that the full tour document hasn't been released yet. Sadly we had to abandon the "Sound of Rugby" theme in which we'd change the lyrics to all of Julie Andrews's songs to rugby-based musical numbers and dress up in the stands like the Von Trapp kids during their "Doh-Re-Me" outing in playclothes made of curtains. Plus it turns out that some of our college players have never seen the greatest musical of all time "Sound of Music"; this will be a heavy fine at kangaroo court! To keep things simple with our various playing schedules, most of the team will be rocking their finest 'Murica apparel to support the Eagles. Plus it allows this blogger the chance to wear her 1992 USA Olympic Wrestling singlet (which truly needs no special occasion to wear due to its awesomeness).

These Canadians got the Tour Theme memo

With starting a new team we get to create our own traditions and with a few of us as veterans of numerous overseas and domestic tours we have ample experiences to draw from. Wednesday night after our training/scrimmage session with the Howlers, we'll be hosting our a jersey ceremony. Star players will receive their Vegas kit and keep their numbers for life (unless they choose to will it down to a new player) and we'll keep a roster of our Star numbers for record. Come future tournaments there may be a lineup of #1, 7, 10, 28, 32, 45, 46, 53. We will also introduce Shooting Stars pairings - each player will be assigned a buddy player for the tour to trade gear, have a mentor, and have a special pump-up present or magic handshake or something special each day; partners will vary each tour to encourage more team bonding with each subsequent trip.

Thursday night features a team talent show - hey, we're all rookies so all must do a skit! This will be done in clusters of Stars pairs, 4 players performing together with an on the spot theme announced. Friday night the Open team has the chance to explore Vegas culture while the Elite team has a team dinner.... there may be a trivia session worked in somewhere along the way. Saturday's antics will depend on how the games go that morning.... the Elite team will play Sunday in the stadium if we make the finals so will be focusing on rest and recovery if that's the case. Before our team all heads back home we'll have an awards ceremony with Paper Plate awards for all and MVP/Most Potential plaques handed out. Kangaroo Court will play a big role in pre-party festivities as well.

                      Glitz and Glam Vegas 2012                  Unicorns CWRFC Fall 2012

Now, a lot of what goes on tour stays on tour - kangaroo court is an exclusive event for players to rehash all the amazing, funny, embarrassing moments on and off the pitch. The details and goings on stay in the closed session with court staying light-hearted and good-natured and most often quite hilarious. Along the course of the trip players get fined for various offenses (and sometimes credits for telling the team founder she is beautiful and other praise of that nature - but don't overdo it because kissing too much ass rounds back to fine territory). Snitches feed info to the Prosecutor who selects the best offenses and decides which cases move forward and the Defendant has to please their case. A 3-person jury deliberates on the verdict, the Judge assigns the punishment, and the Bailiff keeps order/enforces said punishments. The key to any good court lies in carefully selecting the players to fill each role. Fines can be anything from being late to training, forgetting a sports bra, hitting on opposing players/fans/refs, fines for awesome/terrible dance moves not knowing where a country is - you get the idea. Punishments can involve wearing 'special' (read: UGLY) dresses/wigs/hats, an on the spot rendition of a song/dance/poetry recital, to having to drink grog, and more. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!

 Beavers Vegas 2013. Note the sparkle shorts.
Kat's almost certainly about to be in Time Out

It is worth mentioning again that any and all team activities are meant in good jest, to build the team camaraderie and continue rugby traditions. While focusing  on wins on the field, a lot of our success will come from the chemistry of the women coming together from around the US and around the world meeting for the first time. With all the intense action on the pitch there needs to be balance off of it!

Team bonding zip lining in Fremont Square. Vegas 2012

And one final note - as a part of tour each player needs to memorize and perform on command our theme song for the trip:

Twinkle, twinkle rugby stars
Hit the scrum the ball is ours
Scrumhalf passes to the fly
Off the lineout in the sky
Twinkle, twinkle rugby stars
Scoring tries while running hard

Yep. We're amazing.

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