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Evan Ream: Joining the Davis Rugby Club

It’s crazy in life how the smallest and most random single interactions or moments can lead to something bigger.

365体育官网My two best friends to this day are just two kids I sat next to on the first day of kindergarten.

But I was only in kindergarten in Davis because the cutoff date to enroll in Miami, where I previously lived, was 16 days before my birthday.

And then we moved to Davis in the correct neighborhood to go to Pioneer and my mom selected the morning kindergarten class — rather than the afternoon — and I was placed in one of the two rooms where I would immediately meet those future best friends.

I had another interaction like that the other day at Lamppost Pizza and because of it, I’m now in the Davis Rugby Club. Rugby is a sport I never365体育官网 thought I would try.

Because I’ve lived in Davis for almost 25 years — and because of my involvement in the schools, the youth sports community and the newspaper — I frequently run into people who know me, but I can’t quite place.

While taking a phone call outside of Lamppost, a man caught my eye so I assumed he knew me and that it would be impolite for me not to say hi.

Of course, the reason I didn’t recognize him, Darren McCaffrey, in this case was because I actually had never met him before, but hey, he happened to be there with his fellow rugby players and we started a conversation that ended with him inviting me out to play.

So I did, and what an experience.

365体育官网Even though they only play touch, I don’t think I’ve ever been as tired in my life as I was the first time I went out to play in their weekly Wednesday night games.

365体育官网I can do soccer running, but I really struggled with the constant stops and starts that usually lasts just an hour in their game.

I sucked, but no one cared because the whole purpose of the club is to have fun and grow the game as much as possible.

Despite rugby having a strong history in Davis, McCaffrey only started the club four years ago after a few chance interactions of his own.

One of his kids happened to go to the same elementary school as a kid whose mom had gone to high school with his youngest brother and so he struck up a conversation with that mom, who just happened to have an Australian husband, Ben Wood, who grew up playing rugby.

365体育官网Shortly thereafter at the Co-op, McCaffrey ran into a Woodland native named Matt Ginsburg, who he used to play club rugby against.

Together, they put together a game and the rest is history.

365体育官网“I was thinking to myself that I had to find some kind of regular exercise,” McCaffrey said. “I’ve tried going to the gym, tried jogging and some things will stick, but none of that is all that much fun.”

365体育官网So because of those random meetings, somewhere between 10 and 20 people gather every Wednesday night around 6 p.m. at Community Park.

Right now, it gets dark early, so the club brings its own lights, so you can kind of see — luckily we used a ball with a pink tip last week so you could at least see it right before it hit you in the face.

I’ve found the sport intricacies as challenging as I’ve found the people involved trying to be patient with me.

365体育官网I’m learning every week and while I don’t know if I’ll ever be good, just the camaraderie has been worth it — I’ve already been invited to watch football on Sundays after hanging for a weekly postgame slice at Lamppost.

“The one thing that I always try to communicate to people that are interested is really that it’s about having fun and meeting new people and coming out and either sharing the love for the game you already know or learning a new game because rugby is a game that not many people are exposed to in the states,” McCaffrey explained. “Many of the people who play with us are people who have never played but now follow a team or a league with other friends who are now playing. It’s just a fun thing to do.”

The 1994 Davis High grad added: “There are a lot of people who played rugby in Davis. It has had at certain times in its history a great rugby culture. Partly because I’m not the best networker or do anything on social media, I haven’t found all of them.”

I hope he does find all of them. Sorry, I hope we find all of them, because I’m making this my weekly Wednesday tradition.

And I hope at least one other person reading this column will discover rugby as well.

(For more information about the Davis Rugby Club, email McCaffrey at [email protected])

— Evan Ream’s column publishes Sundays. Reach him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @EvanReam.

Evan Ream graduated with a B.A. in journalism from Southern Oregon in Ashland, Ore. He loves soccer more than any person rationally should. "Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure them it is much more serious than that." - Bill Shankly

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