Rugby is Canceled!

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We were hit with an unprecedented global pandemic this past March: Rugby was canceled! The infamous COVID-19 virus, more commonly known as the coronavirus wreaked havoc throughout the world. According to the news, the virus was spreading through China since Thanksgiving. In my ignorance, I assumed we would be ok because SARS, Zika, Bird Flu, and tons of other diseases came and went. I did a deep dive into all things COVID and nothing I read indicated it would affect America.1

I had an action-packed season planned for the spring.2 Our first match was against the Virginia Beach falcons. We showed up a few people short due to last-minute cancellations.3 We held our own and had a hell of a time. VB loaned us a few guys that were great help, but they couldn’t help us secure the win.4 The social was lively and full of song and drink. The almost the perfect beginning to the season, but little did we know that this would be our only match of the season.

Following VB a few of us traveled down to Savanah, GA for the St. Pat’s Rugby tournament. When we checked into the Air B&B we were greeted with Coronas.5 We stayed up late catching up and drinking. In typical D3 rugby fashion, we showed up to our first match short players and hungover. We pick up a few stragglers and made it a glorious rugby day.6 Downtown Savanah was a madhouse. All the ruggers filled the streets of downtown Savanah. Some wore themed costumed and others wore very little. The Roanoke team we teamed up with dawned their Hawaiian shirts and a prosthetic arm mascot.

The following day as we are heading out of town, my carpool buddy gets a notification that someone tested positive for corona at a local hospital. I felt like Brad Pit on the helicopter watching Israel fall to zombies. My heart sank a little, but I thought we dodged a bullet. Even then I still didn’t think it would turn out to be a big deal. 

The following week was going to be our first official match of the season against the Baltimore-Chesapeake Brumbies. I knew the team was excited for rugby.7 Not everyone was able to travel for our preseason, but I had higher hopes for a larger turn out in against BC. We practiced normally on Tuesday, but Thursday was when the hammer was dropped. Corona was no longer a joke and now a real threat.8 After 2 days of promoting our first match, I had to report that it had been canceled.9 I felt dirty announcing that to the club. I felt like I robbed them even though the situation was out of my control. 

Rugby is still canceled, but there’s hope on the horizon. The county is beginning to open non-essential businesses and allow restaurant dining. There are still signs that cases are beginning to rise since the curve was flattened. Honestly, it has been nearly 4 months without rugby, and I’m willing to risk it. I will play in a wetsuit and mask if I have to. The things we do for love...

  1. I even researched how china was printing new currency to avoid transmission and keep the economy moving. I heard Bill Gates’ warnings. I saw the Videos of them disinfecting the streets and I still thought, “Nope, not America!”
  2. I was pretty aggressive with the scheduling. I didn’t plan many bye weeks 
  3. We went from having 23 guys for the match to have 13 game day.
  4. Or wouldn’t.
  5. The joke of the weekend was building immunity to the virus by drinking corona.
  6. Each team was scheduled to have 2 matches. I whored out and played 5 matches, 2 of which were with VB.
  7. Not so much for practice though.
  8. The news reported that hospitals were at capacity and deaths were rising.
  9. I was getting flashbacks of canceling our fall season opener against Nova.