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ONLINE: Men's rugby celebrates end of year with alumni game

by Tori Martinez - Associate Managing Editor
Mon, May 1st 2017 07:00 pm
The alumni posing for a picture. Photo by Emma Misiaszek/ PHOTO EDITOR
The alumni posing for a picture. Photo by Emma Misiaszek/ PHOTO EDITOR

Rugby games are intense. It can be hard to follow the ball, hard to keep one's eye on the player they want to. Any time the ball is thrown, men from every direction tackle each other, sometimes dangerously, resulting in stitches, and sometimes just hard enough to get the ball away from them. Deep voices ring out, echoing between Allen Administration Building and The SERC, "How did we lost that ball?", "Water! Water!", "Run Left!" One thing is for sure: rugby games are exciting. If you were one out of the more than hundred fans standing on the sidelines at the Brockport Doggies Men's Rugby alumni game on Saturday, you may may remember some of that excitement and enthusiasm cleary.


The game had a few minor bumps along the way - Coach Kyle Semrau had to come early to paint lines on the field, the grass hadn't been mowed, the weather was cold and wet - but overall, just like any other year, the Doggies, new and old, came out to play and reconnect.


Every year, both the men and women's rugby teams play against their team's alumni as their last game of the season. Alumni from all over travel back to Brockport for one weekend to play against the current players, reconnect with old friends, make new friends and check up on their alma mater. This game was especially significant: it was Plateau Field's last rugby game. With the new dorm building to begin construction in May and end in the summer of 2018, the rugby team will be getting a new field near Lot X, complete with bleachers and an equipment shed. Jason Horowitz, 2011 alumnus and Doggies President from 2010-11, doesn't seem to be phased by the move. He said Plateau Field is not the rugby team's first field and it might not be the last.


"We're just going to continue to adapt and grow," Horowitz said. "We're going to get another field, we're going to make it our own and continue our tradition since 1970."


Although some members are upset about losing the field, whether for the sentimentality, the tradition or being right in the middle of campus where everyone can see practices and games, as current president Dylan Grant said, "It was a good game that both the alumni and college side played hard in, and it was a good game to retire Plateau Field with."


Every year alumni look forward to the one day they get to play as a Doggie on their home turf and see how their team is progressing over the years, while old players can't wait to see some of their graduated friends and new players are excited to meet the formers players who created the legacy they continue to follow. If there's one thing the current players can learn from the alumni, it's that it's okay to not act your age once a year.


"You can come back and see your buddies like time never ran out," Horowitz said. "You're back in your college years again, one day out of 365. You're always welcome back here."


As a junior at Brockport, Grant can already see the truth in that.


"Once you graduate, being a Doggie doesn't go away," Grant said. "There's a huge alumni presence at our games and throughout the year. Alumni help us pay for things and get us into tournaments. It's good for some of the younger guys to finally meet some of the people who have made things possible over the years."


Semrau said the hardest thing about the game was simply keeping possession of the ball. The college team seemed to lack the confidence and obviously the experience the alumni team had; however, as Horowitz pointed out, he saw a lot of communication on the field between the current players, which is always a good thing, as communication is key in any game. On top of that, he's seen tremendous progress in the team since it's gotten Semrau as coach. Before Semrau, the team didn't have a steady coach for about a year and a half.


"They've got a good coach in Kyle [Semrau]," Horowitz said. "He really has been the foundation to the team you see today. He has turned them from a team that argued and bickered to talking and communicating on the field, playing at a high level."


The game was one of the Doggies' toughest and most competitive games Semrau has seen in the past three years. Before he began working as the team's coach, the team scored absolutely no points against the alumni team. Then during his first year, the team only scored twice, but this year, the team scored four times.


The game officially ended as one big group photo, a sea of green, black and gold, was taken by mothers and friends. Happiness, camaraderie and love could be felt radiating across the field as friends and teammates squeezed together to make everyone fit in the picture. It's clear that the men on the field, whether Plateau Field or a new field by Lot X, both current players and alumni, will continue to handle whatever is thrown at them.


Photo of the Week

Taken by Vincent Croce:
Staff Photographer

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