A confession

While I must state that I have never experienced anything like the incident to which I alluded earlier. I am not without some experience of the martial homoerotism that is the sport of Rugby. After my 100 meter career ended with a series of blown hamstrings, I played a season of wingback for one of the top collegiate teams in the country.

I never really figured out all the rules, since as a wing, my only responsibility was to a) tackle the other wing if he had the ball, and b) run to touch and try to avoid the other wing if I had the ball. Simple enough.

However, I achieved some measure of distinction in my brief career as a rugger by being kicked out of my first game. I was quite shocked, having been led to believe that all was fair in love, war and rugby. What happened was that our fullback punted the ball high and deep, giving me about a forty-yard run at the Penn State winger, so I was at full-speed when I hit him shoulder-to-chest just as the ball arrived. I was about 75 percent sure I’d killed him and the crowd was going wild as our scrum had managed to come up with the ball, so I did a few repetitions of the shovel-of-dirt-over the shoulder thing, followed by firing off a few rounds in the air from a pair of imaginary six-shooters. And yes, I was prancing.

The crowd went completely berserk – we were playing at home – and the referee promptly threw me out of the game for excessive celebration. It was probably just as well, as I’m pretty sure the Nittany Lions were gunning for me after that. And on the plus side, it did cement my place on the team, which had been pretty iffy up to that point.