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Vicars Recap - RFC 1990 USA Tour

Date: April 27, 2011

Author: Jim Norris


By 1990 the Vicars were a fairly well established club, We had been playing from 1984 until 1990 in more and more organized  ways.  We displayed many of the attributes of a club that could look forward to the future with some degree of confidence. We were a tight group, we displayed great camaraderie which continues until today, we won more than our fair share of games in an organized league, and we were having fun. At the same time we began to think about how we could advance as a club and provide a more complete rugby experience for our club mates.

One of these additions would be a club house, but we knew in those early days that would have to wait. But we also knew that strong and mature rugby clubs went on tour. We began to believe that we should be one of those clubs.

Tours were hard to organize in those days. Hardly anybody had email and we talked on telephones that had cords attached. Google was still 6 years away. We didn't know who played Old Boys Rugby outside of BC and contacts were mostly based on rumour, personal contacts and hope. From our end we didn't know if we could get enough players to go. But we knew we wanted to go in the spring to somewhere warm, for about 7 or 8 days and be back home for about $1000 or $1200 .

It worked. We took over 40 players from the Vicars, Trail Colonials, Prince George Nads, Fort St John Moosemen and various other clubs and we went to Dallas, Texas and Albuquerque, New Mexico.  We played Dallas RFC Oldies, beat them and had a great day. Then we played the Texas Old Hats the next day. It was a hard shift at the coal face, but we came out on top.

Then we flew to Albuquerque, and met the Anasasi. This was one of the games that lives on in Vicars lore. We played on a baseball diamond, and they were putting up the goal posts of PVC pipe when we arrived. By halftime we were well behind. Then the One Ton Scrum appeared, in which Kasper had to play #8 because he was too small to play 2nd row. With Don Hooper, Joe Saibelly, Kasper, Marty Godsmark, Johnno Johnstone, Bob Dalley, Al Perry and other tough sobs dominating the set and loose play, Mark McCulla at standoff kicked into the box all through the second half at 6000 feet of altitude. It took forever for the ball to come down. The forwards arrived at the breakdown and we won the game at the death. We'll never forget that night.

We also remember what it meant to be on tour, now embedded in the collective memory of the Vicars. We remember the games and the wins. But we also remember the other things from that tour. On the way in from the airport in Dallas, we saw the Texas Book Depository, a big memory for people of our generation. We saw the way those southerners loved St Patrick's Day and green beer and we drove around with guys who had guns in their cars. We went to Santa Fe.  Mostly we remembered their wonderful hospitality, which included TexMex food and really bad country music. Most importantly of all we realized what it meant to a club when we toured together.

So we came home. We came in under budget. We had a great time and we continued to think about whether tours are part of a strong rugby club. We wondered if we would ever do this again. Time would tell!

 
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