I can’t help but send this Krosneresque lengthy email because I am so proud of the boys right now. I will also cover some season updates so please bear with me and please share the kudos part with your son.
Games this Week. Varsity versus Raleigh Rattlesnakes on Wednesday evening at the Poole Road fields. Game time to follow. (Raleigh only has about 15 kids so this will be varsity only and we will announce the 23 man roster tomorrow or Wednesday. That said—we are a team and you never know what happens so we want all HS players to be in attendance). Saturday—game time and location to follow--is our last league game—varsity and JV—in Charlotte versus Charlotte Tigers. (If we win both varsity games, that may well put the varsity team in the final four and competing for the state title. If we finish outside the final four, we will play on an upcoming weekend against the bottom 4 teams to see who finishes in 5-8th position). The other main event we are now targeting is the Mother’s Day JV Tournament to declare the state JV champion. That event will be on Mother’s day Sunday in Charlotte and there will be some special items for the moms. We want to win that tournament to leave no doubt who the best JV team is in the state so please keep that on the calendar.
Gonzaga Tournament. JV Champions! Freshman Champions! A 6-0 record. A total of 5 tries scored against our two teams over 6 games compared to more than 50 tries scored by the Redhawks. Great parent support. Professional attitude and behavior by the players all weekend (with one silly hotel transgression that needs to be forever eliminated). Kids playing out of position. 8th graders contributing to our 9th grade team’s success. Overcoming injuries, weather, delays, uncertainty and a split coaching staff for the championship games. Great teamwork, camaraderie and sportsmanship and on and on and on. I could not be happier or more proud of the Redhawks!! Great job to everyone!
I want to point out a couple of themes I have been emphasizing all season because I think this weekend helps demonstrate the accuracy of those themes. I have said that for the Redhawks to be a great club and to be able to win big events, we need 50-60 players capable of playing on any given day without our team’s chances of success changing at all. And I have said that it is critical for our players, where possible, to be able to play more than one position. At first, I think the kids thought I was crazy. If they were not starting varsity, some kids were upset. If we asked a player to play a different position than his usual, sometimes the player got upset. But can anyone disagree that this weekend, it took all 45 players in attendance for us to be successful. Without every single one of them, our chances of winning would have dropped significantly. Then came Sunday—we had to play both championship games simultaneously so we could not use our 9th graders as subs in the JV game and we had to split our coaching staff. We also had players injured so we had to move two forwards from our JV pack into the backline. If those two players did not have experience playing in the backline, our hands would have been tied and the injuries would have likely killed our chances of winning. Instead, we were able to move them into different positions that they still understood and our other players were able to step into the game and we were still able to win the JV game 37-5! Can anyone argue that having kids capable of playing in different spots can make the difference between success and failure?
I think we learned valuable lessons this weekend. I saw the best teamwork and sportsmanship I have seen yet. I think we handled all the adversity like champions. We warmed up well even though we had little space to do so and we supported each other in all the games. That is what I want to see from now on. Every single JV player watching the varsity game and cheering the varsity on and every single varsity player watching the JV team and cheering the JV team on. That is a team and a team will be unstoppable.
I had many proud moments this weekend. The first was seeing our injured Redhawk Caleb Faneuf in attendance and cheering his teammates on. Fantastic! But perhaps my proudest moment was when the 9th grade championship game was winding down and the JV squad (sorry—the JV Redhawks Champions!!) arrived to cheer our 9th graders on. The looks on their faces were to die for and the way they cheered for our 9th grade boys to finish our second goal of the weekend was fantastic. But maybe even more fantastic than that—when the 9th graders won and everyone erupted with excitement—as is appropriate and understandable—immediately Jaden Roundtree from our JV side told the boys (in an extremely nice and respectful way) to hold the cheering and to first finish up with our end of game ritual—cheering for the ref, Gonzaga and the Redhawks and then shaking the hands of their competitors. That is leadership and sportsmanship at its best—and guess what, when he said that—our boys reacted to their teammate’s leadership and quieted down and completed their tasks. I could not have been more proud.
Two years ago, Andy reached out to Gonzaga to see if they would play us in a single match at their DC fields. Andy knew their proud rugby history and wanted our club to see how a quality rugby organization operates. We got that game and by playing them well, we garnered an invitation to their upcoming tournament. Andy and I then sat down and planned for the future. We evaluated our club and our ages and we decided we would enter only a 9th grade team in the tournament our first year and our goal would then be to enter 9th and JV the following year (and to win) and then Varsity, JV and 9th the year thereafter. Here we are in year two and we did exactly what we planned to do. We entered and won both 9th and JV! Next year, all three is the plan and the challenges will be even greater for us. Based on what I saw this weekend and how we are becoming a TEAM, I look forward to watching us meet those challenges!
We set some goals at the start of the season—and winning the Gonzaga Tournament was at the top of the list. Mission Accomplished!! Well Done Boys!!
Finally—I would be remiss if I did not do two more thank yous--
First, thanks again to our parents for all their work—especially the Forbis’ and Kurke’s who kept us dry and fed and hydrated all weekend. Thank you!!
Second—thanks to my fellow coaches. I feel truly blessed that, in my humble opinion, we have the best coaching staff in youth rugby! Thank you gentlemen. Well done!
See everyone Tuesday.
Best, Coach Dave