This article was originally published in the March/April 1966 edition of Alumni News.
On Sunday afternoons in the fall and spring, one of the things to do, especially with one’s date, is to go down to the field behind Memorial Gymnasium, sit on the bank, and watch a group of young men in uniforms with striped shirts play a game called rugby.
To many Americans, rugby is equated with clipped British accents, tea and crumpets, and the playing fields of Eton, and, of course, Rugby. They think of the game mostly as one of those peculiar rites, like queuing up in the rain to pay their taxes, that sets Britons apart from other human beings.
But there is something basically American, and old-fashioned American at that, about rugby matches on Sunday afternoons at the University. It may be the way the game is played here—as a sort of wild, fast football game, but without forward passes or downfield blocking; more than likely, however, the reason is that the striped almost gay-nineties uniforms, the totally unorganized spectators sitting on the free ground, and the casual play-for-fun spirit of the players evokes a folk memory of the way American football was in the glorious carefree days of its youth before it became a major American industry.
This elusive charm of the game, as if one might look up on the bank above the toiling players and see the willowy figure of a Gibson girl in a long lace dress and high-collar, sets rugby off from other sports at the University.