Bottoms Up: WRFC Edition

Recently, a lot of information and rumors have surfaced regarding one of the oldest, most beloved drinking institutions on this campus: the Williams Rugby Football Club. As a senior member of this institution, and former holder of the team’s secret lore and protocol, I find it my unfortunate duty to inform the reading public of the very underbelly of the WRFC’s obscure and ostensibly lurid drinking culture. I do so at serious risk; the society of WRFC alumni (the Olde Fartes) will not be pleased by my actions, and I face serious penalties, including excommunication, exile and physical dismemberment for doing so. Nevertheless, I fly in the face of convention, feeling that it is a melancholy necessity to dispel rumors. More importantly, in dispelling these unfounded rumors and claims, I can inform my most beloved readers of the alcohol selections and habits of a group of Ephs that care about their socially consumed beverages with gusto, fear, love and respect. So, without further ado, I give you the unabridged, unabashed “A Thursday Night in the Life of a WRFC rugger (in-season).”

The first activity on the list is team dinner. We like to keep it classy on the rugby team, so on this particular occasion, we have to go gourmet. There is côte de bÃ…“uf with a side of risotto and arugula salad with endives and tofu for vegetarians – both are truly delicious, especially when served with our wine selection. First, there is the Château Moulin de Peyronin, a Bordeaux from France that goes quite well with hearty beef dishes. It is a classic dark red wine that has delicious fruity undertones such as cherry and plum that make it contrast delightfully with the meaty sensuousness of the côte de bÃ…“uf. We also have a “white wine” (actually Motts apple juice) to go with the vegetarian special, and it quietly bemuses the upperclassmen to see the younger ones drink it with their beef – the simple, innocent underclassmen! In a moment of weakness, I yell out in jest, “Why don’t you guys just drink digestifs before dinner instead of afterwards, HA!” The jest is not well received by the underclassmen, who find the comment both haughty and incendiary; I withdraw and apologize profusely, before finishing the last silky, oaky dregs of the Bordeaux.

At this point, the officers hold a secret meeting where we deal with internal team and alumni issues while the underclassmen meet to casually discuss politics, academics, religion and the economy. Here the beverage of choice is only the finest of beers, and a staple of many a rugger’s diet: Guinness Ale. If you’ve ever drunk one, you know that it is hearty and full-bodied, as well as thick and creamy. Though there may be a subtly sweet aftertaste, Guinness is mostly smoky, reminiscent of the stout and porter brews. One of the best things about Guinness is that it is so full-bodied that after a couple, both your stomach and mind become satisfied, and the body begins to slip into a warm, comfortable state of relaxation, essential in the painful world of rugby. There even may be more benefits to drinking Guinness, as researchers have shown that it reduces cholesterol and arterial clogging. Clearly, our drinking is not for destructive or irresponsible purposes, but is in fact a matter of healthy living!

At our meetings we toast the tiniest bit of fine Scotch Whiskey to the honor and memory of WRFC members no longer with us. We honor our fallen mates and pray that they are happy and doing well, wherever they may be. Today, we drink Johnny Walker Green Label. This exquisite, relatively unknown blend is wonderful. Unlike its relatives ranging from red to blue, Green Label, a vatted malt scotch, is surprisingly sweet. I raise my glass and propose a toast to a fallen mate, Jim Edwards ’97, who recently died in a car accident. As I put the scotch to my mouth, I notice the cool burn that is on my lips and tongue, but I do not flinch. It is not as harsh as other scotches, and is both exhilarating and relaxing at the same time. Through our scotch tasting, our past mates are perpetually commemorated, and a never-ending chain is continued.
We end our night, not only as a team, but as a larger group of both the men’s and women’s clubs. If you come to a rugby “late night” event, I am confident you will find the most diverse and inclusive environment on campus. There are people of every religion, race, creed, sexuality and socioeconomic class present. Most importantly, by this point divisions and identities collapse, and we are simply great friends. Perhaps, now, you realize that there is some rugger in you after all, and of course, anyone is more than happy to come join us some Thursday night, but most likely, given our current situation, not until next year.