Editor's Note: The following piece was written by a current player. He/she has done his/her best to be objective.
Outlined against a blue-gray September sky, the Notre Dame Rugby alumni took to the pitch again. In dramatic lore, they are known as the legends of Notre Dame Rugby: Mule, Ritt-Carlton, Buddha, and their peers. In reality, the current players—the living legends—of Notre Dame quickly demonstrated their superior skills, athleticism, structure, good looks, and intellect.
An early team try by the youngsters helped push back the tide of stamping, dishonest play, and roughshod tackles of the old heads. As the battle raged, injuries took their toll on the current side.
Byron “the pint-sized power” Henry took a nasty gash on the eye from his former tutor, Andy O’Connor. David Penberthy fell victim to the pitch as his ankle turned; he left the pitch soon after. Luckily for the current players, though, his replacement—universal back Daniel Palmer—doubled the lead for the current players with a nifty piece of skill on an individual effort following some work by his teammates.
However, the craft of the wizened alumni soon took its toll on the match. Captain and team-motor Nolan Welsh was injured near the touchline as the alumni looked to remove any bearded current players from the pitch. The match continued, each deft punch returned with a vicious elbow, knee, or headbutt.
Andy O’Connor pulled one back for the alumni, followed not too long after by a team try ending fortuitiously in Chris Harrington’s hands. Many of the older alumni put forth a valiant effort as the recently graduated students tried to steal all the glory for themselves.
As the final whistle blew, Kevin “Ritt-Carlton” Ritt touched down one more try for the alumni—ending a hardly contested, vicious bloodbath.
After the match, all goodwill resumed. Ken Stinson, certainly the most prestigious of Notre Dame Rugby alumni, celebrated his 70th birthday with his rugby family, toasting to the progress on a new, rugby specific field and plans to continue to club’s financial sustainability.
Despite the hard knocks, rough tackles, and general poor refereeing, the match finished as a wonderful success. The Notre Dame Football team took inspiration from the ruggers to beat Michigan soundly that evening, and the ruggers enjoyed a fantastic alumni weekend.