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Monday, October 01, 2007

A Good Ol' Fashion Grub Kick

So I've caught a few games of the rugby World Cup in the past week and I've got to say that rugby is - by far - the best sport I ever played.

Don't get me wrong, I grew up on Redskins football in a family that had - and still has - season tickets. When I was a little kid, the youngest of four, my father helped start the Olney Boys Club with some other men he knew at the time and went on to become a high school football referee.

So I like to watch me some football.

Growing up it was football, basketball and track (my dad coached me in track in 8th grade). I stuck to that formula for a long time. Then bmx entered into my world. I rode my bike everywhere and anywhere. I raced a few times but found it too boring in its quickness. And as much as I love to ride my bike over jumps, bmx racing just didn't interest me to watch unlike football, basketball and track.

Bmx led me to skateboarding and the concept of sport as an individual. I have to say that I still enjoy watching a good skateboard competition but after a few rounds I'm done.

By the time I got to high school, I opted out of my traditional spring sport for lacrosse. I loved lacrosse. It was like a combination of basketball, soccer and hockey. But it was also a sport of privilege much like polo and that turned me off of it. Plus I got kicked off the team my senior year.

College introduced me to rugby.

And to this day i still have a fondness for it. I played my freshman year for a university on the Eastern Shore and it was like that movie Dogtown- all a bunch of characters. Naked beer slides were involved but that's a whole 'nother story.

I went on to transfer to a college north of Baltimore and played fall and spring seasons for the next three and a half years and when I graduated and moved to Los Angeles I ended up playing for the Pasadena/Crown City Rugby Football Club for a handful of seasons.

So when I found myself with the rare opportunity to watch top-notch rugby during this year's World Cup, I gladly welcomed it: it's like my Olympics, my Tour De France, my Winston Cup.

While watching a game the other day with my boys, I said, "Ah man, nothing like a good ol' fashion grub kick" after a play by the New Zealand All Blacks, who are like the Yankees, Bulls or Patriots of the rugby world, and smiled.

A couple of days later we caught another game and my 7-year-old randomly belted out, "nothing like a good old fashioned grub kick," after a guy kicked the ball.

I tried my best to explain it but this rugby site does it better:

"a grub kick is using your feet to get the ball rolling forward. Important in the grub is that it actually touches the ground. It should not be a low drop kick. A grub kick should be done on the run with either foot. The classic grub will bounce twice close to the ground and bounce to waist level on the third. I have seen it, but very rarely. Like a drop kick, timing is very important, as you want to contact the ball just as the point of the ball hits the ground. You want your foot to make contact with upper third of the ball, essentially kicking it into the ground. A grub kick should be used when an opposing player is committed to making contact with you and is no closer than five meters. Do not kick to him, but off to his side (that ability to kick with both feet is very important). Grubs are useful because the opposing player has forward momentum towards you, is unlikely to react quickly enough to a kick, and cannot hit you if you do not have the ball. You should be able to cover your own kick."

Another site compared it to a grounder past the short stop.


I could have summed that up quicker.

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