Hookers and scrums

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- The ball goes out of bounds, but the player’s team is only a couple more yards until the ‘try zone’, or field goal. The player picks the ball up and throws it back in to play. Simultaneously, the opposing team lifts a ‘hooker’, a player who hooks the ball in the air before it lands on the field. The ball slips through their hands and lands in a fellow teammates hands as he sprints to touch the ball to the ground in the try zone. He makes it and the cheers from the crowd fill the air. After the game, teams shake hands and have dinner as they talk about ‘scrums’, a method of restarting play by packing teammates together, head down and arms linked, over the ball to attempt to gain possession of the ball.

Airman 1st Class Anthony Kisiday, 17th Communications Squadron networks operation technician, has brought the game to Goodfellow.

As part of the Make Goodfellow Great initiative, Kisiday created a rugby club for anyone who is interested in playing. So far the club has 23 individuals participating actively, 12 of which are in the Air Force. The club’s participants range from all branches and include civilians off base from Angelo State University. Those who participate can get an opportunity to play locally and travel to other cities to compete.

“I started playing at ASU and got invited to play for the USA U23 team,” said Kisiday.

USA U23 is a team for men under 23 to compete at collegiate level rugby and represent America.

Every Monday and Wednesday, Kisiday trains students, permanent party and civilians alike to play rugby. The club traveled, competed and won 2nd place against some of the best rugby teams in the nation, says Kisiday.

But, according to Kisiday, it’s not all about winning.

“I think the most important thing I want them to take away from this is having that knowledge of the sport and being able to go anywhere and play,” said Kisiday. “I’m teaching them a sport that is global. You can go anywhere in the world and I can guarantee you there is a rugby team somewhere nearby.”

Kisiday said that by knowing the game anyone can join a rugby team anywhere in the world and instantly have comrades with a similar interest, have a great stress reliever and interact with people from all different walks of life.

He also mentioned that it doesn’t matter that you tackle each other on the field, win or lose, in rugby culture you can instantly have friends.

For those looking to release some pent up aggression, have the exhilaration of sprinting a ball to victory while avoiding obstacles or simply make a few comrades on base, contact Anthony Kisiday.