On Independence day, rugby players reunite for day of matches
The Fourth of July is a special day for Americans, not least Park City rugby players. Independence Day has had a mark on local rugby calendars for decades, denoting an annual day of games in City Park.
On Wednesday, players from the Park City Haggis Rugby Club took on Humless Rugby Club, from Lindon, Utah, in front of boozy crowds and Independence day revelers young and old.
“There’s probably 3,000, 4,000 people out here after the parade, so you can’t beat that,” said Scott Orison, a Haggis player. “We love this game, and what better time than on Fourth of July?”
Orison added that on Wednesday, a large group of players came up to Park City from universities in the surrounding area, joined by a broad range of lifelong players, to reconstitute the now-defunct Humless, and bolster Haggis’ numbers.
“We have guys out here that are 18, 19; we have guys out here that are in their 50s,” Orison said.
His own son, who is 7, was waiting to play his own game, which was scheduled for between the adult matches when the older players were tired.
“He’s been bugging me all day saying ‘Hey, when’s my game?,’” Orison said.
Kory Olsen, who plays for the Utah Warriors professional rugby team as well as Haggis, said he remembered when he was on that side of the game.
“I remember coming up as a youngster; having my dad bring me up here and now I’m bringing my kids up here,” he said. “Just the whole tradition is what makes it special to me.”
Orison encouraged anyone that wanted to play to get in contact with the club. He said a group of players that was traveling through town had approached the team earlier and asked if they could join.
“Just bring your spikes – bring your cleats,” he said, adding that there were some players on the field that had come out of retirement for the game.
“Once it gets in your blood its hard to get out,” he added.
Olsen said seeing the old teammates and upcoming talent all come together made the event like a reunion.
“It’s the people that surround you that make the day,” Olsen said. “It’s the camaraderie you have with the boys and having a laugh and seeing a lot of guys you haven’t seen for a really long time. Family, I think, is the closest word to that.”
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