We know there is a lot going on during Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, but one Wednesday evening event you will not want to miss is an opportunity to witness raw fear, likely some spilled blood, and perhaps a whimpering outdoor industry executive or two trying to reattach body parts somehow detached in a "friendly" rugby match for charity.
On Wednesday, July 22, at 7 p.m., approximately 35 outdoor industry current and former rugby players, still wondering whatever happened to the fitness and speed of younger years, have formed a team called Hookers and Grubbers to take the pitch against a Salt Lake City "Old Boys" team dubbed, appropriately, the SLOB Hacks. The match will be held at West Hyper Field, University of Utah -- easy access off the Utah Light Rail Trax.
While we have agreed (in principle) that this is a "friendly" match, the smack is already firing on all cylinders. In a missive being distributed by our delightfully old opponents, we are being referred to collectively as "kayak boys," which is really going to tick off the women on our team who not only kayak, but are most certainly not "boys." The SLOBs also helpfully provided us with a checklist to properly prepare for the match -- a match that will thankfully be played in 20-minute quarters with lots of substitutions:
1. You Kayak Boys will need to take off your climbing slippers and put on some real cleats.
2. Bring some of those cool tents y'all pimp to provide a makeshift ER room for your casualties.
3. Bring plenty of those fancy water bottles; you will need them, as will we. Please have them filled with the appropriate refreshing beverages.
4. You will be required to perform a pre-game challenge in your way-cool jerseys or you may feel more comfortable doing a team ballet performance.
5. Michael Hodgson must wear a bright pink practice jersey so we know who he is…we have had several financial offers on his head.
Like we said, this is going to be a friendly match. Oh, and Hodgson's easy to find without encouraging him to wear pink -- something no one else in the outdoor industry really wants to see again. Catching him, though…well, good luck with that.
Naturally, no rugby match can be played without a beer sponsor, and we gratefully acknowledge Big Sky (www.bigskybrew.com) for stepping up to the pitch to supply the "appropriate refreshing beverages" for the players and fans. We're hoping the SLOBs start partaking early enough that they will need a nap on or before halftime.
Naturally, we need food and non-beer libations, which are being provided by Costa Vida (www.costavida.net) of Salt Lake City. Beer, soda, water and Baja-inspired food combined with a rugby match for a good cause? It doesn't get more entertaining than that!
About that good cause: All proceeds from donations collected from fans and players at the match will go to support AMBUCS (www.ambucs.com) -- a non-profit that is near and dear to our coach Tom McCarthy's heart. AMBUCS is a non-profit service organization dedicated to creating mobility and independence for people with disabilities. We look forward to sharing the match and the resulting benefit of supporting this good cause with all of you. See you at the match, and then for the post-match party…a rugby tradition of the finest kind.
Oh, and for those of you going to the JanSport Shake n' Bake on Wednesday night, expect a grand entrance by members of your outdoor industry team, the Hookers and Grubbers, in uniform (albeit a bit sweaty, grubby and perhaps torn and bloody), alongside members of the SLOB Hacks, our newfound industry friends -- expect singing and debauchery.