Monday, April 18, 2005

More international flavor for Oregon: Rugby

New Zealand, South Africa, England, France, Fiji...and now Oregon...the action, excitement and drama of Rugby Union has taken root in the Pioneer State. Oregon High Schools have recently adopted Canada's National Game, lacrosse, and now the youth of Oregon will soon be chanting the Haka and trading national team jerseys from around the world as Rugby becomes the next international import. What's the Haka you ask? Check out the New Zealand All Blacks web site to learn its history and begin to get an understanding how Rugby is more than a's a culture.

Last weekend I ventured out to Lents Park where the Oregon Youth Rugby League were playing the final weekend of the regular season of U19 matches before the upcoming playoffs. It was dark and a little rainy...your typical Oregon Spring Saturday. I shot 3 matches...the Tualatin Valley club overpowered the Hillsboro Rugby Club 35-0; the Eastside Rugby Club and the Wilson High School Rugby Club pooled players to play out a "friendly" match (is there such a thing in rugby?) that ended 21-0; and the Ashland Rugby Club made the long trip up I-5 worth the trouble by defeating North Clackamas 12-7.

Rugby is a great game...lots of continuous action, it is extremely physical and it's history demands that a rugby player develop strong's not a hooligan's's tough and mentally and physically one of the most challenging sports. Learn more about Oregon Rugby of all levels at the Pacific Northwest Rugby Football website, or check the schedule and come out and watch a match...I guarantee you'll enjoy the action.

Match photos of the Oregon Youth Rugby U19s

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A Classic Soccer Spring Ritual: State Cup

All throughout Oregon last week, the State Cup Tournament kicked off for classic soccer team of all ages. This is the Grand Finale that traditionally wraps up the end of the classic soccer season. Boys and girls, ages 11 through 19, played round-robin matches last weekend, completing the round this upcoming weekend.

Winners within each age group move on to represent Oregon in the USYS National Championships Regional Tournament in July in Denver, CO. With prestige and promise on the line, the competition brings out the best in players.

I shot two random matches over the past weekends...a U15 Girls match between the Westside Metro 89s and the Rouge Valley Soccer Club Arsenal. The 89s jumped out with two early goals and coasted to the 2-0 victory. The second match was a spirited U15 Boys contest between the Westside Metro Gunners and Bend FC. The match was physical...with plenty of grabbing, pushing and even a retalitory punch being thrown...hey, these are 15 year old boys...the adreniline was flowing (and of course, the parents were screaming...oh well). In the end, FC Bend got the win after a 0-0 draw forced a penalty kick shootout. Was it deserved?....check out the Oregonlive forum for the latest on the debate...but for me....I'm looking forward to more matches this weekend. Check out the OYSA Website for State Cup competition schedules and should be a grand final to the 2004-2005 classic soccer season indeed.

Match photos of Westside Metro 89s vs Rouge Valley SC Arsenal
Match photos of Westside Metro Gunners vs Bend FC

Friday, April 01, 2005

Grab your parka, it's softball season in Oregon

Only the swallows returning to Capistrano are more predictable than a rainy Spring Break in Oregon or the softball season kicking off with cancelled games. It has been tough finding games being played the last couple of weeks as Oregon skies dropped a daily dose of "springdrops" on ball fields all over the metro area. However, there were a few cloud breaks that lasted long enough to get 6 or 7 innings in to get the season underway.

I like shooting softball...probably better than baseball. There is more action...the field is smaller, so there are more shot possiblities...and besides, those baseball guys just sit in the dougout with goofy looks on their faces and don't do those cool cheers. I am getting the hitter and batter shots down...the challenge so far has been predicting field play and getting shots of the infielders and outfielders. I'll work on that over the next few weeks. In the mean's off to the field with my Columbia parka, ski mittens and pocket warmer...because it's time for spring sports in Oregon!