According to this posting on the Vassar website, the men’s rugby team lost in their first match with an Irish team. I don’t know enough about rugby or its scoring system to figure out how close the contest really was, but it appears that Russell was put into the game after Vassar’s captain was injured.
The report does not describe post-game festivities, but I understand from Russell that the team members were expected to learn songs about America — like Woody Guthrie’s This Land Is Your Land — to sing to their Irish opponents during the after-match libations. Let’s hope the Vassar lads were in good voice.
Russell and the Vassar rugby team are leaving today for a spring break tour of Ireland, where they will face off against a series of Irish rugby teams.
The Vassar college athletics website provides some detail on the tour. The team will start off in Dublin, where they will play a match against Dublin City College, and then will travel to Cork for matches against Kinsale and Fermoy.
My understanding of rugby (which admittedly is sketchy) is that enjoying a frothy adult beverage is a crucial part of the experience. While they are in Dublin, the Vassar squad will have that opportunity and be able to quaff a Guinness at the home of that legendary brew. This is entirely appropriate, because the Vassar sports teams are called the Brewers after Matthew Vassar, who made his fortune as a brewer. When the team visits Cork they may have the chance to visit the nearby Blarney Castle, bend over backwards, and kiss the Blarney Stone, which supposedly confers the gift of eloquence. Even better, the team will be able to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Cork, which has a St. Patrick’s Day Festival and lots of fine pubs to toast the man who according to legend drove the snakes from the Emerald Isle. If their tongues aren’t loosened by the Blarney Stone, a few pints of Harp should do the trick.
Erin go bragh, by the way, is Gaelic for “Ireland until doomsday.” For the Vassar rugby team, the day after a well-celebrated St. Patrick’s Day may well feel like doomsday.