So i’m watching Football this season, which is one of my favorite things to do since I acquired a love for the sport in college. Growing up, my father was never into sports and while I would watch a little basketball with my mother I was largely of the same mind. That was until someone tossed me a rugby ball my first fall semester of college in Central Florida.
I was always a larger kid. I read somewhere that grip strength as a child is largely indicative of strength at maturity. My father used to always tell me he marveled at my ability to rip out my sisters hair or pick up heavy objects. Anything where strength was a factor I would always stand out. Yet I began to gain weight from spending most of my time at less active geek pursuits, and my abilities became uncommon in the face of my advancing peers. I didn’t like soccer because I couldn’t use my hands, and I was just clueless at football – I couldn’t stand wearing all the padding and sweaty helmets. I was always top pick playing park football but never showed any promise in high school.
When I discovered Rugby it was like an awakening – here was a sport where I could utilize everything: speed, strength, and endurance. Great Rugby players are multi-talented, and Rugby draws on all human strengths. It is like a game of real time chess. No one can do the tackling for you; everyone runs, tackles, passes, and uses the boot to a certain degree. I love football, but I prefer Rugby.
I bring all this up because when I look at football, and this offense called the Wildcat formation, I can’t help but think of Rugby. The athletes that make it possible have multiple skills, running backs that can pass, and quarterbacks that block. In rugby the coach only talks to his team at the half, the players look to their captain and think in real time on the field. Look at the drift towards the No-Huddle offense and the increase in calling Audibles. Americans took Rugby and turned it into football, but it seems like natural evolution of the game is drifting towards it’s roots.