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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Annual Pygmy vs. Alumni Match

Continuing the grand tradition, the annual rugby match between the current New Mexico Tech Rugby Club (the Pygmies) and an Alumni squad made up of those alumni able to make the trek to Socorro and willing to put there ever more frail bodies on the line, took place last Friday.

I can't remember how long these matches have been going on, but it has to be over 20 years now. Those of my era are getting fewer and fewer to be seen on the field these days. I haven't been able to make the trip for quite awhile, and I'm sure I would regret getting roughed up by those young bucks if I did show up and foolishy suit up. I'm told my friend Karl played this year, and survived. Maybe next year...

For a detailed match report, here's a write up by Dave Wheelock, NM Tech Rugby Director. This was emailed to me, but I suspect it's from the local newspaper, El Defensor Chieftain (though I don't see it on the website).

Students Top Grads in Annual Rugby Classic
Pygmies 55, Ancestors 32

SOCORRO, N.M. October 26, 2009 -- New Mexico Tech’s student team won a battle of contrasting rugby styles in Friday’s 49ers homecoming match, scoring a 55-32 victory over Tech’s alumni. The Pygmies conceded the edge in size and experience to their elders but made up the disparity with team speed and support play.
While eight of the undergrads’ nine five-point tries were scored by fleet backline players after long breaks involving several passes, all but one of the Ancestors’ five tries resulted from close range surges of power.

Members of the NMT Pygmy (student) and Ancestor (alumni) rugby teams gather Friday after the students' 55-32 victory. Photo by Dave Wheelock
The Pygmies will attempt to conclude their autumn record at 15 wins against 3 losses Saturday as they take on the New Mexico State University Chiles in Las Cruces. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
With a handful of the alumni players committed to Saturday afternoon matches with their current clubs, the late afternoon kickoff allowed the Ancestors scant time for reunion greetings before introductions were broadcast to an enthusiastic 49ers crowd. After four minutes of play the students took advantage of a turnover by their elders to ship the ball to veteran fullback flier Isaiah Sanchez, who crossed the line for the game’s first try. Jay Herrera booted the conversion and the Pygmies took a 7-0 lead.
A physically imposing set of Ancestor forwards featured former Pygmy greats Denny Newell, James Napier, Habib Guerrero, Brendan La Count, Matt Majors, Tory Tadano, and Dylan Merrigan. The Ancestor forwards drove the Pygmies backward in the opening scrums, forcing student scrumhalf Herrera to scramble with his passes to the backline.
However, the Pygmies thrived on what ball possession they could get from Ancestor kicks or lineouts thrown to Matt Kretz and Graham Payne, always striving to lateral the ball wide for their speedsters to advance. After 10 minutes Pygmy flyhalf Royce Beaudry took the last pass to score after a lightning attack by his mates covered the entire length of the field.
Ancestor scrumhalf Seth Daly got the veterans on the scoreboard at 12-3 after 20 minutes with a long penalty kick, but minutes later the Pygmies went up 19-3 when big inside center Nick Aldape spotted a gap and cruised a full 50 meters to score. Merrigan, a graduate student player at Colorado School of Mines, smashed his way to a short range try to pare the students’ lead to 19-8. Then, Beaudry and Sanchez each added tries in the waning minutes before halftime to apparently to suggest a blowout for the Pygmies at 31-8.

NMT graduate Dylan Merrigan looks for a gap between student players Conrad Peterson (number 17) and Jay Herrera (number 9). At left is former Pygmy Habib Guerrero and referee Dr. Clint Richardson of the NMT faculty. Photo by John Rundberg
The Ancestor’s five-minute halftime strategy session appeared to revive the Ancestors as they dominated ball possession and registered two tries early in the second half. Guerrero, now playing for the San Juan Silverbacks, couldn’t be stopped from short range. Then, Rob Harrison of the Santa Fe Rugby Club scored from a scrum close to the Pygmies’ tryline. Daly converted the second try.
With the Ancestors looming closer at 31-20 with a half hour remaining, the Pygmies responded, first by working the ball to wing Mason Timm, who found glory through a narrow gap in the defense. Outside center Dustin Webb kicked the conversion and less then two minutes later, Beaudry sped 50 meters to touch down between the posts.
The Ancestors answered with a try from Mike Anguti (converted by Daly) to make it 41-27 before the Pygmies’ man of the match Jay Herrera stepped in front of an Ancestor pass and motored 80 meters to claim an intercept try converted by Webb.
Minutes later, Beaudry added his fourth try of the day when he followed up a brilliant breakaway by Herrera. Webb was good with the conversion kick for a 55-27 student lead, but the Ancestors had the last word when outside center Pat Simons, recently returned to the Santa Fe Rugby Club after an extended playing stint in Australia, combined speed, strength, and footwork to score from 30 meters out. Matt Nelson added the conversion points to draw the 49ers curtain for 2009 at Pygmies 55, Ancestors 32.
-- NMT --
By Dave Wheelock/Tech Rugby Director

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Rugby Keeps You Young

This is Jim (a.k.a. Shizumu). Jim is 60 years old. Do you know how I know that? Because he's wearing red shorts.

In Japan when you're over 40 you wear White shorts, over 50 is Navy, over 60 is Red, over 70 is Yellow, over 80 is Purple, and over 90 is Gold.

Jim expects to eventually wear Gold shorts, but his real goal is to become the oldest rugby player in Japan. Best of luck!

Think there's not many Gold short's wearing players? I saw one photo with several Gold shorts players, and numerous players in each of the other colors. It must be the water.

Maybe there's still hope for me...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hawaii Harlequins Rugby Tournamet

Well, I managed to not make it to one single game this weekend. That's two tournaments missed so far this year.

The Hawaii Harlequins hosted a rugby tournament yesterday and today. I haven't heard any news yet, so don't know scores, or even who played. If anybody's got any results, please send them to me so I can post them.

Next up is the International 15's Tournament, November 5-7, 2009. I've got to get down there for some of this! Here's a link for contact info.

Lessons from the Airwaves

Here's a lesson in Business Operations from an unlikely source - the Hawaii Public Radio semi-annual fund drive.

I listen to HPR (usually KIPO) even during their fund drives. I'm that much of a Public Radio junkie (I'm also a "True Believer"). I'm always amazed that they raise the amount of money they need, and they almost always achieve their goal on-time.

That's your first lesson. They set a specific goal, a specific dollar amount that they need to raise, and a specific time frame to reach it. Lesson? Set specific, measurable, achievable goals.

But I was getting worried this drive because they had fallen significantly behind after several days. With the economy the way it is and all the cutbacks and layoffs, it wasn't really a surprise, but it was a concern. But they got back on-track and even managed to reach their goal right on time. Amazing! So how did they do it?

Here's the big lesson. The big, final goal is hard for most people to really get their head around. It's a big number and people don't see how their little, individual contribution puts a dent in it. So what HPR always does, and what they sat down and really pushed and focused on after they fell behind, is break that big, final goal down into smaller targets set for each program or hour of the day. That is, instead of having to think about how your $60 membership (or $120 True Believer or $365 Dollar-A-Day pledge) puts a dent in the $700,000-plus final goal, you can get a really clear picture of how you pledge makes a difference in a $1,200 target during your favorite show. Lesson? Break a big, final goal down into smaller, more easily digestable targets that people can understand and feel good about.

Oh, and donate to your favorite Public Radio station (even if you're not liberal-leaning, the music's great).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Rug Rat Ruggers

Got some little tykes and live in New York City? Then Lil' Ruggers is for you.

Not just another Rugger Owned Business to add to our ever-expanding list (see the list on the left), but a Rugger Owned Rugby Business.

From the Lil' Ruggers website: "Rugby is the perfect sport for any age, gender, size, and speed; with 15 players on each team, there is a position for everyone. Children are notorious for exploring with their hands which makes rugby the ideal sport for kids as they are encouraged to hold the ball and run, run, run!

Through simple drills and flag scrimmages in the great outdoors (where kids belong!), the goal of LIL' RUGGERS is to foster listening skills, sharing, communication, and healthy behavior that will ultimately last a lifetime. In a safe, controlled, non-contact and undeniably fun way, of course!"

Getting kids outside, letting them run around and have fun, and learning "The Best Sport Ever". What else could you ask for? This is a great idea. If you live in New York City, definitely check them out. If you already have kids in the program, let me know what you think about it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Get New Business - Guest Post

Here's another Guest Post by Jeff Thomas. It's titled Creative Ways To Get More Customers, which is information we can all use, but this is not just for business. Your Rugby Club could also use these techniques to get more exposure, players, fans, and supporters. Give them a try. Thanks Jeff!

Creative Ways To Get More Customers

In today’s economic climate, it can be tough to find new customers, and retain the ones you’ve already got. Everyone’s watching their pennies, which means that small business owners have to get creative when it comes to getting feet in the door.

Fortunately, there are several low-cost ways to get more customers. Let’s take a look:
Publish Articles In Local Magazines

Many publications, especially trade magazines or Chamber of Commerce newsletters, welcome submissions from local businesses. This is a great way to add to your credibility and get your name out there.

What can you write about? Well, anything that has to do with your business! Make sure you give readers information that can truly help them, however. No one wants to read about your next sale, or how great your customer service is.

Remember, give first. You’ll get the benefits later on.

Put On A Workshop

Putting on free workshops for your customers is a great way to get them in your store. After all, people love learning new things, and they love it even more when it’s free.

For instance, if you own a stationary shop you could teach customers how to design great wedding invitations. Or if you own a sports store, you could teach people how to care for their sports equipment during the wintertime.

Again, focus on giving your customers good, useful information. Don’t pitch your business or try to sell stuff during the workshop! This will be a major turnoff, and they won’t want to come back. Give first. You’ll get later.

Think About Your Location

If your business lease is about to expire, then you can get more customers by strategically locating your business.

For instance, if you own a bakery that also makes wedding cakes you would benefit by locating next to a flower shop or stationary store. Restaurants do great by shopping malls or sports venues, and consignment shops might do great close to a higher priced retail boutique.
By strategically locating your business close to another in roughly the same field you can take advantage of the extra foot traffic.

Create A Unique Contest

This strategy can be a huge hit with your local community, especially if you get the newspaper on board to advertise it.

Businesses have long used contests to drive business. After all, how many times has Purina run the “Cutest Dog” contest? Or Gerber the “Cutest Baby”contest?

Well, why not run your own contest, but with a twist? If you own a pet shop, why not hold an “Ugliest Dog” contest? Or a “World’s Ugliest Blouse” contest if you’re a consignment shop?
Have a sense of humor, and think up something really quirky. People will sit up and take notice, which means more PR for business.

Guest post by Jeff Thomas from Ideal Computer Systems. Ideal is the leading provider for dealer management software for the motorcycle, snowmobile and Powersports industries

Friday, October 9, 2009

Rugger Owned Update

Here's a couple of updates to the Rugger Owned business list. We're a very diverse bunch, and obviously smart and talented, as evidenced by the variety of businesses that ruggers own and operate.

John Scheef III is one of the senior partners in a Dallas, Texas based law firm called Scheef & Stone, LLP. They have 34 attorneys and are a general business law firm. John is also a retired, non-playing member of the Dallas Harlequins RFC and President of the Dallas Harlequins Foundation which is a charitable organization supporting the Dallas Harlequins.

Joe Ting's company is called RampageRugby. The concept is aimed at improving and helping everyone involved in the game, be it players, Coaches, Refs and promoting the game in the not so main stream rugby countries, i.e. Spain, Portugal etc.. His site includes an injury clinic, which is specific for rugby injuries.

Good luck guys!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Giving Back - A Guest Post

Today is a big day for Let's Talk Business! We have our very first Guest Blogger. Jeff Thomas of Ideal Computer Systems, Inc. wrote the following article titled The Benefits of Investing in Your Community. It is a timely article because during the last interview I did for my upcoming book the gentleman I spoke with talked about how his company donates resources to the city and state Civil Defense organizations and why that's good business.

Here at Let's Talk Business! we (meaning me, since we is me) don't try to sell you anything or endorse any products or services for personal or monetary gain. This article fits in well with the focus of this blog so I am happily posting it. Plus, Wendy over at Your Scrumhalf Connection has several guest bloggers and interns and if I can make any small progress in making my blog as good as hers, I'll give it a try. Thanks Jeff.

Here's Jeff's article:

The Benefits of Investing In Your Community

We’ve all seen them: the small print shop that is sponsoring this summer’s Little League team, the bakery that donated bread and muffins for the town’s Walk for Breast Cancer, or the record shop that puts on free concerts every weekend for local teens.

As a small business owner, you’re in a unique position to really give back to the community you live in. Sure it feels great to do something good for your town. But can it pay off?

The good news here is that yes, it can, in several different ways. If you go about it the right way.
One of the greatest benefits to being involved with your community is that people will start to recognize your business. And in their minds, your business name will be tied directly in with the good feeling of charity. The two concepts, your business and goodwill, are directly linked. When it comes to name recognition and customer loyalty, this is a very good thing.

Another benefit to investing in your community is the sense of satisfaction you get from doing it. You can’t measure the feeling of giving back in dollars and cents, but it’s amazing the boost it can give not only to you, but to your employees as well.

Many large companies, like Google and Tom’s of Maine, give their employees one paid day per month to volunteer however they like. This is a huge perk in those companies, and the employees say it’s a big morale booster.

If you want to make sure your customers know about your involvement then make sure you advertise it. If you send out a monthly newsletter, then showcase what you did and include plenty of pictures.

Another way you can highlight your efforts is to call your local paper. For example, many businesses will donate a portion of their sales for a month to a local charity, and newspapers love to run these features. This is free publicity for your business.

If you become involved in a larger event, then make sure your business name is displayed as prominently as possible. Invest in banners and t-shirts, and have plenty of brochures on hand to pass out to people.

Community involvement is a great way to give back, feel great about what you’re doing, and get some publicity for your business in the bargain. And don’t forget, most of the time you can write off your expenses as a tax deduction.

Guest post by Jeff Thomas of Ideal Computer Systems Inc.