Wednesday, August 06, 2008




Rocca Field on Treasure Island will host the USA Rugby Sevens Club Championships this weekend, with games beginning at 9 AM on Saturday and Sunday.

SF/Golden Gate, the Olympic Club and Mission will be representing the Pacific Coast among the sixteen teams.

Come on out to support champagne rugby in Northern California. A large and profitable crowd would do wonders towards assuring that more such events transpire in Pelicanland.


So far we’ve got two Pelicans who would like to undertake the long but pleasant migration to Hawaii to referee at the Hawaii Harlequins Invitational October 24-25.

This is a Friday-Saturday tournament. Rooms will be provided for Tuesday (or later) arrival and Sunday departure. You need only pay your own flights and some meals. (Lodging will probably include breakfast.)

The hotel provided will be within walking distance of the pitches, so no rental car would be necessary.

Let us know if you are available. There’s room for four!


Roberto Santiago

Exchange is always fun (as far as I know) but this exchange was extra-super-happy-fun times.

New England Ref Don Jennings picked me up at Logan airport in Boston and proceeded to cook up a delicious dinner. The rest of the night was spent eating, watching some IRB training films and breaking down the Manny trade.

Drove up to Saranac. It’s not often you can spend 5 hours in a car with someone you don’t know without some odd gaps in the conversation but Don was a great tour guide and it turns out there are many facets to be considered and discussed in this whole Manny business. Oh, and ELVs, can’t spend enough time discussing ELVs.

Driving past the Olympic training center and the “Miracle on Ice” arena was a great lead in to arriving at the Can-Am tournament venue. We pulled into the Motel parking lot and immediately saw a few familiar faces. One of the great things about this whole reffing gig is meeting up with other refs from around the country and then meeting up with them again somewhere else.

Alas, all the games for the day were done so here we are two days on exchange and no rugby yet. The best story of day came in about a ref who started and old boys match that morning by telling the captains “I’m not familiar with these new laws yet so we’re going to play by the old laws for this game.” Little did he know one of the captains is a C2 or higher and was not amused.

It’s like Christmas morning! Seriously, it was cold and foggy just like Christmas in the Bay. We also had to be up and at breakfast at 6:30 to get our assignments. But you really can’t complain in a beautiful setting like that. Among the goodies we received that morning were our tournament jerseys. There was some grumbling about the color scheme but one ref (guess who) was thrilled with the 1972 Oakland A’s Charlie Finley Kelly Green and Gold trim motif.

8:00am Game One:
First game of the day was a men’s social division game. The overall skill level of the players was pretty “eh” but it was a fairly quick match. The penalty count was low and the players had a good time. The big bonus on the game was getting videotaped and getting a really great coaching session from a guy named Gusto.

Then there was a lot of waiting and a delay for lightning.

4:00pm Game Two:
Sloppy sloppy sloppy women’s consolation bracket match. Sometimes there’s only so much you can do as a ref to keep things going. It’s too bad you can’t call “running sideways too much” or “passing to static players” and award kicks at goal or something. Both teams played hard and had some skilled players but no one really moved the ball well. In the end there was a winner and that’s what’s important.

6:00pm Game Three:
This was a fun men’s club consolation semi-final. One team was clearly better and dominated the score board but both teams showed good skill with the boot on the short pops and intermediate kicking game. This was one of those games where there were a lot of fluky plays and it was great to have Scotty Florence from Florida as an assistant ref. He was on the spot and really showed how well a referee team can work together when the assistant refs are confident enough to make calls and discreet enough to make sure the game ref doesn’t look like a dope. The winning team in this match went on to win the consolation final.

Saturday Night:
Turns out having a motel full of refs and only refs is a hilarious thing. The New England refs hosted a mean BBQ, threw down a Kangaroo Court, and generally kept us all in stitches until people threatened to call us in on a noise complaint.

Had the distinct pleasure of reffing the over 50 men’s consolation final. As you can guess these geezers sounded like a flock of geese. One of these old guys ended up as my only card of the weekend, a yellow for a late tackle immediately after twice being penalized for being offside. What’s that you say? Try managing the game by talking him out of the penalty? I had already told him twice, “19 Blue you’re offside. 19 Blue you are still offside. 19 Blue don’t play the ball carrier” etc. Each time he looked at me as if he wanted to kill me. Among the gems to come from this band of merry miscreants were things like:

While being managed for being not ten at a penalty “Sir, he ran five meters!” and, “But Sir he kicked it into me.” While being penalized for putting the loose head in a head lock in a scrum, “Sir, he engaged that way.”

As one player said, “I don’t know how they have the energy to keep talking this much.” Me either. But once again everyone seemed to have a good time when all was said and done.

We stayed to watch the women’s premier final which was won by NY over Beantown 5-3 in a game that was far more entertaining than the score indicates.

Overall it was a great experience to be around so many experienced refs. Especially with the ELVs in effect this weekend it was nice to be able to have so many people to bounce things off of. Many thanks to Judah Boulet of New England for setting things up for me, and many thanks to the Pelicans for sending me. The Can-Am was a great experience and I am a better ref now for having been there.

Pelican on a Beach
Barney Miller is an Australian artist who has fallen in love with a place called Pelican Beach. You can see here the series of paintings it has inspired:

And here is one of them that bespeaks where we’d love to find ourselves today.


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris