Women’s Nationals -- 30-Year Reunion

November 7-9, 2008 Orlando, FL

30 year reunion picture

Hugs, Tears & Smiles – Thursday Check-in

As we all descended on the Hyatt Place in Lake Mary, Florida, smiles, tight hugs, and tears ensued. It didn’t take long for this graying, older, but still athletic group to remember their lifelong, shared passion of rugby. All were retired rugby players and early founders of women’s rugby in the U.S. Many had either played with, or competed against, one another more than 30 years ago at the first official Women’s Club Nationals.

Two members of the 1978 National Club Championship team--Janet Mucccino, and Mary Goulet—attended representing Portland Maine Women’s Rugby Club. Also attending were players from the Houston Heathen Hearts, Florida State University, Colorado State University Hookers and Boston, who all played for teams that competed at the first Nationals.

Because Rugby & Pubs Go Together

tent gathering The weekend began Friday at the Foundation’s VIP tent and all were eager to watch the Women’s Division I & Division II National Championships. It was fun to hear comments from some of the olde girls on the changes in today’s game. “They lift the jumpers!?!” “How many points do they get for a try?”

After being treated to a great day of rugby, the Foundation hosted a gathering at Liam Fitzpatrick’s Restaurant and Pub where it was time to reminisce over photo albums and newspaper clippings from as far back 1978.

Never Too Old to Play, Right!

On Saturday, the club teams had the day off, but it was ‘game day’ for the olde girls with an old-fashioned game of ‘touch rugby.’ Never to old to play The game started friendly enough with everyone agreeing to walk, not run; to pass after being touched; and to turn over the ball after five touches. It didn’t take long, however, before everyone’s aggressive juices started flowing and boy, how things changed! The ladies started running (for their lives!) and ‘illegally’ taking several steps after being touched. By the end of the game, the phrase "the older we get, the better we were!" was true. No matter the age or skill level, a good time was had by all!

The Gala

The signature event of the weekend was a gala at the Orlando Science Center. Guests arrived for cocktails and dinner and a night filled with 70s music, old game clips, and a slide show of old rugby pictures and news clips.

After dinner, Danita Knox, Foundation President, introduced the USWRF board members: Suzi Rosen, Mary Holmes and Tania Hahn. gala She then welcomed some of Women’s Rugby VIPs in attendance: Kathy Flores, Women’s National Team Coach; Candi Orsini and Krista McFarren Assistant Women’s National Team Coaches; Jen Crouse, former Eagle Captain 2006 World Cup Squad; Lisa O’Donnell, Florida Rugby Union Treasurer; Raelyn Barlow, Florida Rugby Union Vice President; and Raoul Besse, Florida Women’s U-23 Head Coach and Coach, Orlando Women’s Club.

Following the introductions Danita presented an overview of the Foundation’s mission, history to date and goals for influencing the future of women’s rugby.

The Championships

Sunday we all enjoyed watching the Championship matches. The Berkeley All-Blues defeated New York (25-17), taking the D1 Title, and host team, Orlando beat Detroit (27-17) for the DII Title. Both winning teams received their game ball signed by the olde girls. Everyone departed sunburned, a little sore and looking forward to the next reunion.

Thank You to Our New Pioneers

In closing, the Foundation gratefully thanks everyone for attending and welcomes the newest members of our Pioneers Club: Etta ‘CJ’ Jones, Women’s Combined Services Coach and Lisa O’Donnell, Florida Rugby Union Treasurer.

Check Out Other Attendees:

Houston Hearts: Kathi Chappell (her two daughters Callie Chappell, Ashli Pfeiffer, and niece Carli Nicholas and guest Sabrina Kelley), Suzanne ‘Mex’ Cobarruvias, Mary Speidel, Buff Hidreth, Joyce (Lynn) Canion and Chris ‘Rookie’ Harju

Boston: Ruth (Scully) Hall, Tammy (Lockhart) Slattery, Karen (Woodruff) Dunfey, Dale Silin, Linda Bulloch, Linda Bourque and Nomi Taslitt

FSU: Janine Pardee, Vicki Bowlin, Chris Gigicos, Sheila Hill, Nancy Kinnunen and Kathy Kojm

Beantown: Linda Borgeson Hampton, Susan Keliher and Patricia Marion

CSU: Susan Stabler

New Orleans: Traci Moens