By Woodard, Dale on August 13, 2017.
The present and the past collided nicely Saturday afternoon at the Lethbridge Rugby Club.
On the field, the present members of the LRC battled their way to a pair of wins in three afternoon Calgary Rugby Union games, while the past provided the cheering section on the patio as the club held its Alumni Weekend.
On Saturday, the present LRC members went 2-1 during their trio of games as the Women’s First Division team romped past the Calgary Saints 79-5 and the Men’s Second Division team got past the previously-undefeated Bow Valley Grizzlies 36-33, but the Men’s Third Division team fell 42-33 to the Calgary Canucks.
As the LRC slogged their way through three games under the hot sun, LRC alumnus Richard Butt recalled a day roughly 20 years ago when he and his Over-50 seniors team were called upon to play two games in one day.
“Twenty minutes each way. It was supposed to be gentle for seniors, but it was two games in one day,” he said of the games against the Calgary Irish that was also a fundraiser for the Calgary Football Union.
So what was the score in the two games?
“Who cares?” said Butt, who came to Canada from England in 1967, took a job in Moose Jaw as a teacher and is now a professor at the University of Lethbridge. “There was really good beer afterwards.
“If you’re playing rugby, you’re not working. If you’re playing rugby you’re not doing criminal stuff that you’ll end up in jail. Those are two good reasons for playing rugby. In fact, it saved me from jail. I grew up in the slums of England and rugby basically kept me off the streets.”
Standing with Butt and taking in the afternoon games and sunny conditions, fellow alumnus Rich Cuthbertson noted the diversity on the field.
“What I would say about this, right here, is when I look out over the deck I’ve got girls that used to play for me,” he said. “Richard’s son played for us. You have a family affair here today. There are old boys from Medicine Hat that are making up the team here. There are old combatants we used to have out of the old Armed Force Base in Medicine Hat playing for us. We’ve got Fiji-ans and English on board. It’s multi-national. It’s a great place to do that.”
On Saturday, the view from the patio looked good from both of the alumni’s perspective.
“Well, we’ve been in the spectators role for a while now,” said Cuthbertson. “The spectator role is terrific.”
The Men’s Division 2 team is back at the LRC next Saturday when they host the Calgary Saints.
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