Monday, August 27, 2007



We apologize for those who checked their e-mail repeatedly last week, awaiting an edition of HP that did not arrive. Your writer’s father died and needs must. An appreciation for this great man follows the rugby news.


The Reno Tournament emerges from a ten-year slumber this coming Labor Day weekend, on Saturday and Sunday.

As you can see, the lineup of teams looks pretty good. There will be two pitches in action all day Saturday and most of Sunday.

At present, we have four referees for Saturday and three for Sunday. WE REALLY NEED THAT FOURTH SUNDAY REF – which would mean that every referee ‘only’ does every-other-game for two days.

And of course, it would be great to have two more refs each day – then it would only be every third, which is still a lot of games to do at altitude and out of season.

If you can make it to Reno for either Saturday, Sunday, or both, please let us know!

We hope to see you there.

Refs are still needed for September 8 as well in Santa Rosa and San Francisco.


Saturday, August 18, Rocca Field
Report by Lois Bukowski:

About 60 women celebrated rugby on a sunny, breezy Saturday on Treasure Island. The Women's National Team coach Kathy Flores and Women's Grizzly coach Alex Williams created four very competitive teams (Harlotfest-style) comprised of Eagles, Grizzlies, club, and college players. There were plenty of strong runners, passers, support runners, and tacklers--producing multiple tries by each team in the four matches. The level of play was actually quite high for pre-season players who hadn't worked together before. The tournament featured lots of conviviality--including a one-hour lunch break in the clubhouse--and a tournament T-shirt with a large blue Pelican.

Speaking of Pelicans, we were fortunate to have three referees (Bjorn Stumer, Pete Smith, and Lois Bukowski), four touch judges (Isaac Caselis, Eric Rauscher, Leo Loh, and Preston Gordon), and two referee coaches (Lois B and Dave Williamson). At the close of festivities, the players joined in an appreciative applause for a job well-done by the Pelicans.


Add John Coppinger to the list of Pelicans migrating this autumn:

September 8: Jim Crenshaw to New York City
September 15: Joe Leisek to Boston and Aruna Ranaweera to Aspen
October 6: John Coppinger to New York City
October 22-26: Pete Smith to the Armed Forces Championships at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina
Early November: Don Pattalock to Virginia

Of course, Paul Bretz and Aruna Ranaweera both worked the National All-Star Sevens in Park City this past weekend.

We are in the process of selecting two exchangees to Victoria, British Columbia, for the extended Thanksgiving weekend.


From Ed Todd:

“I have excellent tickets (see purple section) for the following RWC matches. If you know any interested party they are available at cost.

“USA v England (2) @ $100 each, September 8 in Lens
USA v Tonga (2) @ $35 each, September 12 in Montpellier
USA Samoa (4) @ $35 each, September 26 in Saint-Etienne”

Contact Ed directly:


I would ask my readers to indulge me in some thoughts about the man who brought me to a place where I may be useful to others.

My father made his career keeping the public safe from radiation exposures of various kinds, from the South Pacific hydrogen bomb tests in the fifties to consumer products.

He had careers with the US Army Air Corps, the US Public Health Service and the Environmental Protection Agency. After returning to his alma mater, Georgia Tech, he taught and was a mentor to the next generation of radiation safety experts. Retiring as a professor in 1988, he pursued private consulting and served for four years on a governmental advisory board by the appointment of President Reagan.

Because of his particular pursuits, we lived in Las Vegas when I was a kid, which was near the Nevada Test Site. (There is now a fascinating museum just off the Strip dedicated to the NTS.)

Mom used to take us up on the slopes of Mount Charleston to watch pre-dawn, above-ground atomic bomb tests. We had insider information on when they’d be going off, you see.

The nuclear genie released from the lamp awes even from sixty miles away. Among its powers are those to create lasting memories in the mind of three-year old boys.

My father’s was a rare expertise in how to handle radiation accidents, anything from leaking static-electricity neutralizers on assembly lines to Chernobyl.

Industry clamored for his services in times of need.

Someone once happened to have an active Geiger counter near his new car and couldn’t imagine why it should be so vociferous. The car was radioactive. Who you gonna call?

Mel Carter could sort this type of issue out and be home for a family dinner.

It was the paint; it was a particular ingredient in the paint; large revolving vats used to fractionate sludges of kaolin for this industry were, over time and solely by physical and chemical methods, neatly concentrating the naturally-occurring nuclides in the base minerals. He could elucidate such conundrums and devise cost-effective ways for remedying them, containing potential exposures, and adding to our knowledge of such processes.

He was the first foreigner the Soviets invited to Chernobyl, to advise them in containment and decontamination.

My parents married young and not till my mother’s death in 2005 did they part, more than fifty-eight years later. Five children, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren survived them.

I was fortunate to be part of a stable nuclear family which enjoyed a long half-life.

I've had a very blessed existence, most of it due to things I was given and took for granted. I don't take them for granted any more, which is perhaps my father's last gift to me.

Following are the words I spoke in memorial at my father’s funeral, at the church which provided my parents sustenance and succor for thirty-five years:


Glory to God our father.

When I was young, I read somewhere that a boy didn’t become a man until his father died. It might have been Hemingway, or Norman Mailer, or any other of the godless authors that I invited into my head at my own peril, but I have to admit that there was a time when such intellectual and solipsistic bilge struck me as profound.

How could that young fool have foreseen this day?

When I look at the life of my father, the first man I knew and the one I came to know best, several facts about his manhood become clear:

He was mindful of his gifts and gave thanks;

He devoted himself to his wife, to her comfort and security, and together they walked in faith;

He was fruitful and he multiplied, bringing children into the world and raising us up in the church;

He dedicated himself to teaching and to helping others, dealing literally with the public health, applying his God-given gifts for the greater good;

He formed friendships which remain fast and will follow him henceforth;

And he lived a life of love, selflessness, forbearance and grace even as his magnificent mind, pillaged by dementia, fell into ruin.

Far from my father’s death being required for me to become a man, all that was ever necessary was for me to examine his life, blessed as I have been with his heritage and his example.

To keep the commandment to honor my father, I need only emulate him:

To acknowledge God’s grace;

To hold my marriage sacred;

To love my children and my grandchildren;

To help others;

To be ever a good friend;

And to accept with gratitude God’s plan in this life.

I am so lucky to have been entrusted to such a father.

For me and my four siblings, the first six words of the Lord’s Prayer have taken on an additional meaning.

When we leave here, we are going to take my dad and place him next to his bride so that they can hold hands.

Now, for my brothers and sisters and me, in memory yet green and as manifested in our own persons, Mel and Ann are again and forever more as they most wished to be: one.

All glory to God our father.


First Line of Defense
(photo courtesy of

At the weekend’s Sevens National All-Star Championships, Aruna Ranaweera seems to have resolved the dilemma between refereeing behind the offense or behind the defense by a compromise position.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, August 14, 2007




The SF/Golden Gate rugby club did very well at the Sevens nationals, finishing fourth.

On Saturday, they won all of their pool games including one against defending champs OMBAC, and then defeated Milwaukee in the quarter-finals.

In the semi-final Sunday morning they opened strong against Chicago Lions: they scored three tries and were ahead 19 – 0 with not so much as a single tackle having been made in the game.

Chicago rallied, came back to tie the game, and then won it in overtime. This momentum then propelled them to the title over OMBAC.

The Olympic Club and Hayward played each other for 11th place on Sunday. According to the USA Rugby website, Hayward won 26 – 10. However, AmericanRugbyNews and eRugbyNews both show Olympic winning 24 – 10.

Paul Bretz was the lead referee at this event, as he will be at the All-Star Sevens championships in Utah in two weeks.


August 18:
Tens Tournament at Treasure Island, hosted by the All Blues
This will be played on Rocca Field. Players have registered individually and will be distributed onto teams Harlotfest-style. Play is anticipated from 10 until 4.

So far, we have one who has volunteered to coach or run touch. That leaves us needing referees. Ready to run?

September 1-2:
The Biggest Little Rugby Tournament in the World:
The newly-reborn Reno Tournament (fifteens) will be played the first weekend in September. Hotel rooms will be available for refs. Sign up now!

September 8:
For Pete’s Sake Tournament in Santa Rosa
One pitch, all day.

The All Blues will also be playing two games this day, against Belmont Shore and Sacramento.


NCRRS Recruitment Officer Rob Hendrickson is launching a new initiative in conjunction with the NCRFU to increase our ranks of referees.

The beauty of the plan is that he needs your help: Rob wants to match existing referees up with teams, so that each team can be approached at training and given a ‘sales pitch’. This would entail attending their training or a pre-season team meeting once or twice.

This is probably the most important thing you can do for the future of our society this year.

Here is Rob’s announcement:

“We are expanding our referee recruitment efforts this fall, including having a referee meet with each team in an effort to recruit from our best source for new candidates, etc. To support and facilitate that effort, please respond to recruitment officer Rob Hendrickson ( with the following information:

“Your name
Your home address
Where you work (i.e., what city)
A brief description of how and when you got into refereeing
Which team(s) (in NorCal) you played for, coached or are otherwise affiliated with
Any particular team(s) you would like to be assigned to
Would you be willing to work with more than one team
Whether you are willing to be a mentor for a brand-new referee
Would you be able to travel, expenses paid, to one of the outlying teams for this purpose”


Jim Crenshaw will be refereeing the New York Athletic Club against the Boston Irish on September 8. This is another fixture of the autumn league being played among half a dozen of the East Coast super league teams. (Joe Leisek is doing a game in this competition in Boston a week later.)


Get your World Cup party started a few weeks early!

Two parties will be held this Saturday evening for members of the USA World Cup team, to send them off in style for the match with Munster and the assembly in France.

The first soiree begins at 6 PM at the SF/Golden Gate clubhouse, hosted in honor of Tasi Mounga and Thretton Palamo.

Then, at 7:30 at O’Flaherty’s Pub in San Jose (25 North San Pedro St.), Todd Clever will be toasted and wished well.


Pelican Pete, the world's largest pelican, celebrates his 50th birthday on August 18, 2007:

And here’s a Big Pelican from Queensland:

A Dance to Something
Do not neglect body and soul during the off season. Sunrise tai chi, as demonstrated here by one of our feathered favorites, is not a bad way to start the day.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris

Tuesday, August 07, 2007




August 11-12:
The USA Rugby Sevens Club Championships
Paul Bretz will be the lead referee for this event. Hayward, SF/Golden Gate and the Olympic Club will be among the sixteen teams vying for the title.

August 18:
Tens Tournament at Treasure Island, hosted by the All Blues
We are told this will be played on one pitch. Three or four referees will be needed. Let us know if you would like to help out.

Santa Barbara Sevens: SoCal has asked for referees to help with this event. It is played in a lovely setting and would make a nice weekend trip. We can put those interested in touch with the appropriate folks.

September 1-2:
The Biggest Little Rugby Tournament in the World:
The newly-reborn Reno Tournament (fifteens) will be played the first weekend in September. Hotel rooms will be available for refs. Sign up now!

September 8:
Tri-Tip Sevens in San Luis Obispo
NorCal refs are always welcomed at this delightful tournament. Please let us know if you’d like to make the trip down to the Central Coast.


Nineteen people attended Pat McNally's sevens talk Friday at the Golden Gate clubhouse.

For a meeting starting at 9:30 on a Friday evening, such dedication speaks well of the Society, as well as the three All Blues players in attendance.

Pat reviewed his experience in his first year as Sevens referee development officer for USA Rugby, and presented a talk on the differences between refereeing Sevens and fifteens.

This visit to the Pacific Coast wrapped up a summer tour of all seven territories for Pat, with the club and all-star nationals to follow.

What a lucky fellow!


The final day of the Palo Alto series is always bittersweet for those in attendance.

After we turn the corner into August, dawn tarries and dusk steals the shank of the afternoon. Europeans might consider this the peak month for summer vacation but Americans, forward-looking and industrious, are preparing themselves and their children for back to school and thinking more towards the autumn.

NorCal rugby beats with the same pulse. When Palo Alto ends, the dog days begin.

At no time is this feeling more evident than when the final try is scored on the playing fields of Cubberley and the shrimp are on the barbie. Drinks and memories are shared around while the heat of the day lingers like an old friend.


The SLO women’s team drove up to Palo Alto, only to find no other women’s teams entered. (The tournament was short-handed, competing with the Midnight Sevens in Vegas and the Samoan Flag Day tournament in San Francisco.)

The Pelicanrefs flew to the rescue, taking off their watches and losing their whistles for two games against the women in pink of tackle Sevens.

After scoring on the kickoff and again soon thereafter, the refs managed only a tie as the women came back in the second half.

In the re-match, a reverse pattern applied: the refs were down two tries before running out winners.


Our annual pre-season conference will be held at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island on Saturday, October 13.

Mark your calendars now. David Williamson is planning another cohesive syllabus for referee training for the 2008 season which will begin on this day.

We will also have our Annual General Meeting and election of a new two-year Board of Directors.

The current Board is Bruce Carter, Joe Leisek, Dixon Smith, Pete Smith and Scott Wood. If you are interested in standing for election, or wish to put another up for election to the Board, the process is informal: it needs only nomination on the day and support amongst the voting members.


Aruna Ranaweera will be going on the Aspen exchange next month. We are certain that he will represent us well.

No Losers
When Sevens is played, everyone wins.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris