The Rugby Rules: Original Retro Brand Interview with Rugger Pat "Buddah" Beaird
Pat "Buddah" Beaird became a fan of the Original Retro Brand when he happened to hop on to one of the many contests we regularly conduct, and found himself the winner of a FREE Texas Longhorns shirt (it was the "High - 5" College Football Contest from last year to be exact. We'll be ramping up the 2011 version for College Colors Day this year on September 2nd so get ready!). When he realized his beloved rugby team - the Old Renegade Boys - had the same initials as the Original Retro Brand as in O-R-B, he decided to email us and ask for an interview. We said ok, and here it is...
Andy: How long have you been involved with Rugby?
Buddah: I grew up in Louisiana. I was too small as a 5'1", 105 lb freshman to play football, so I played soccer. Fun, but not enough contact. When I went to boarding school in 1976 as a sophomore, I discovered rugby. I was hooked from the start, and today I still play and also coach and ref. The great thing about rugby is there is a position for all body types and sizes. It's one of the things I love about the sport for young kids. Everyone can play and everyone gets the chance to carry the ball, tackle, and even score. It is probably the only true "Team sport" in that attention isn't centered on the "star" pitcher, QB, point guard, RB or WR. In rugby, no single player is effective if they are not a complete team player. There is no room for ego's and the "look at me" attitude you see in a lot of other sports. Players need to be unselfish with the ball, do all the little things that comprise solid teamwork, and above all, make the people around them better. Setting up the try (scoring) is as important, and even more appreciated, than actually scoring it.
Andy: Who are the Old Renegade Boys, and how did they get their name?
Buddah: The Old Renegade Boys Side (ORBS) are the old boy side (ages 35+) for the Atlanta Renegades Rugby Club. The Renegades were founded in 1971 when a "renegade" group of players split from the old Atlanta Rugby Club to pursue the simple goal of playing the best possible rugby. The Renegades are the perennial top Division I team in the South, and made it to the final four of the national playoffs last year. The Gades now field teams in Division I, Division II, Under 20, and of course the Old Renegade Boys, for those of us that just can't quit. As ORBS we may be a little slower, but we still bring the same intensity, competitiveness, and desire to the field that is the hallmark of Renegade Rugby. It's a simple formula- Work Hard. Play Well. Have Fun.
Andy: Sounds like a good time, but I always wonder about injuries in the sport. i.e, I don't see much (if any) equipment out there - we know your tough dudes, but do alot of ya'll get serious injuries?
Buddah: The true measure of how tough a sport rugby is, has nothing to do with the injury risk. It's the fact that you have to play 80 grueling nonstop minutes - Two 40 minute continuous play halves with no time outs or downs, and only a 5 minute break for half, plus only 6 subs per game. The Wall Street Journal found the actual playing time of an NFL game is approximately 11 minutes. And no, I am not saying rugby players are fitter or better athletes than football players. It's just a different kind of fitness. Every year the sport gets HS and college kids coming out for rugby after the end of football season. Its a rude awakening to discover they are nowhere near "rugby fit". Ask the Bengals Dhani Jones.
But to answer your question-Yes and no. Numerous studies and statistics show rugby has a lower per player rate of serious injury than other collision sports. Primarily due to the lack of hard plastic "protective" equipment and the nature of rugby. Any honest assessment of football would acknowledge that helmets and pads are used more as weapons than protection these days. In rugby there are no downs, play is continuous and possession - not yardage - is key. So players are less likely to be caught in dangerous body positions. Because there is no blocking and tacklers must wrap up the opponent - no flying in like a missile head first - you eliminate most of the situations that produce serious injury. There is a lot of concern in the NFL right now about concussions. As counter intuitive as it seems, no helmets in rugby results in fewer concussions. You just aren't going to lead with your head. That being said, you get your share of bruises, contusions, stitches, and things like broken noses or fingers. But what's that old saying? "Chicks dig scars..."
Andy: What's a few broken noses or fingers here and there I always say... Seems like rugby is relegated to college/club and national teams. Is there a pro league, and do you think it will ever catch on with a national audience in a bigger way?
Buddah: Outside of the US, Professional Rugby thrives around the world. In fact, more and more American players are getting signed to professional contracts overseas with Todd Clever probably being the most high profile. It isn't NFL money, but high six/low seven figure contracts are nothing to sneeze at!! If ESPN would cover more Rugby (and they and NBC are), that would really help the exposure. It's a great game to watch with exciting, hard hitting, explosive running and passing - everything the average sports joe in the US loves! A recent report on rugby in the US said that last year 250,000 HS and Middle School kids played rugby for the first time. I think the sport is starting to see a growth spurt like soccer enjoyed in the the US in the late 80s. It all starts with the kids. With rugby coming to the next Olympics I think the popularity will grow even more. The rest of the rugby world calls the US "The Sleeping Giant". I think it's starting to wake up.
Andy: That's awesome about the Olympics! The coincidence of the Old Renegade Boys and Original Retro brand sharing the same initials is also awesome. Your team is like our shirts - Vintage, tough, but soft on the inside. What is it you love about our shirts?
Buddah: I love ORB shirts for a couple of reasons. 1) Quality. Cliche answer I know, but more and more these days, people take no pride in what they do and put out crappy products. It is refreshing to find a company that does take obvious pride in the quality of their product line. 2) I'm old! I love that ORB has gone out and found so many classic designs and brought them back to life! In addition to the nostalgia they bring, they realize logo and promotion design use to be a craft! - An art! - not some nerd with a clip art file and a software program (have you met our art department Buddah?). Whoever decides what gets picked next for ORB has a damn good eye! Now get them out there to find some old school rugby stuff too!!
Ok Buddah, we'll check out the retro rugby scene and let you know if we can scrum up anything for you. Thanks for educating us on the ruggers of the Rugby world, and could you at least throw in a mouthpiece for your next match?
If you’re a big fan of the Original Retro Brand, and want to be featured as our next interview, please forward a picture of yourself wearing Original Retro Brand gear, and a brief description of what you do for a living or what you do that you think people might find pretty interesting to firstname.lastname@example.org If we like what we see, you may be contacted for an interview. You don’t need to be a tough guy rugger like Buddah to be featured, and we’ll even send you an Original Retro Brand T-Shirt if we decide to post your story!