Wednesday, January 07, 2009




Earlier this week, January 4 was national trivia day, and gives us a good chance to address a recurring point of uncertainty.

In team sports, in all the world around except for one country Home is listed first. This makes perfect sense. In fact, it'd be hard to think of a reason to list the visiting team first. Courtesy, perhaps?

But of course, the USA is the country that lists Visitors first. The reason is historical.

The first professional team sport played anywhere in the world was American baseball, within a few years after the Civil War. Matter of fact, it was the only professional team sport for many decades. In baseball the visiting team bats first, so they were always listed first in line scores, box scores, and final scores, as these were reported via telegraph and then in newspapers.

When Americans started playing other team sports, the usage was long established for listing the visiting team first even if the baseball reasoning did not apply to those sports.

But the rest of the world never had any reason not to list it logically, so they put the home team first. (In cricket, they flip a coin to see who bats first.)

In rugby here in the US we follow the rugby practice elsewhere, which is home team listed first.

We will spare you our ideas about why, in some places, game clocks count down to zero while in others they count up from zero.

And the Mother of All Sports Questions: why, in some sports, is the line out while in other sports, the line itself is in?


Referee assignments are beginning to appear on piecemeal. We’ve tried to post January 10 and 17, but a lot of fixtures for these dates have materialized since assignments were made. Always be attuned to the website and to your e-mail for any changes.

In particular, we need more refs on January 17 and 18: we’ve got a top-notch tournament to cover at Stanford. The Stanford Women’s Invitational will feature a dozen or more of the best teams from across the country. They’ll be playing all day, both days, on two or three pitches. HELP IS NEEDED.

Let us know if you can help out of Sunday, even if you have a game Saturday. And if all you can do is one game on Saturday, perhaps you can free up someone else to go to the tournament!


Our monthly NCRRS meeting will be on Wednesday, January 14, from 7 to 9 PM at the Golden Gate clubhouse on Treasure Island. The Referee Development Committee will meet from 6 until 7.

There will be food available at no charge beginning at six. Plan to arrive early – if you get there early you can eat and visit with other early arrivals, while if traffic is bad you won’t be late.


VALLEJO 47 – McGeorge 3 Referee: Phil Ulibarri
Assistant Referee: Bjorn Stumer
Referee Coach: Dixon Smith

Every day’s a rugby day but some rugby days are better than others especially if it means leaving sub-freezing climes for sunny California. So goodbye Reno. Hello Vallejo. The referee braved possible closure of Donner Summit and like any GOOD Nevada gambler was rewarded with a payout - good weather and good rugby made for a great Saturday.

A very well disciplined Vallejo team of nearly thirty players were eager to stretch their legs on the Mare Island pitch. McGeorge showed up short-handed and burrowed a half dozen or so players. Both sides were agreeable to four 20-minute quarters. Vallejo’s ref briefing took place in their small and cozy locker room – just off the pitch. The facility even has a referee’s dressing room and the field has full lighting for nighttime practice and fixtures. The pitch was roped, flagged and lined. The fields chairman had to be reminded of pads on the goal posts and the five-meter was just a tad off but as this was to be a friendly match, some slight adjustments were made and the game was played in the true spirit of ruby camaraderie.

Vallejo struck first and fast. Four tries and conversions in the first two quarters were answered by only one penalty kick by the future barristers. Halftime ended with Vallejo ahead 28-3. Second half brought the Vallejo 15 three tries and two conversions, all unanswered points with the game ending 47 – 3.

Excellent backline movements incorporating fast cuts back to the inside proved too much for McGeorge for the majority of the scoring. Vallejo does have some big strong youngsters in the pack who will be difficult for some other teams to handle as the season progresses.

Thanks to Vallejo for hosting an excellent venue, game and post–match meal. Thanks also to assistant referee Bjorn Stumer for making the trip and referee coach/evaluator Dixon Smith for help on the day.

Blessed Event in Eire
Reportage by Brian Gildea

“Hail Pelicus and Happy New Year!

“Propus Celtus and Propus Celtus Missus Corkus hereby request recognition for a new member of the flock: Stephen John Gildea joined 2008 with a few hours to spare, on 31 Dec at 11.11 am in Dublin. Mother and child had a bird's eye view of the new Lansdowne Road stadium from the hospital room.

“And, of course, the hospital is about 500 yards from IRB HQ. So, the rugby pedigree is being established from Day One.

“Weighing in at a svelte 8 lbs. 6 oz. and after kicking lumps out of his mother for nine months, the name of Propus Celtus Thumperus is requested of the Senate.

“Hail Pelicus and Best of Luck to everyone for a Happy and Healthy 2009 season!

“In other news, Bryan McShane and Ian Walker of Aspen and City (old San Francisco RFC) fame popped into Dublin's Fair City for the Ireland v. New Zealand match and helped the Diageo stock price by drinking a fair share of Guinness.


“Propus Celtus”

Propus Celtus Thumperus is hereby welcomed and acclaimed!

Next Generation
Mike Malone and Dixon Smith trained the next generation of referee coaches on Sunday, January 4, at the law offices of John Coppinger’s firm.

Clockwise from left foreground: Tom Martinez, Chris Nelson (SoCal), Trevor McGreal (SoCal), David Williamson, John Coppinger, Dixon Smith, Joe Leisek, Mike Malone, Jim Crenshaw

Left early: Tony Redmond
Behind the camera: Bruce Carter


For the Senate
Pelicus Scriptoris