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This item originally appeared in the April 28, 2005 issue of The Tech Talk.


Staff Writer

The Alumni Rugby team won 37-19 in its 5th annual rugby match against the collegiate team last Saturday at the Tech soccer field.

It was a chance for the alumni to reunite with the younger collegiate players.

Chad Lester, an alumnus from Tech and a 2001 graduate, took his two-week leave from the military in Iraq to play in the rugby match in what the players called "A hooligan's game played by gentlemen."

"I arranged my leave so I could participate and celebrate the game, my anniversary and my birthday," Lester said.

Lester said it took him four days to get to the United States, and he enjoyed fostering relationships with the younger players.

"It was good to see old friends and keep the spirit of Tech rugby alive," Lester said.

Dr. James Heimdal, the faculty adviser for the Tech rugby team and an associate professor of health and exercise sciences, agreed with Lester about the true spirit of rugby.

"Rugby is a fraternity that is far larger than ours at Tech; rugby at Tech connects all of us together for the rest of our lives," Heimdal said.

Bobbie Clark, a rugby alumnus and 2003 graduate, loved playing with the younger men and enjoying the friendships.

"For me, now it's more for socializing and whipping the younger players' butts," Clark said.

Some of the younger players like James Gonzales, a sophomore biomedical engineering major, said the Tech rugby team said they understand the true meaning of being a rugby player at Tech and the friendly, yet competitive, nature of the game.

"I enjoy how competitive and rough it gets and you can see best friends on opposite teams go at each other in a high competitive nature," Gonzales said.

His teammate Justen Brignac, a senior industrial engineering major, said he agreed with Gonzales and also said he appreciates the brotherhood the team provides.

"[What] I enjoy most is the pride, hard work and brotherhood that I have with fellow teammates," Brignac said.

The Tech rugby team is always supported by the Rugger-Huggers, which are the equivalent to Baseball Belles at Tech baseball games or cheerleaders at basketball and football games.

"I love the game; I think it's fabulous," Jennie Alwell, a junior mechanical engineering major and a Rugger-Hugger for the rugby team, said. "It's just like football except a whole lot quicker."

Thomas Irvin, president of the Tech rugby team and a senior industrial engineering major, said the game showed the effort the team has put into it.

"The game showed the fruit of our labor and hard work as the Tech rugby team," Irvin said.

Heimdal said he compares rugby to basketball in a way, due to its last-minute heroics. Heimdal said, "It's like basketball because you can go up and down in scores, but it's always the last minute that counts."

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