"The alumni game is my favorite time of year. It’s like Christmas for
sadistic[civilized], masochistic [compassionate], alcoholics [old folks]. “
"The alumni game is my favorite time of year. It’s like Christmas for
sadistic[civilized], masochistic [compassionate], alcoholics [old folks]. “
I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that I look really tough walking around a cul-de-sac with weights over my head. You probably think that I’m an adonis, a modern day Hercules, a man so indestructible that only a cross-breed between Muhammed Ali and a cougar could take me down. But, much like Jehan, I have an older role model too. Tom Szymanski.
Now, some people take the approach of going to practice and lifting occasionally-never, but I went the other way. I lifted constantly, took tons of
roids protein, and got huuuge. And much like Tom, my tiny little labrum snapped like a twig. I know what you alums are thinking…you’re relieved that you wont have to face me this alumni game.
But you’re wrong.
I’ve been keeping in shape by joining the track team (yes, Vassar actually has a track team now), and being the best damn waterboy VC Rugby has ever seen. I may not being able to get out there on the field April 30th, but if I was an alum, I’d be very cautious about drinking the water…
Yeah, that’s me in the middle, hands on my hips, not giving a f- - - while my scrumhalf gets DEEESTROYED. But that’s ok, I come from a long line of Vassar rugby players that vacillate between too exhausted to do anything and straight up crazy man. Kind of like this guy:
In fact, Dan Zabar is my hero in more ways than one. I’ve taken to eating a diet exclusively of creamed corn and buying $35 in tchotchkes every time I go to The Galleria. We are literally a match made in heaven, whether its “supporting” a runner,
or just relaxing on the beach,
When we meet on opposite sides of the front row come April 30th, the world might just explode from too much awesomeness.
The esteemed recipient of this year’s first “Know Your Enemy” profile is sophomore lock, Ian Ruginski. He was last year’s Rookie of the Year, and the owner of one of the more unusual nicknames to ever grace the VC rugby archives— Sandwich Junction.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “What? WTF kind of nickname is Sandwich Junction?! Wait, isn’t that the name of Dave Chase’s ska band?” And to answer your question, yes, it is in fact the name of Dave Chase’s ska band. Anyone with a Kazaa account should know that, but that’s neither here nor there.
The point is that the origins of this strange soubriquet, as they relate to Ian, are actually rooted firmly in VC rugby history: 2 years ago at the 2009 Beast of the East—the Iraq War of rugby tournaments—Ian and his family graciously hosted both the men and women’s teams for dinner at their Rhode Island restaurant, named… Sandwich Junction.
WHAM! BAM! PLOT TWIST! M. NIGHT SHAMALAN!
That’s right, y’all. He got his nickname from his family-owned restaurant. It just doesn’t get any more badass than that. And for the record, the food at Sandwich Junction was excellent, and Ian’s family members are truly wonderful people, not to mention die-hard VC rugby fans. To them we will always be indebted.
Also, it should be known that I actually used to be nicknamed after an establishment owned by my family, but the name never really stuck. Apparently, “Uncle Pete’s Discount Child Coffin Outlet” doesn’t have a good ring to it. But oh well. Different strokes.
SO LOOK AT HIM. LEARN HIM. LOVE HIM. HE IS YOUR ENEMY. COME APRIL 30TH, SANDWICH JUNCTION WILL BE OUT OF BUSINESS. LOL.
I just got this Facebook message from Winston and thought I’d pass it along:
As you all know the Alumni Game is three weeks away and it’s time to get HUGE. This year’s team is a joke and we will destroy them. Especially their props. But only if we all show up.
In the past few weeks I’ve driven up to the Farm with Andrew, met Tony Brown’s ladyfriend, run into Dave on the 6 train, had an awkward conversation with Conor in a bodega, gotten a drunken voicemail from Kevin and an incomprehensible text from Squints, learned about Nick Schmidt’s latest exploits, and exchanged semi-threatening glances with Garrett at the Vassar Sesquicentennial in DC. And all of this has reminded me how much I love our team.
So let’s have a big showing this year and destroy this year’s rugby team. I heard they just lost to NEW PALTZ!!!
BOOM. It’s that time of year again, boys. In a few short weeks, the Vassar Farm will once again be the site of the ultimate battle between past and present as the old boys of Vassar Rugby, the “Big Pink,” take on the program’s current student athletes in a thrilling contest of grit, prowess, and frequent prop subbing. You know what it is: it’s the annual VASSAR RUGBY ALUMNI GAME, taking place on Saturday, April 30th.
And as the venerable elders of this storied program, it is our duty to show up and get real. That’s 80 minutes of fast paced, hardnosed rugby. No excuses. Can’t find a babysitter? Then bring the kids and have them watch. That’s right. Show little Timmy that just ‘cause Papa buys organic don’t mean he can’t cold jack a fool into next week on the pitch. And yes, afterward he may fear you, but as Mark Griffiths’ coaching tenure at Vassar reminds us, fear is the closest thing to love.
After the game, as always, there will be awards and prizes to give out, followed by one of Bear’s signature speeches, delivered by the big man himself, and co-authored by
Jack Daniels Sunny D. Then it’s time to kick back and enjoy the barbecue, put together by the wonderful, ever-amenable rugby seniors. It’s always a great place to hang out and exchange some old rugby stories: like remember that deadly push pass you threw in the B-game against Montclair State? Toss that gem by a freshman or two and watch the jaws drop. Founder’s Day, baby.
So come on out to the Vassar Rugby Alumni Game. It’s a great time to play some rugby, hang out with old pals and even relive your college days in moderation. In the weeks leading up to the game, I’ll be posting a variety of good stuff: player profiles, interviews, pictures, videos of pugs falling asleep, etc. All of it will be in good fun and geared toward getting pumped for the big day. And if you find anything vital to be missing from this blog, please let me know and I’ll do the best I can to accommodate. So help a bro out. Until then, GET AMONGST IT.
40 days until founders day! Since this is such a special year, Bear hand made his own advent calendar to count down the days until Saturday, April 30, 2011. He started it in July. But now it’s time to get serious. You have just enough time to before Founder’s Day to go from horribly-out-of-shape to just-out-of-shape-enough-that-you-won’t-get-seriously-injured.
The Alumni game this year is slated to be a special one. Not only will us Alums be laying the smack down on The Children, but Vassar College is turning 150 years old, and this year marks the 35th anniversary of the men’s rugby team and the 25th anniversary of the women’s team!
Former coach Dennis Chanmugam is returning and Tony is rumored to be going all out to ensure this Alumni Game is one to be remembered. With more Alumnae/i from both teams expected to return than ever before, you have no excuse not to. So get to the gym, stop going to Shake Shack for lunch everyday, and start loosening up those shoulders (if you start now, they should be almost ready by the time the game rolls around)!
Stay tuned to learn about your upcoming “Enemies”…
Big Pink Win Big!
The players began arriving at dawn and by the time kick-off came around the Vassar Men’s Rugby Alumni squad numbered forty! Almost 3 sides! It was the biggest turnout in years and they put on a show second to none.
Next year we hope to top the 50 mark. In fact, 2011 is Vassar’s Sesquicentennial year and there will be a gala celebration at the rugby field on Founders Day The Men’s Rugby team was the first to institute an Alumni Game and it would be so fitting to have a massive turnout to show support for the college and the rugby programs. So please, please make plans to travel and be a part of Vassar history.
On the field this beautiful sunny day the Alumni scored 9 tries and converted 5 of them to win convincingly, with the college contributing another 2 tries and both sides are to be commended for playing an open attacking game.
Vassar College Men 12 v Vassar Alumni XV 55 Vassar Tries: James Purtle (1) & Nic Placeres (1). Cons: James Purtle (1). Alumni Tries: James Cantres (3), Aaron Gilson (1), Omar Fayyaz (2), Tom Weishaupt (1), Chris Bedevian (1), & Edwin Cintron (1). Cons: Andrew Abshere (3) & Omar Fayyaz (2).
The game started with a bang as Christian Bruckhart picked up from an early scrum and the 6’6” number 8 sprinted away only to be brought down some 15 yards short of the line. He was well supported but the college managed to thwart this attack. Moments later inside center James Cantres, reunited with his old flyhalf Andrew Abshere timed a switch to perfection and Cantres exploded to get through the defense. He punctuated the try with a flourish and dived high and long and it set the tone for the first 30 minutes. Vassar attempted to move the ball wide in an effort to run the former students into the ground under the hot sun. They did manage to do so but with so many substitutes it made little difference as matters transpired.
The Alumni had a wealth of talent at their disposal and by contrast Vassar was without some usual starters. The front row shakedown between former VC captain Winston Clement and current Vassar prop Barrington Archer did not occur as Archer is scheduled to have knee surgery. Flanker Adam Steel took a knock last weekend and was unavailable to play and then the current Brewers lost captain Iain Gordon to a shoulder injury. Meanwhile behind the scrum Connor O’Neill is still out and Jake London was unavailable. But none of this should take away from the fact that the Alumni looked sharp and communicated well to produce good quick ball.
For some reason the college didn’t contest at the breakdown and then were slow to come up in defense. Both of these indiscretions allowed the Alumni to impose themselves and maintain the momentum of the first score. Aaron Gilson was next to cross and he later distinguished himself by making a try saving tackle on James Purtle when the college so desperately needed to gain some confidence. Gilson was dressed in his trademark red cleats and they were complimented by pink hooped socks - quite a sight!
The Alumni pack really began to rumble under the guidance of former captain Tom Weishaupt, before Cantres once again showed his power and pace to score. At the day’s end he would have a hat-trick of tries and was named the game MVP.
The college was struggling to make any real impact as they had little of the ball and were slow to pressure their opponents. At the half they had still to score and as is the Vassar tradition they would lose their seniors to the Alumni XV. So flyhalf Conor Boylan, center Stefan Schwartz, and prop Gui Farias took the short walk to the Big Pink team while Vassar rang the changes getting in all who had not played to this point.
In the second half the heat was definitely a factor for both teams and the pace slowed somewhat. The college did score first through James Purtle when he broke through the centers and then just kept his legs pumping with tacklers holding him and yet managed to get over. He converted his own try and Vassar’s top points scorer for 2009-10 showed that he could be a force next fall. The college was making a strong effort and maybe the Alumni had taken their foot off the gas pedal but in any event it was a much more even second period.
Nic Placeres intercepted an ambitious pass and got the team got a big cheer as Vassar kept battling. But further tries from Chris Bedevian and Edwin Cintron meant there was no way back for the undergraduates.
It was fun to talk with the former players after the game and hear them talk of their teammates exploits. Clement had scrummaged well; Jeff Rubesin had been like a terrier around the field; Abshere was cruising at 10; Cantres had a great day at 12; Doug Thomas and Ivie Higgins did the dirty work as usual; Matt “Intense Freshman” Wise blasted through a couple of times; Sebastian Denton was awkward in the front row; Luke Parker was always there at the breakdown; Anthony Baldor ran the show at 9; and everyone had their moments in the limelight.
Charlie Williams ‘80 summed up at the end of the day when he addressed everyone and thanked them for coming home. He reminded those present that the friendships forged here at the Vassar rugby field would endure all and that we should treasure such ties. It was a fitting comment as the 50 plus former students made their way over to the Founder’s Day celebrations.
Thanks to one and all for coming back, for your help on the day, but most of all thank you for your friendship and support.
VC Team (38): 15 Zach Kent 14 Nic Placeres 13 Stefan Schwartz 12 James Purtle 11 Kendall Coleman 10 Conor Boylan 9 Kris Adkins 1 Tyler Blake 2 Hal Moore 3 Gui Farias 4 Andrew Massey 5 CJ LeSueur 6 Ian Ruginski 7 Alan Kenney 8 Iain Gordon. Subs (all played): Brian Carvajal, Joe Karpman, Nik Goldberg, Jerry Dieudonne, Zach Wasser, Jehan Shams, Sam Thomas, Aaron Colton, Russell Webner, Ken Wolkin. Injured: Brett Anker, Adam Steel, Barrington Archer, Connor O’Neill, Rahul Kanade, Roku Fukui, Matt Elisofon, Nick Campbell-Seremitis, Sam Woodle. Unavailable: Jake London, Garrett Montgomery, Adam Kardon, Brandon Greene.
Alumni Team “Big Pink” (40): Skye Albert-Hall ‘98, Andrew Abshere ‘07, Anthony Baldor ‘03, Chris Bedevian ‘03, Christian Bruckhart ‘03, James Cantres ‘08, Dave Chase ‘09, Edwin Cintron ‘04, Winston Clement ‘09, Sebastian Denton ‘08, John duMoulin ‘91, Omar Fayyaz ‘09, Kevin Frodell ‘09, Evan Geoffroy ‘00, Aaron Gilson ‘07, Ivie Higgins ‘90, Rupert Johnson ‘09, Dan Kalmus ‘08, Paul Lehman ‘86, Chris Magnani ‘08, Dave McCarthy ‘05, Jake McDougle ‘05, Bruce Mendelsohn ‘91 Evan Milliken ‘04, Andrew Newman ‘87, Luke Parker ‘08, Brendan Rancier ‘05, Jeff Rubesin ‘08, Nick Schmidt ‘09, Tyler Shaw ‘98, Tom Szymanski ‘09 Will Thanhauser ‘09 Doug Thomas ‘87, Danny Thomas ‘09, Thomas Weishaupt ‘07 Brennan White ‘05, Matt Wise 08, Dan Zabar ‘06, Alec Zoeller ‘07, & Charlie Williams ‘80.
Overall record 2009-10: 6-10-1 .
Next: Fall 2010 Season.
For Immediate Release
Women’s Collegiate RugbyPoughkeepsie, NYSaturday May 1, 2010
Return of the Alumnae!They came in their droves to the field of past glories. In all 57 Alumni came back for the annual Founder’s Day Rugby game. Of that total 40 were men and 17 women and it was the best turnout in 15 years! There were former students from the 80s, 90s, and “naughties” as well as some of their children - recruiting starts early for rugby and the good news is that it’s not an NCAA violation!
It was also the hottest day of the year thus far and under a blue sky and a searing sun Dani Goodman-Levy ‘09 rallied an impressive Alumnae Women’s XV as they defeated the current students by 3 tries to nil. Kudos to Dani for making the effort to get a whole contingent of Alumnae together and they showed that they had not lost a step since graduation.
Vassar College Women 0 v Vassar College Alumnae 17Tries: Laura Redden (2) & Becca Marcus (1).Cons: Alex Milne (1).The opening exchanges were peppered with errors as the graduates struggled to come to grips with the pace of the game. There were numerous scrums following handling miscues and kicks that made for some interesting counter-attacks but all in all it was entertaining to watch.
At flyhalf for the Alumnae, Alex Milne looked very comfortable with ball in hand. But credit is due Vassar’s freshmen number 10 Hannah Bober for she tackled well and also stayed calm and collected when in possession. Laura Redden had a banner day getting a brace of tries and looking every bit the class player she was, as she wove her magical running lines like a snake slithering through the grass.
Vassar’s Emma Backe ran well from defense and might have opened her side’s scoring on a couple of forays but the Alumnae defense held as they scrambled back. Dana Wasserman can count herself as a tad unlucky for she zipped down the left wing but was brought back for a foward pass. She was not happy with the decision but she had shown a really good turn of speed and the Vassar team was now on guard.
Up front the Alumnae held an edge in the scrums with the experienced Alana Melton and Becca Marcus. These two were complimented by the effervescent Kim Nguyen. This trio put real pressure on the Vassar scrum and made life hectic for Mariko Yoshimura-Rank and Jansyn Thaw at the base of the scrum.
The duel in the lineout between Meredith Kendall and Amanda Waterhouse was a match within the match. The former, aka “Gangly” was up against the latter, aka “Waterpik”. They both rose high and scrapped for the ball with no quarter asked and none given. Only a detailed analysis of the video will establish who ruled the skies, but whatever the final count it was a dogfight worth watching and there was very little to choose between them.
The battle of the Number 8s, Goodman-Levy and Yoshimura-Rank, was also a tussle to savor. Yoshimura-Rank probably finished on the wrong end of it as she may have broken a finger and was behind a retreating pack. But both enjoyed some strong runs.
So, in the end it was Laura Redden scoring the first two tries for the Alumnae, one of which was converted by Milne, and they led 12-0. But the victory was sealed when front row forward Becca Marcus emphatically thumped the ball over the line as if to say, “Take that!” It was a deserved win for the “visitors” but just as important the current players got to see first hand the quality to which they should aspire.
Thank you to all who made the journey to Poughkeepsie and helped to make this a special day. Honorable mention goes to Margaret Keller Dimock and Olivia Taylor Bergeron as the two oldest on the women’s team. Olivia had her 3 children in tow and no doubt they were impressed with Mom’s performance when they managed a glance from their chosen activity of playing on the bleachers! (By the way, the bear pouch was found and will be returned and I hope there were no tears in the car on the ride home!) And while Margaret did not play it was wonderful of her to share her experiences at Vassar in the first years of the team with the current players. “We had a ball and a field and that was about it!”
The men’s game followed this contest and as one would imagine given their numbers it was closer to a hockey game as they ran in mass substitutions. The women will now have to get an even larger contingent next year so that they can do the same. Competition - it’s the American way!
Vassar Team: 15 Emma Backe 14 Celia Castellan 13 Sarah Fuentes 12 Julia Nissen 11 Caitlin Bull 10 Hannah Bober 9 Jansyn Thaw 1 Alyssa Bell 2 Kate Hancock 3 Nathalie duRivage 4 Dana Hart 5 Mackenzie Morris 6 Kim Beaudoin 7 Amanda Waterhouse 8 Mariko Yoshimura-Rank. Subs: Willa Conway for Caitlin Bull, Lucy Cantwell for Amanda Waterhouse, & Krissa Wiechmann for Nathalie duRivage.
Vassar Alumnae Team: 15 Lorraine DeGraffenreidt 14 Charmaine Chua ‘08 13 Laura Redden ‘09 12 Alexandra Thom ‘09 11 Dana Wasserman ‘03 10 Alex Milne ‘09 9 Marlo Messer ‘08 1 Becca Marcus ‘08 2 Alana Melton ‘09 3 Kim Nguyen ‘08 4 Meredith Kendall ‘09 5 Olivia Taylor Bergeron ‘00 6 Alexis Liakos ‘08 7 Rachael Kutikoff Zoeller ‘06. Subs: Nicole Daddazio ‘09, Danika Oriol-Morway ‘07, & Margaret Keller Dimock ‘85.
Overall record 2009-10: 6-9-1.Next: Fall 2010 Season - September 5, 2010 Opening game.