I hope this letter finds you well. We believe it is time for another club update to keep you all in the loop and involved in the greatest rugby club east of the Mississippi River. As you may have seen from the above picture, our new jerseys arrived just in time for the 33rd Annual Shamrock Rugby Tournament. I beg all alumni to read everything from the paragraph that begins “Now to Alumni businsess…” to the end of the letter.
Shamrock RFC begins our 2014 regular season on Saturday, September 13th with a match at Lehigh University. We have beat Lehigh in each of the last two semesters and plan on extending our streak on the 13th. Despite Lehigh’s hiring of a coach, we are confident in our abilities and our newest players.
Following the match against Lehigh, Shamrock RFC’s 2014 regular season schedule is as follows:
9.13 – @ Lehigh
9.20 – vs The College of New Jersey
9.27 – BYE
10.4 – @ York
10.11 – @ California
10.18 – vs East Stroudsburg
10.25 – @ Bloomsburg
11.1 – BYE
Our current board remains mostly the same:
President: Bryce Markwardt, Senior, 724.562.4404, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vice President: Chris Tumminello, Senior
Match Secretary: Ryan Abel, Senior
Treasurer: Kyle Shuler, Junior
Our new Recruiting Chair, Josh Boyd, has done a great job so far this semester, getting 27 new names at the club and organization fair. We hope many of them will stick around.
Our featured veteran is currently a senior Exercise Science Major with aspirations of graduate school to become a doctor of physical therapy. Chris “Frenchie” Tumminello wears number two on the pitch, starting at Hooker. He is 5’7” and 150 pounds and is starting his fourth year of rugby. Frenchie is also the current Vice President, was Vice President the previous year, and held the selector position last year. He has a no-nonsense aura on the pitch and a slightly less no-nonsense attitude off of the pitch.
Frenchie planting Notre Dame’s Scrumhalf’s head into the turf @ Notre Dame in 2013
Shamrock RFC’s featured young gun is in his second semester on the team. At 5’6”, 146lbs Vudthichai Phothisuk hails from Fox Chapel High School. If you were confused about that last sentence, Vudthichai Phothisuk is the player’s name. Understandably, “Short-Round” goes by several names: “Yao”, “Vudi”, “Short-Round”, “Brown Rice”, and “Lucas” are team favorites. Short-Round grew up watching rugby since sixth grade but did not start playing until junior year of high school because soccer “had his heart”. In his rookie semester of Shamrock Rugby, Short-Round worked his way into the starting fullback slot. He adds, “I remember the doubt that people had in me as a player when I first showed up around the team. When I finally got in the first game of our first tournament, it was overwhelming when we won. The drive to do better has stuck with me. Winning Rookie of the Year is also a great memory of mine, but, even more so, is the teammates I am surrounded by. They helped me transition as a transfer student.”
Short-Round (far right) is as helpful in the huddle as he is at fullback Rare evidence of Short-Round in contact
Now to Alumni business. Firstly, congratulations to the alumni for winning the 41st annual CanAm tournament this year, topping 23 other teams in their division. It is an awesome feat and adds to the legacy that is Shamrock Rugby.
Secondly, the Annual Shamrock Rugby Tournament is a tradition that has been around longer than Wrestlemania. Hundreds of Rock Ruggers have participated and thousands more from other organizations have travelled hours to compete in its glory. It’s a great experience for the club and everyone involved always has a great time. The tournament was created to be a fundraiser for the club. More imortantly, it is a way to let the Shamrock Rugby alumni community to stay involved with the organization. However, for the past couple of years, the club has not benefited monetarily. There are several reasons for this: the owners of the land we host it on raised the price they charge after an incident several years ago (although they verbally expressed appreciation for this year’s conduct), the college realignment has raised league dues for many teams and participation has lowered, etc. In addition, Men’s Playoffs are also during the spring, limiting the number of alumni who return to the tournament and teams that can participate. This year, we were unable to field a SLOBs team. This leaves the club in an undesirable predicament.
Nobody on the team wants to be the team that doesn’t host the tournament for the first time since the 1980s. However, we acknowledge that the team has started to lose money by hosting it. Several alumni have reached out to us with suggestions. I’m presenting the ideas and our own ideas to you all and hope that you email or call me with feedback.
One idea is to cut the spring tournament and replace it with an alumni match at the end of the regular season. It would eliminate the conflict with Men’s playoffs that prevents some alumni from participating in our tournament. This plan would require rapid action and active participation from the alumni. We would need a lot of feedback as soon as possible. What is attractive about this plan is that if there was a large amount of participation from the alumni and everyone decided that a tournament would still be beneficial, it gives the club enough time to plan the tournament and continue the traditon.
Another course of action could be moving the tournament to campus. This eliminates the outrageous land fee we’ve been forced to pay every year. It will raise attendence and awareness for the club. However, it brings in all of the school regulations and laws of Slippery Rock University into play, which then raises obvious risks. It would be placing a large amount of trust into the conduct of everyone in attendence. This idea only works with a social that takes place off-campus after the tournament. This past year, we had a successful and cost-effective social at Rock Falls Campground that would work for this plan. We’ve been told we are welcome back for next year.
The final idea we are considering is changing the tournament to a sevens tournament. The growing popularity of sevens is an attractivness to this option. In addition, small, emerging teams who struggle to field 15s teams might be able attend whereas teams in their position in the past have not been able to.
I’m asking you all for your feedback. The more people who contact us and give us input, the better. Nobody wants to end the tournament, but we need to make adjustments to make it work. As always, thank you for your continued involvment.
Good Cheer. Good Friends. Rock Rugby.
President, Shamrock Rugby Club
Slippery Rock University
HOW TO DONATE
Self-Support: This account can be accessed by us at any time and for any reason. Student Government does not regulate what this is used for, so we can use it for any tournament we want or anything we need at the time. Unfortunately, money cannot be sent directly to the account. To donate to this account, checks can be made out to “SRU Men’s Rugby” and mailed to our treasurer.
304 Campus Side Circle
Slippery Rock, PA 16057