How the Leper Got His Spots (The Unofficial version)
or, Why There Is What There Is In A Name
by Rudyard Kipling, with Ken Leach
It is no coincidence that the good Lord took an important few moments out of His Genesis week's work to make sure that each new thing received its own name. Arguably, just being is not quite enough. Being and being named is somehow universally essential to Being itself.
Your jersey's chest patch reads, "Founded 1975." Remember the years just before. The days passed somewhat differently then. Stroh's was the brew of choice. Big Jim Rhodes called the shots from the Statehouse. Good bourbon whiskey up and down High Street ran $.75 for a healthy slug. Campus was cranked into a confusing exciting turmoil of newly-on-the-pill sex, eight-track music, muscle cars, government subsidized tuition and halter-topped liberal arts. Yet despite what you may have heard, young men still studied, because if they failed their classes they went straight to a mis-construed Asian war. Imagine. Into this complex fray, the wise and inscrutable Glyn Meyrick brought forth a university rugby team at OSU that began to earn for itself its rightful place amongst the first rank of teams anywhere in the nation. You can look it up.
His sound counsel found fertile campus ground in a small cadre of non-conformist bad-ass athletes. While football made sense to them, coaches did not. Drugs, especially psychedelics, were of a much higher quality then, were readily available to the right folks and were ingested for perhaps better and larger reasons than now. On the field, the fierce might of Parthmore and Ederle was equally matched by the speed and guile of Larrimer, Mechenbier, Kyser, France and Rothey.
Athletically and socially, rugby made sense to them for all the right reasons, as it still does. Columbus steadily grew rugby players. Good rugby players. What it needed was a separate team; a team with its own place, name, and home.
As the OSU program grew, so did the number of local players who were no longer students. At one point in 1973, OSU's entire A side did not include a single under-graduate. At the same time, American rugby's governing organization was beginning to mature. League play was taking shape. Operational inconsistencies such as ours were soon to come under heavy scrutiny. Everyone knew it was time to create a non-OSU, city-wide club.
What would be its name? Lions? Tigers? Bears? Monsters? Doubtful. "The name itself is self-mocking and was meant that way," says icon, early stalwart and famed underpants spokesmodel Billy France. "We intentionally avoided standard kinds of names. We were not just looking for something different, but for something that yelled 'Different!'"
"All of us were heavily influenced at that time by Kipling's writings and by the book, "The Frontiersman," which dealt largely with the settling of the Ohio Valley and the birth of major Ohio cities such as Columbus," says team founder, SVRFC Hall of Famer and non-underpants spokesmodel Terry Larrimer. "Rivers were key to settling the state. That's why the Scioto Valley name and that's why the team patch (an intentional take-off of the Ohio State Seal) looks the way it does."
If some of this makes less sense than you think it should, please refer to the paragraph above which dealt with drug quality and availability.
One of Kipling's more memorable stories concerned a dark episode in the history of British colonialism in which 126 British officers and soldiers were dumped into a suffocating 4' x 6' hole by their Indian (as in India) captors and revolutionaries. It is a tale of horror, smushed-ness and amazing acts of courtesy, humanity and brotherhood. In other words, it was just like a good ruck except that our rucks don't usually involve a mess of cranky Indians with big guns. It was known as "The Black Hole of Calcutta." From such our B-side got its name. Also, Glyn Meyrick's father was a Sgt. Major in the British Colonial army. So things kinda connect.
Another standard mis-conception has to do with the team colors, green and orange, and their supposed connection with the Irish. "Not true. The color choice was more or less totally random, but might have had something to do with Billy eating a lot of peas and carrots," said a source not willing to be named. (Again, please see "drugs" above.)
Other highly informative droll quips garnered from the veteran corps...
"Tell them to figure it out for themselves." Schubert
"Beats the hell out of me." Finkle
"I don't know. Ask Larrimer or somebody." Kyser
"I wasn't around then." Everybody else.
In conclusion, and with full respect for the fine club that those who went before created, named and passed down to us, perhaps the words of the sage Schubert sum it up best, especially as they reflect our own personal measures of responsibility for our Club's past, present and future...
Q.) "How did the Club get its name?"
A.) "There isn't an answer...other than what you make of it."
Exactly. Never forget that.
Athletically and socially, rugby made sense to them for all the right reasons,
as it still does.