Rugby in Bangalore: Day 1
Until a week back, all I knew about Rugby was that its a rough game, India has a rugby team and Rahul Bose plays for India. One day last week I happened to read an interview of Mr. Phil Woodward, Secretary of Karnataka Rugby Football Union. I was glad to discover that Bangalore had become the Number 1 rugby in India. This is on the back of Bangalore winning the Premier Hockey League a few months back. The interview also lead me to BangaloreRugby.com. As I was looking around in the website, I found an open invite from the team to join them for a light hearted and fun session of rugby every Saturday at a army ground in the heart of the city. I shot a mail to my gang of college friends. We have always sought to do something interesting & different on weekends. We were quite apprehensive with the thought of rugby which is considered tough and even dangerous. Nevertheless, we decided to give it a try. Though unsure what to expect, I was pretty excited to learn and play a new sport especially one which could help me stretch and workout my muscles and bones! Being in the always-sit-and-code industry makes every software engineer think of ways to stay fit sooner or later and this looked like a good opportunity.
I dropped a mail to Phil expressing our interest and he made a prompt reply inviting us to join them. We went through the rules of the game on the net and tried to relate it to whatever less we had seen of rugby on television. Come Saturday, we landed at the ground a good half an hour late, thanks to Bangalore traffic! We saw a group of 10 playing rugby and a bigger group of 30 being coached by Phil and couple of others. After a quick intro with Phil, we got an overview of the sport and started with the basics of learning the technique of passing the oval shaped foot long ball. (Did you know that, American football and rugby are a "football" because the ball is foot long unlike the reference in soccer.). The instant realisation was that the game involved lot of concentration and passing was a technique which has to be mastered just like a shot in cricket or smash in lawn tennis. It was not about brute force which was my original opinion. The next one hour, Phil, Kartik and others made us run, call for the ball, catch, align & pass; run, call for the ball, catch, align & pass; run, call for the ball, catch, align & pass, correcting and motivating us all the time. It was fun and we had a good time as we tried to do the best on day 1 with rugby. Then came the much-waited water break. It was a great feeling to have worked out and shed some sweat. We spent another 15 minutes with Karthik trying to get the swing of hands right which we had learnt by now was one of the key to playing good rugby. Everybody set out to play a game. However we opted out since our stamina index was nil and we called it a day.
We drove back home with a good experience sure to return the next week to run, call for the ball, catch, align, pass and probably more. If you are around Bangalore, I would suggest you must drop in at least once. Apart from Saturday, they play matches on Sundays. If you opt to be a spectator, you could choose the matches on Sundays.