If you have ever watched rugby and didn’t quite get how the game was being played or have much of a clue as to just what was going on out there, then please don’t look to this game for guidance or clarity.
This is the Snow Game and there’s no game like it. (Sorry, had to.)
This is not the place to learn all-there-is-to-know-about-rugby-but-were-afraid-to-ask; it is, however, a great place to look for an afternoon filled with a lot of laughs, fresh air, friends, family and maybe, just maybe, a cold beer and a hot bowl of chilli.
This isn’t seven-a-side rugby or even 15-a-side.
This is however-many-people-show-up-to-play-divided-by-two-aside.
This rugby game may be split into conventional halves, but has been played in thirds or quarters or pretty much until the old guys say so.
This is the one day of the year when you will see the Williams Lake Rustlers, the Hustlers and the Cariboo Old Boys all take to the pitch at once.
The snow game pits coaches against players, brothers against sisters and fathers against sons.
Leave it to the pioneers of Williams Lake’s Polar Bear Swim to tackle each other into the snow for fun and no profit.
This year’s game was blessed by high attendance both on and off the pitch, exceptional weather, lots of fluffy snow, and a couple of local-turned-national rugby celebrities.
Jake Illnicki and Kayla Moleschi both carved some time out of their professional athletic careers to join their former team mates, coaches and friends for the afternoon.
It was most gracious of them to not maim anyone too badly.
When I asked a meteorologist about the unlikeliness of the excellent weather, near-perfect powdery snow and fortuitous lack of wind, I was told that it was likely due to the overwhelming amount of Stampede Belt Buckles present, creating something akin to the Bat Signal.
He explained that this was a direct result of the trifecta of division-winning rugby excellence that was the 2013 Stampede Rugby Tournament.
Whatever the case, it was truly a perfect day at the Ottoman fields … and I may have made up the part about the meteorologist.