Wherrayat, Crescent City??!!! What wid the granchirren runnin’ aroun’ on the sideline, peoples dat you ain’t seen for years and you think you recognize but you’re not sure until dey try and take a cheap shot like dey did 37½ years ago (ask dat Sammy Farneeyay if you don’t believe it), den stuffin’ yourself wid hot berled crawfish and Zatarain’s spiced up corn and potatoes at your own fancy rugby club, not dat hole in the wall Basin Lounge with the ripped up pool table where it’s always a little stinky an wet in da batroom and when you leave da place in the daytime you have ta squint because it was so dark in dere, YEAH, DAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT!
Pardon da accent, but I’m a Chalmette boy 30½ years removed from the old club. I lost da accent somewhere after leaving town, but what da Club gave me, and why a hunnerd others showed up for the 37 ½ year reunion, wuz RUGBY. I sed RUGBY – but what I meant wuz C-R-E-S-C-E-N-T C-I-T-Y R-U-G-B-Y. Not just any rugby club, not just any city. Dis wun friggin’ club wuz sumthin’ special, even if you became a rugby whore what moved away ‘cuz you got infected by da game. You can’t explain CC to outsiders, even if dey come from da Parish or maybe Irish Channel or wore khaki uniforms and went to one of dem fancy Catholic schools uptown. No siree. Crescent City was somethin’ special and even though it merged with its cross-town rival to survive, it lives on in a way that only if you played, or were a groupie, you knowed what I’m talkin’ about.
No matter. Some of deze boys needed a Crescent City fix, even if dey didn’t knowed it, and Billy Goodell wuz smart enough and dumb enough at da same time to think it could be done. Thanks, Mr. Cervix. Well done!
And hoo boy! Did dey come back, like a bitch dog in heat! Mr. Cervix and sum of da udders got on the horn and talked’em into coming back from Maui, from Maine, and all points in between and nort’ a Chalmette. And it didn’t take a lot to get dem to haul back to da Big Easy. We all jawboned a lot and nothin’ better than findin’ out how your brothers in mayhem had done good in life. Even if a lot of us looked dumb and acted even worse, we knew we wuzn’t deep down. Just a little crazy, mebbe. Some of us actually grew up after playin’ rugby and became upstanding citizens, even lawyers like Goodell and Breen and Gallion. Not all of us wuz bottom feeders like those schmucks, though. For sum reason, CC attracted a lot of engineers, a money manager or accountant here, a consultant or teacher dere, but good peoples all. Even some Canadian nurses in the good ol’ days are happy and still nursin’ the old boys’ egos. A lot of the old ruggers ended up in Texas and Colorado, mebbe to get away from dem doggone hurricanes, but they raised famblies dere and done good anyway.
But I dee-gress. What about da reason for comin’ back home — dat famous an’ historic April Nint grudge match between CC and dose vaginas on dat other team what name we don’t want ta remember? And by golly, who won the damn t’ing?
Dat’s what’s so funny about dis, man. Here someone comes up with a friggin’ atomic clock date for a reunion – 37½ years to the month. An’ dey can’t even remember a rugby score right after the match! T’ink about it, though. Thirty-seven and a half years — dat’s the same as 450 months, 23,400 weeks, 561,600 hours, which iz a long time to be on the piss. But when you do actually t’ink about it – dat’s also a long, long time since the first CC player kicked to scrum, took his first cheap hit from a New Orleans rugger – and gave one back — tapped his first keg (well, dat can’t be right!), slammed down his first fat Mitre ball in a dried up, dusty and crab grass-infested try zone, did his heave in the scrum, first double dummy scissors – okay, that one never seemed to woik — first double barracuda or Allouette song to a surprized young lady, drank his first upside down Margarita, hell – it’s the first time the poor bastard learned how to live, man! But I dee-gress. What wuz dat score?
Before I get to dat, dough, I gotta mention one other t’ing. I don’t know about you, but after all deze years, I had never tawt about who founded the club, and it made me kind of embarrassed to t’ink dat I never knowed. Well, just like the 37 ½ years on the piss, it’s all fuzzy now. Even when you talk to the old-old timers what actually founded CC, you can get a couple different versions. Someone one day will have to figure dis t’ing out when dey write the coffee table book version of the team. One story was that a half-dozen Loyola students what played football got kicked out for smokin’ pot and somehow took up rugby. No wonder dey outlawed the stuff. Another wuz dat some SLU and LSU players gradjerated and wanted to keep playing rugby after moving to Noo Awlins. And another was dat some Inglish professor from Inglen teaching at Tulane or Loyola – I ferget which one — got some students together and taught dem how to play. Dey was goin’ to call demselves New Orleans at first, but thankfully found out dere wuz another club in town what took da name so someone came up wid Crescent City. We all liked dat one much better. How Fat Harry’s ended up being rugby central for a long time, why the Basin was the hang out after practice, how come Jerry Gallion was born wid a hairy back and how women could ever t’ink they’d domesticate Scully, well, dey’s too many mysteries in life to explain.
Back to that grudge match. First we gotta try and analyze dis, because if we wuz actually playin’ in the match – and dis iz one of the flaws of all rugby players — we woin’t payin’ attention to the score, just like one of dem Mean Lakeen twins what got hit in the haid wid the rugby ball whilst taking a nap stanin’ up in front of a scrum. Don’t axe him, for god’s sake. I’m sure the twin what wuz playin’ tole you it wuz de udder twin what got hit. Ronnie Gibbs, well, everyone KNOWS he got two of CC’s tries, since he wouldn’t let you forget it during the party and I bet he’s still tellin’ his po’ wife about it every udder day. But dat last CC try actually a be-yootiful t’ing to behold, wid George Morris poppin’ a pass to him off the ground right before the try zone and Ronnie dancin’ in almost untouched – an’ best of all — all those Noo Awlins vaginas wheezin’ and gaspin’ for bret’ da whole time dat wuz going on.
If some of us woin’t in da match wid excuses we had tawt up weeks earlier – and – okay, Kerrigan would call us weenies, so what — well, we knew a match was goin’ on, okay? An’ for some reason da match went tree periods, not the normal two, but on da other hand, dey definitely wuzn’t 40 minute halves. Well, anyway. we didn’t know da score, either. Sumthin’ like 19-12? Sammy did some kickin’, got at least two conversions. It’s hard to remember da details of da Noo Awlins tries, ‘cause we t’awt dey wuz lucky tries and of the feline persuasion, but on at least one of da tries someone apparently felt sorry for dem – I’m thinkin’ Jack Biven — and so dey got demselves a freebie, the one that wuz a long-ass run by Skip Rizzo, the only reason Skip got it cuz Jack was catchin’ up to him and wud have plowed his sorry ass into the ground – and the cool thing about watching it from the sidelines wuz it seemed like the whole t’ing was one of those ESPN replays in slow motion but we knew it wuz happenin’ real time and they wuz actually runnin’ kinda slow — but den Jack musta lost his concentration and started feelin’ sorry for dem, and held up at the last second. By da way, Mr. Biven did some great actin’ on da play, fakin’ like he was winded, gaspin’ for air and almost heavin’ on wobbly legs, like he wuz ready to throwed up. At least dat’s what he tole me, an’ hell, I believe anyt’ing Jack toles me.
On to more important t’ings, the partyin’. Dey was so many back channels and recollections and laughter and drinkin’, and then mo’ drinkin’, that it would be impossible to mention every one of the 100 or so players and their gals who made it back for da reunion or da stories dey had to tole. But from the first tapping of the keg Friday night, to the match on a hot, steamy Gretna afternoon, to the sweet strains of a brass band during the second old boys’ game, on to the rugby club and more beer and food, and post-game partying including some nice hospitality shown by the Farnets at Joey Ks, it wuz one helluva event. If you had to be proud of sumpthin’, and there was a lot to be proud of, mine was when the team gathered by the goal posts after the match, Kerrigan readin the few names (thankfully) of the dearly departed, and then the Old Boys singin’ and hummin’ ‘Out on the Piss Again’ while you could also hear da clickin’ of camra shutters by friends, loved ones, and fans.
I take dat back. Dey was actually two, equally cool t’ings. Dee other was Joseph Trailor joining the Crescent City pack for some line out action. How could you not feel how cool it wuz to see da ol’ pack lift CC’s best fan sky high in a line out – not once, not twice, but three times? Now dat was a cool t’ing, and dat shows right dere the real heart of Crescent City.
And den, let’s not just t’ink of the good ol’ daze (pun intended). Dere iz de future of Crescent City and its progeny to behold. And what a bright future it iz. I’m not talkin’ about the nice, soft pitch, or the fancy rugby club what got built over da years, but more importenly, da high schools dat are churnin’ out young ruggers and great programs that are feeding into the club what came out of Crescent and N.O. Man, dat iz way cool what dey iz doin’ deze days, what dey have been doin’ for years if you moved away, and which, if you read the NORFC newsletter, it going to get our club the National Championship. An’ no joke, apparently dey are some mean sumabitches on the team deze days, racking’ up 60, 70 point scores a match, and mebbe even meaner than we all tawt we wuz. Ain’t you proud, man? The CC’ers who stayed behind and kep dis t’ing goin’ way past the merger, and then built it up again after Katrina, hey – ya’ll are way cool, man!
Well, it looks like the CC reunions ain’t over until all of us are in wheel chairs, an’ even den, who knows? Dere’s alredy talk of anudder reunion, dis time, I’m tole, 2½ years from now. Dat’s rugby time – 30 months from now, 360 weeks, 8,640 hours.