Despite stormy weather last week, match after match was relocated, rearranged, and otherwise brought off as countless volunteers surmounted unplayable fields and sundry other obstacles. The estimable Pelican's Beak chronicles a collective response that probably could not be replicated in the Commonwealth countries.
Truth be told, such rapid response happens all over America, all the time. But that part of this week's Beak which really belies the blinkered observations is entitled 'Youthquake'. I quote liberally:
When did ‘youth rugby’ refer to the high school game? Two years ago?No more. So sudden are the changes it feels like a wormhole opened and deposited a Youth Rugby Quadrant into Northern California. So sudden, at least, to those of us who have not been doing the work for the past five years…
NorCal high school freshmen teams will consist largely of veteran players in a few years if what happens on Sunday mornings at pitches around Pelicanland is any indication, and college coaches will be working with players who’ve been living on the oval planet half their lives soon thereafter.
But the real story: little kids are playing rugby in great numbers and you need to see it to revel in it.
Host Lamorinda put three U12 teams onto the sub-divided Pat Vincent Memorial pitch simultaneously Sunday morning to play Santa Clara, Marin and Danville. I’m told that the visiting teams could all field multiple sides were they playing at home, and in fact their kids were playing intra-squad games among the non-travelers.
When we arrived, the U10s were playing in equal numbers.
The trouble with cliches like 'sleeping giant' is usually they are out of touch, just as bromides about 'the way forward' come from those who haven't lined the fields. NorCal's youthquake phenomenon stems from myriad unnamed locals who know nothing of USARFU's strategic plans, but stop at nothing in their enthusiasm to make a game they have always loved better for their children.Quite evidently they are wide awake and working hard. It is only too bad such industry will not be visible this weekend, as world rugby's elite comes to the USA 7s.