Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rugby on Ice

Last weekend we (the McMurdo community) answered the challenge to play the Kiwis of Scott base in a game of rugby out on the Ross Ice Shelf. It was an incredibly gorgeous day out there. I was wearing a long underwear shirt, and was hot, even with my jacket off. I basked in the sun while watching the Kiwis pummel the hapless Americans. I imagine most of the Kiwis grew up playing rugby, and probably none of the Americans had ever played it, or even seen a game before working in the Antarctic program. I think it's an awesome game. It's huge in New Zealand, so we get exposed to it quite a bit. There are two types, rugby league and rugby union. Most of the folks I know think only rugby union is the "real" rugby. Both are much more interesting than American football to watch-- much more action and less annoying penalties and breaks. For our ice game, a rugby field was set up out on the ice shelf, near Snowmound City, where the FSTP (Field Safety and Training) folks take us out to Happy Camper School. It's perfectly flat out there, which is why I suppose the Kiwis chose the location, though it was far from either of our bases. They were playing on about a thousand feet of glacial ice, floating on the Ross Sea.

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