Friday, March 14, 2008

Rugby Is A Mood Altering Activity

There hasn't been much of two things required for writing lately; time and motivation. The time issue is pretty obvious, there has been lots of travel. O, Maniac, and I are back at Dubs now, reunited with the original team. Everyone's got stories to tell, and everyone is fine... for the most part.

Mac and Cowboy have been key players in getting nearly everyone on the team into an exercise regimen called P90X that has yielded tremendous results for them. The change in the Cowboy is very visible. They are in great shape. O, Maniac and I were busy working with the ANP downrange until the day got pretty close, so we are in the worst shape on the team. Funny how that works. Most of the rest of the guys have lost all kinds of weight and are looking good. There are a couple of notable exceptions.

We won't talk about that, though.

Seeing the guys again is good. I have been the farthest flung from the team, winding up out east all by myself (no original team members around me,) so I felt a little out of place at first. I have also been wrestling with my anger and frustration with the overall American situation here. So my motivation to write has been low... when you don't have something good to say....

The original team has been working closely with the French these past few months, and so last night the French threw a little party for us. Our Sergeant Major secured some steaks and charcoal and the French brought a lot of French things, like different cheeses and baguettes and foie gras.

Most of the French are with the Foreign Legion. Legionnaires are really good guys, and all of the French soldiers are pretty good guys once you get to know them. There is a bit of a language barrier at times, but a lot of the French speak a little English at least. Some of them speak English quite well. We played some volleyball and then it happened; a rugby game broke out.

I played Rugby once in college as a stand in. I had no clue what I was doing. None of us knew what we were doing last night. A Foreign Legion Sergeant Major who is originally from South Africa coached us on it as we went along, and he was very patient and did a wonderful job.

We just knew that we got to tackle people.

It was more fun than human beings should be allowed by law. We wound up taking the net down on the sand volleyball court behind the FOB and just going at it. The Legionnaires were tough, but we finally wound up winning. I've got to try that P90X stuff, because the Cowboy runs like a squirrel on crack now. He's here, he's there, zipping around... running across wires... up and down the Hesco's... scoring "tries" (the rugby equivalent of a touchdown) and generally scooting about like a cocaine-enhanced arboreal rodent. He's got too much energy, and he's very quick. It has to be a great fitness program. It was hilarious.

Okay, I was kidding about the wire running and Hesco climbing, but the rest of it is true.

Everyone had a good time. Everyone wound up banged up, too. Injuries included various abrasions and contusions, bumped heads, kicked body parts, sand in the eyes, a couple of human bite wounds, a cut lip, and a broken big toe. Honorable wounds acquired battling against the French Foreign Legion on foreign soil. Now that's a good day of wholesome fun.

You can't help but have fun playing a game that includes something called a "scrum."

The team of guys from America beat the French Foreign Legion at rugby, but it didn't matter. Everyone had a good time, and we were all sharing a lot of laughs by the end of the evening.

This morning the doc told me that there's not much that can be done for my toe. It'll heal.

We still don't know exactly how we're getting back to Ft Riley, or exactly what day. Some of the plans briefed have included zodiacs, unicycles, and Radio Flyer wagons. I'm not concerning myself with it. I know that we are talking about a spread of a couple of days in either direction, not a year. Just another example of amazing staff work done by our joint services in the theater of combat operations.

Yes, God bless staff officers; every one.


  1. There's nothing like the Army waiting game...I don't think you could have had a more opposite game than Rugby! We watched a rugby game one afternoon at West Point while my son was there. We had to collar a cadet on the sidelines to tell us (and about 25 other people) what was happening and when to cheer for our side.
    I perked up when I read that Riley is your next destination. We are counting down the days until our son's unit returns there as well. I have so enjoyed your postings and have appreciated your insights. I think they have helped me to understand what my son is experiencing, as he is not a blogger, doesn't write much about what is happening with him, and saves his phone calls for his fiancee (which is as it should be.)Hang in there and best of luck in the future. I know it may sound trite, but I still want to say: thank you for your service.

  2. A broken toe? crikey.

    Here's hoping your travel plans get organized and have you heading home soon.

  3. What a great way to celebrate the end of your deployment. I'm sure there will be other celebrations as well but it sounds like this one will be up towards the top when you look back on your time in Afghanistan.

    Sorry to hear about the toe.

    I've more than enjoyed your posts. You are a great writer. While I'll miss stopping by to check on your latest adventure I'm happy to know that you will soon be home with those who you love so much and those who have missed having you near.

    THANK YOU for serving this great nation and thank you for sharing your adventures with us.

    Safe travels.

  4. i really hope you don't stop writing when you get back. and i am so happy for you to see your children. and i hope your toe is getting better, too.

  5. Oh my, the sacrifices you've gone through just for a little fun. lol. I hope your toe does feel better soon.

    I'd like to tell you what happened this weekend. Starting on Friday, Vets for Freedom started a 15 state National Heroes Tour starting from San Diego to end up at DC so they can be there when General Petreaus arrives to update Congress. They had a concert on the USS Midway!

    Here is one of the many links about that day and night. I hope you enjoy it.

    Please keep writing when you get home. It appears you have made a number of friends while you were away. ;)

    God bless your family and you, and thank you so very much for everything.

  6. The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 03/17/2008 News and Personal dispatches from the front lines.

  7. I too, will miss your insights. So glad you are coming home safe but I will miss the window into the world of Afghanistan. We need every knowledgable, reasoned voice we can get. God Bless


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