• Rugby Drinking Rules

    Rugby Drinking Rules

    Ben Harrell, former president of San Fernando Valley RFC and Ark Gryphons RFC, shares some rugby drinking rules.

    …I played with Queen City for another year before moving to Los Angeles.  As soon as I reached L.A. the first thing I did was look for a rugby club, finding the San Fernando Valley RFC.  I was welcome with open arms and exposed to a new set of traditions with SFV.

    SFV had drinking rules for all social events.  And they must be adhered to or punishment was imminent.  Drinking of course was the punishment to not following proper rules.  To name a few…

    Left Handed Drinking Only (Leaving your right hand for greeting others)

    No Pointing  (considered rude.  Any extension beyond your elbow considered a point)

    And NO SPILLAGE (that’s your drink hitting the floor, it’s okay if you spill on yourself)

    If you violated these rules and were called on it, then you were to apologize to the accuser, have your apology accepted, then chug your remaining drink and go to your head (if your not drinking it your wearing it).  False accusations were also punishable so you better not call someone out on a rule if you don’t know what your talking about.

    SFV was also steeped in tradition in regards to their player and match awards.  The Most Inspirational award handed out annually was in honor of a fallen player from years before.

    I would say the most unique thing about San Fernando was the “Cup”, which was this dirty old disgusting pewter cup with an English coin soldered to the side over the letters S.F.V.R.F.C.  The tradition had started back in the 70’s during a tour to England.  I’m not as privy to the actual story as some of the older guys but it was a tradition that still lives on today.  The “Cup” was/is awarded to the player of the match that played “above and beyond his ability”.  It wasn’t for the best player. I didn’t have to be an “A” side player.  It was awarded to the guy who laid it out there that day.  It was often awarded to a player with not a whole lot of skills but who played his ass off that day.  That is what was so different about the “Cup”.  Anyone can win it and it was a goal of all on the club to hold it with honor at one point.

    Along with the cup came the hat.  The hat is a small, maroon, bicycle type had someone had conjured up years ago.  It was affixed with the team patch.  And each time you won the cup from then out you would receive a star on your hat.

    And it was always your responsibility to have that hat with you at all times.  If three or more hat winners were ever together then a “GHC, General Hat Call” could be made and you had 10 minutes to have it on your head.  If you didn’t have it, then you must apologize, and have it accepted, to up to 7 hat winners and chug for all of them.  Needless to say your learned quickly to never leave your hat.

    There was actually a hat call (GHC) at my Wedding.  We all had them and Wes Dixon stood in front of my entire wedding party and sang “I am a young Caballero” as we all wore our hats and chugged a beer in front of my Mom, Dad, and my two great aunts.

    I was lucky enough to be a part of SFV Rugby for 13 years, 7 of them as the president of the club.  I moved to Arkansas in 2005 and help with the formation of the Gryphons. Last fall I attended SFV’s 50 Anniversary Celebration.  Complete with members of the original team in 1963.  I was honored to be a part of such a fantastic organization.  The most important people in my life are from my rugby club(s).  And I bet I can go to any country in the world and I know somebody there I’ve played with.

    When the Gryphons formed up in Northwest Arkansas I was thrilled to have rugby back in my life.  I played up to two years ago, was president of the Gryphons for one year, and scored a try at age 40.  I’ve stepped back from playing as I have two small kids, but I’m at every event that I can.

    My years of singing has made me a bit of a rock star here.  If I’m at a function then I’m singing.  “Saturdays’ a Rugby Day!”  You bet your ass it is!

    Ben Harrell

    Ben Harrell

    Former President SFV Rugby

    Former President AGRFC

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