But we can't forget or better yet underestimate our opponent, UT San Antonio has made an equally strong case on wanting to be crowned champion. They are as well coached, as our lads, their players and coaches want to win it equally as we do.
As I sit here trying to keep my mind off what's about to take place Saturday evening, my excitement is beyond what words can describe. I remember coming out to our first practice and looking at 44 lads who wanted to learn this great game and that's where we started, the basics and they worked their tails off. Sometimes in the heat of the early evening sun, late at night while other students were either out partying or studying. We were out on field 4 running, passing, rucking and mauling all these drills in the attempt to better ourselves for the upcoming games.
We didn't know we were going to be thrown into a schedule at that time, we were only looking for a few games to see if we could be competitive. But thanks to a couple of clubs folding (not good for Texas Collegiate Rugby, but good for us) we were asked to fill a void. We thought this would be a great thing, we could play rugby and not have to scurry all over Texas trying to find games to play. After the first two round robin tournaments, while losing those games, I saw something in the lads, the same thing you as parents saw. They were improving with each game they played.
Then came our first league match, we were tied at the half, then broke it open to win by 24 points. Then we won our next match by 41 and when we played the top ranked Midwestern St and won convincingly, I knew we were on to something. At that point in the season we were 3 wins no losses and ready for the winter break. Upon returning to class and the rugby field, we were a little out of shape but the lads retained their skills of rucking, mauling, passing and their love of the game. We opened with a friendly with Sam Houston and another win, then it was down to San Antonio to play the number 2 ranked team in the Texas Rugby Union Collegiate DIII. With some help from the 16th man, we knew we were in for a real fight, but the lads prevailed with a great 15 to 5 victory. The next week your UT Dallas Rugby Club scored the most points in a match of their young career, beating SMU 74 to 0 and an undefeated season, 5 wins no losses, a number 1 seed for the playoffs, home field advantage throughout the playoffs and championships, a rank of being the 16th best small college rugby club in the nation.
Our first playoff match was well publicized and the promise of hundreds of people to come out and cheer us on was brought to a stop. Mother Nature had her little hand in assisting to help end the drought we're experiencing by allowing it to rain all day and night, forcing the UTD administration to close the fields. By chance we were able to find a decent field to play on Sunday morning. Personally I was extremly happy to see all the fans who showed up on that slightly cold, still wet, 9 o'clock in the morning to watch the lads continue to run the field, by winning their first playoff match against Lamar.
Now, here we are, prepared and ready to take the field against rival UTSA on Saturday evening. This should be a real cracker of a match, they match up with us very well. It could go either way, and win or lose, I'm proud of each and every one of the lads. They've come so far in such a short time and I've heard from a few other clubs either in our own division or from divisions one and two, that they are equally impressed with the levels of committment, love of the game and mostly coming out to revel in the experience rugby has to offer.
But that's enough of that, your UT Dallas Rugby Club members are ready to play, they've had some good practices, they're loose and they just want to take the field. I can attest to this, Saturday is going to be the longest day waiting for the game. I've heard some of the lads mention that they're doing either more studing, just to try and take their minds off of the game, but they still say Saturday going to be rough, just waiting for 6:00pm to roll up and I agree with them.
Thank for all your support and tomorrows match is for the lads, for their parents, for UT Dallas and their class-mates. Good luck guys, I wish you well.