During the week prior to the Williams Rugby Football Club’s (WRFC) contest against the Horned Frogs of Johnson State, Matthew “Tweezer” Lipinsky ’02 announced his retirement from the game of rugby he so dearly adored, citing a crippling nose injury.
Though Lipinsky desperately wanted to undergo some form of rehabilitation regimen and return to the pitch, doctors insisted that it was best for him to hang up the spikes. However, the Dawgs did not slump from this devastating news, instead channeling it into an inspired 57-3 victory over the Horned Frogs.
In a pre-game ceremony attended by a few teammates, so-called “friends” and a relative, Lipinsky fought back tears while uttering, “Today, I consider myself the ugliest man on the face of the earth.”
Small children and those with heart conditions were told to shield their eyes as the hideously disfigured Lipinsky spoke. He then offered a few words of encouragement to the White Dawgs as they took the field, but no one seemed to be paying any attention.
Williams shared the wealth amongst the scrum and line in their subsequent throttling of the Horned Frogs, scoring four and five tries, respectively.
Johnson State’s short-handed side just couldn’t contain the speed, agility, and strength of the White Dawgs, even with the help of liney scabs Zakariah “Fokker” Haviland, Devon Fitzgibbons, and John “Kross” Arendshorst.
The trio of Matthew “Eminem” Dahlman ’04, Tyler “Wheat” Polk ’03, and Galen “Diapers” Thorp ’04 teamed to convert six of the Dawgs’ nine tries. Resembling a Picasso more than a human being, Lipinsky cheered enthusiastically from the sidelines of the Williams girls’ soccer practice.
Thorp led Dawg scorers with a hat trick of tries; Polk and “Dijon” Pete Walke ’03 also touched the ball down across the Horned Frogs try line. “The story of the game?” Thorp pondered rhetorically, “Well. . . me, me and me. Notice I said ‘me’ three times.”
On the scrum side, Gailon “Tall Mike” Ebell ’03 rammed home two tries, and captain Nicholas “Pokee” Brandt ’02 and Ariel “Flounder” Zetlin-Jones ’04 contributed one try each.
Yet, the almost whimsical scoring was not the focus of this afternoon’s affair, but rather the day was Lipinsky’s. The Dawgs continually honored Lipinsky by working in his vintage “blind, haphazard, heaving” passes into play. Overcome with the emotion evident on the field, sniffly line captain Adam “Scout” Jacobson ’03 reflected, “Matt Lipinsky. . . tall guy? Doesn’t he play volleyball?”
Lipinsky’s career statistics are nothing short of astounding: 73 tries allowed, one assist. Additionally, although the extensive rugby records are inconclusive, we are fairly certain that he made a tackle or two at some point in time.
A lifelong Killer B, Lipinsky prided himself on his versatility. While not a great, or even good, player at any line position, the general consensus was that he could play them all “slightly above average.”
Flanker Andrew “Raid” Keating ’02, when asked about his playing days with Lipinsky, responded, “Oh, yeah, Pat. He’s a great player, kid. I’ve never seen anyone do some of the things he’s done.” When informed that the retiree’s name was actually Matt, Keating struggled. “Matt? Sorry, I’m drawing a blank here, kid.”
Although there was no B-side game, more than zero of Lipinsky’s compatriots ventured down to Cole Field to show their support. Clearly paying homage to their fallen warrior, B-siders chatted amongst themselves, casually played catch, and occasionally caught a glimpse of the game. When asked about Lipinsky’s decision, Jeremy “Sea Donkey” Koulish ’04 erupted, “UVM has no honor! None whatsoever!”
In the end, it was a great day for the White Dawgs â€“ a victory over Johnson State, and the sentimental retirement of a person who probably played rugby. Michael “Penny” Recht ’02 summarized everyone’s feelings when he pontificated, “I’m hungry, let’s go get a taco.” We’ll miss you, Matty.