The student rugby team took home another win with a 43-26 victory over the Old Boys alumni team March 3, 2012 during the annual Rugby Alumni weekend on campus.
Dozens of spectators gathered along the sidelines on the rugby pitch to enjoy a competitive match and a chance to catch up with friends under the warmth of the Arizona sun.
Although the Old Boys tied the game at 26 after the first 40 minutes, the students’ stamina and frequent practice helped them push ahead in the final 20 minutes, said Thunderbird Alumni Rugby Association leader Chuck Hamilton ’91.
“I thought we were just going to have some fun, but those guys are serious,” said Craig Hammond ’12, student rugby club president.
Despite the fierce competition on the pitch, the student and alumni rugby teams still found time to enjoy their close-knit friendship with social activities, such as a mixer at the pub and a banquet.
Student Rugby player Morgan Siegal ’12 said that the students are honored to host “those who have come before us.”
“The best part is always the camaraderie with old and new friends you haven’t seen in a year,” Hamilton said. “Our goal for next year is to triple the alumni turnout and continue to demonstrate to the student team what it means to be an Old Boy and how the fun continues even after graduation.”
Hamilton said that rugby is valuable to the alumni network because after each class graduates, its rugby players join the Old Boys “invigorating the Thunderbird Alumni Rugby Association with new blood.”
Also, the sport gives the alumni a reason to return to campus each year and “visit our old stomping grounds and remind each other how great we used to be,” Hamilton said with a chuckle.
He added more seriously, “It also doesn’t hurt that the networking has paid off for many of our members through internships and jobs.”
During Rugby Alumni Weekend, the Old Boys hold a special mixer for students to meet with alumni and share résumés.
The next trip for the Old Boys will be Croatia-Montenegro in summer 2013. Last year, the group traveled to Iceland to compete and a number of students joined them on the trip.
Future plans for the student team include a fundraising effort to play at the MBA Rugby World Cup hosted by Duke University.