Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Last weekend saw two teams from the UK join us for another great tournament of rugby in Warsaw! The Actonians from London and Abertyswygg from the Welsh valleys made Warsaw their tour destination, and the Warsaw Mermaid will never be the same. Friday night’s festivities began at Metal Bar in the Olde Towne where the Actonians didn’t waste any time skulling the dangerously strong Polish beer. In a brilliant stroke of luck, a group of Norwegians visiting Warsaw sat at a table adjacent to theirs. Consequently, the more outgoing (inebriated) Actonians didn’t waste any time acquainting themselves with these blonde, blue-eyed Viking desendents. When asked why they had bought the Norwegian girls so many drinks, the Actonian’s fly-half said, “Because they were so afjordable!”

At one point in the evening, Polish military officers came to tell us to settle down because, according to them, our behavior was threatening to Poland’s national security. Surely if we were to have continued our behavior, the devastating consequences would have included full-blown nuclear holocaust … we were singing! After Domo assured the MPs in Polish that we would behave, he turned to the Actonian players and told them that as he was a soldier who outranked the MPs, we wouldn’t have any more problems with the Polish military ordering us to quiet down. In hindsight, it was a brilliant ploy on Domo’s part to have the rest of his beers purchased for him by the awe-struck Actonians.

After the Olde Towne antics, the Actonians set out to find if all of the sex, drugs & rock and roll rumors of Polish nightlife were true. They later commented that they felt like fat kids in a paczki shop!

Meanwhile, a group of rag-tag Frogs met on Foksal to make sure we didn’t get too much of an edge over the soon-to-be extremely hung-over Actonians. A certain young member of the Ravensdale family bought the first round: an entire bottle of Jameson poured into a pitcher and mixed with a splash of Coke. Needless to say, our eyes widened and reddened and mouths gaped and filled with drool. We were sitting outside the patio at Tam Tam chanting “Tom! Tom!” Soon the fine wait staff had had enough of our drinking and singing and hinted that we should send our raucousness someplace else. On our way across Rondo De Gaul, British Ben noticed a blow-up doll straddling the palm tree in the middle of the round-about. Dipping, dashing and diving through traffic like a real-life game of Frogger, Massachusetts Mike and the aforementioned Ravensdale secured the doll to add one more to our growing entourage. At the first stoplight, Tom couldn’t restrain himself. He ran up to the first car and pressed the doll’s torpedo shaped fun bags against the back passenger side window. When he finally moved the doll’s jugs away from the window, I caught a momentary glimpse of a terrified pale-faced girl sitting in the back seat who must have immediately felt the onset of multiple personality disorder designed to put the extremely traumatic moment safely into the deepest recesses of her mind. He then turned to the next car and seeing a lonesome male sitting in the driver’s seat, he tried to stuff the doll through the sun-roof.

From there it was down Plac Trzech Krzyzy passing the famous Spilka, Sparka, Spolka restaurants. On the patios lining the street were a hundred or so people enjoying a midnight drink at this cultural hotspot in Warsaw. Suddenly, along we came waving with our artificial Rugby Queen (did I mention she was wearing a G string?). Soon laughter began to erupt from the patio tables. Caught up in the moment, British Ben attempted to wedgie the doll and ended up splitting her in half, literally! As the laughter from the crowd died down, baby Ravensdale draped the deflated plastic corpse across the shoulders of the last woman seated on the patio. A hush came over the crowd. “What is she going to do?” everyone whispered. Unwittingly, he had found the one Polish woman in the city who didn’t mind being assaulted by a deflated blow-up doll, and she even threw it across her neck like a boa, which resulted in more side-splitting laughter from the crowd! Still fearing retaliation, we made a mad dash for the next venue and left the craziness behind us… for the night.

Saturday afternoon saw three extremely hung-over teams stumbling to Skra just in time to get suited and booted and throw their bodies on the line in the blazing hot sun. For the first game, the Frogs faced off against the Actonians, and though the Actonians’ fly-half couldn’t kick-off to save his mother’s life, we somehow got the match rolling. Unfortunately we needed to whore on a scrum half and a fullback from the Welsh team, and these were the players that proved to be the weak link letting two easy trys go through. It really wouldn’t have mattered much except for the fact that we lost the game by exactly two trys! Isn’t rationalizing great?

The next game was a heated competition between the two touring sides. As the smell of alcohol sweat, rotting teeth and old socks wafted from the Welsh team, there was no question as to who had the upper hand at the beginning of this second match. Sure enough the Ausie, Kiwi and Sith African strong Actonians got to an early lead and kept slamming it in. Tired, hung-over and losing, a Welsh player was seen giving a frustrated “O’ Doyle” style head-butt to one of the Actonians, which was followed by a resounding “BOOOO!” from the crowd.

As usual, the Frogs were well up for it during the final match against the Welshies. After repeatedly pounding the ball down their throats, scoring try after try and basically taking the piss out of them during the first half, the Welsh team did something this writer has never seen in his 12 years of playing rugby: they forfeited! Again the knackered and soon-to-be defeated Welsh couldn’t take it anymore and refused to walk back onto the pitch after halftime. The Frogs and Actonians on the sidelines, seeing that they had brought 40 guys on tour and still couldn’t finish a match, were dumbfounded. Captain Fergal Buttimer was furious and demanded monetary compensation from the team. It was never given.

At the BBQ following the tournament, the Bone Cruncher award was given to a player from each team for excellence in hitting. AK-47 (a Romanian national with 23 caps for his country’s national rugby team) received the award for the Actonians for nearly putting me into a coma, Jeff (the only Welsh player to have any gas whatsoever) received the award for Abertyswygg, and our own monster Mr. G collected the award for the Frogs (though we would still like to see him hit during games with the same intensity as he does in training). “Down in One You Zulu Warrior” was the soundtrack to their award ceremony.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The past two weeks have been an intensive time for all the frogs and frogettes as we reached the pinnacle of the Frogs’ 2008 calendar - the Warsaw 10s.

The date was the weekend of May 2nd to 4th. The venue was SKRA stadium, Warsaw. The 10s committee had lined up a packed timetable of tournament games and social events that kicked off with meet and greet drinks on Friday night at Ground Zero. Teams from England, Ireland, Poland, Belgium and the US came and fraternised together over copious amounts of alcohol as they warmed up for the next day’s play.

The teams began turning up on Saturday morning looking somewhat bedraggled but ready for the group stage. Unlike the previous year, fortune favoured the 10s as it stayed warm and dry making it good Rugby weather. Team tents had been set up the night before, and a constant stream of beer and food was available to everyone. As the 10s is also about families, a bouncy castle and horse riding stance was laid on for the kids. Tom Ravensdale also sponsored the wonderful “gentleman’s club” tent with fake moustaches and jackets as entry requirements. Domo was in his element doing a great job of MC-ing the event from his “command” tent. His dulcet tones echoed across SKRA for the entire two days.

Some of the usual suspects were playing including the Spaniels, a rag tag bunch of whoever is not too drunk to play – although that didn’t stop some. Rugby club 9 from Belgium quickly built a reputation as the most raucous team pitch side with oodles of rugby songs and drunken behaviour. For the Frogs, many old faces turned up: Ranjan playing for the Tigers, Metin was drinking beer, and Kenny who was referreing a game or two.

After the first day, the Frogs finished with a clean sheet along with the Godfathers, an ex-university team from England. Other competition favourites were Cushman and Wakefield, and the London Irish.

The Saturday night venue was Browarmia, and the drinking and Rugby songs reached a crescendo in this claustrophobic underground dungeon. The night turn a little strange when Murf, went to relieve himself in the gents (toilet to non-Brits) only to be confronted by the sight of penises dipped in beer. After initially fearing he’d stumbled across an impromptu VD clinic using beer as a steriliser, he learned from the man in pain that some high jinx was going on and someone had spread ultra painful chilli spray on his skin so when he went for a leak, the chilli made contact with his family jewels and several pain barriers were broken. Worried that he too may have some on his fingers, Murf used some ingenious lateral thinking and asked a rather willing man in tight leather trousers to help him in his efforts siphon-the-python.

The Sunday, saw more great Rugby with a particularly highly charged semi-final between London Irish and The Godfathers. Clearly there was no love loss between these teams as the Godfathers, with their all black tight-fitting almost homo-erotic kit, squared up to the hard nosed London Irish. It didn’t take long before tempers flared in an otherwise congenial tournament. A major fight broke out after a high tackle from a Godfathers player floored one of the London Irish on a driving run. Play stopped as fists flew and a melee began to spiral out of control. For some unknown reason, the fight triggered the whole Belgian team to get naked and do a full streak up the pitch, around the goal posts and back. The shock of seeing fifteen anaemic looking bodies flying across the field not only left a horrifying mental imprint on the innocent minds of children playing on the bouncy castle - some of whom instantly burst into tears - but it had an unexpected a side effect of pacifying the fighting teams. Whether the brawling teams were stunned or amused is difficult to figure out but one thing’s for sure, they resumed play without another fight. The Belgians, of course, were completely oblivious to the effect on either the players or the childrenC:\Users\Karim\Desktop\100OLYMP\belgiens2.jpg

The effects didn’t go unnoticed by one spectator. Apparently a member of the Polish delegation to the UN Security Council, he was suitably impressed by the power of fifteen naked drunk Belgians. He was overheard saying that he’ll raise this in the UN assembly next week and wants to consider deploying groups of naked drunken Belgian Rugby plays to major conflict zones around the world. High priority would be to send them streaking through the streets of Baghdad and the Lebanon in order to pacify recent insurgent activities.

The blistering pace of the 10s started to catch up on Domo as he was caught taking a nap whilst standing up – oh and smoking. However, Domo came to life when he spotted one of the players on the “Refs” team who had a bigger belly than him. Domo is quoted as saying “I’m not judging the man on weight but mine is firmer than his. His one just flops down”. Let’s hope he was just referring to his belly!

The final was played out between the Frogs and the Godfathers. The Frogs played hard and were the crowds’ favourite; however the boys in black prevailed and won 21-5. In the evening everyone retired to the Boathouse, for more beer, more food, medals and honours and the charity auction which combined with the whole tournament raised 20,000 PLN for charity.

Since then the Frogs have not been resting on their laurels, and played last weekend against a touring team from North Manchester. The boys played well and another good turn out with player numbers. Tom Ravensdale came out of the woodwork to play and get the old bones moving, scoring a try to show he’s still got it. The day finished with a win for the Frogs. With a packed fixtures schedule for the rest of May and June, it looks like more fun times ahead for the Frogs.