Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Fourty of Fourty for the fourty on the Fourty

Fourty (about) shots of Fourty Whiskey to celebrate fourty years of rugby in the Fourty (Grimsby) - thank you James.

According to an article on March 23, 1977 in the Grimsby Independent Tony Evans, Derrick Harries and Doug Watson? were developing a team of high school players from Grimsby High School to play rugby that spring.  In a conversation I had with Derrick Harries (I don't remember where or why) he mentioned the formation of the team and that he wanted to call the team the Grimsby Gentlemen Rugby Football Club.  I really did not think much of that name for a sports team (perhaps a strip club) but told him it sounded great. And so fourty years ago the GGRFC was born as a junior team playing high schools and a few other exhibition games (our colours are the same as GSS) and is playing today although it has not been a continuous history.  The team went into hibernation for a couple of years but somehow was resurrected by a few players who felt it was important to have a rugby team in Grimsby. Life members Chris Atkinson, Bill Stabler and Paul Rohner all played an important part in keeping the team going. Thanks to all who helped to move the ball down the field (even a little bit) to get us to this point of opening our renovated clubhouse (which surprised many of the old boys who have come to the club for the first time).
I remember meeting with Bill Curtis, President of the NRU at the time(the early eighties), and Bob Hepburn (Bob was a teenager) because he wanted to put the Grimsby team into the senior men's division. I was also there in the late nineties when Chris Atkinson stood up a practice and said we had a chance to get the old Alway school for a club house and there was enough room for a field in the back.  He needed a commitment from the members to be able to work on the place.  (Little did I know the amount of time I would spend there).
In other but less interesting news from 1977, Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister, Bill Davis was Premier and Bob Arkell was Mayor and Jimmy Carter was the American president.  The Toronto Blue Jays played their first season, Montreal won the Stanley Cup, and the Hamilton Hornets won the Ontario Senior Men's Championship by defeating Balmy Beach in the last game of the season. Roman O'Gara and Tonya Verbeek were born and Elvis died.  The minimum wage in Ontario was $2.65. The Roxy Theater in Grimsby was still standing and "Star Wars" was released along with "Saturday Night Fever", "Rocky" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind".

Jimmy Buffet recorded "Margaritaville", the Village People "YMCA", the Eagles "Hotel California and New Kid in Town", and Stevie Wonder "I Wish". The Sex Pistols started the punk rock era.

The viral disease smallpox was declared eradicated by the World Health Organization but Dr. Grethe Rask from Denmark died of Pneumocystis carinii (most likely the first documented case of probable viral AIDS infection).

Voyager I and Voyager II were launched as unmanned satellites to explore the outer solar system and are still going strong as is the Grimsby Gentlemen Rugby Football Club.

On Saturday May 18th we celebrated this fourtieth year by having a kids flag tournament, officially opening the renovated club house, playing a Flag Forever (older players flag rugby), a old timers game and the men's league game against Wilmot (see last entry). Music was played in the evening by Phil Rose and later Craig Roberts and Mike Van Donegan (Two Sheets to the Wind) with guest drummer Peter Griffin.

"Played a rugby club on Father's Day so I took my dad's ball to keep me company."
Peter adds: "I played a rugby club on Father's day so I took my dad's ball to keep me company".
some flaggers before they grow up

and start drinking

Niagara Flag rugby (treasurer Eric Smith and president Caleb Smith) supported the Gentlemen with an anniversary donation.  Thank you gentlemen.

Flag Forever Exhibitors
    old boys players (who played with themselves)

A couple of members  were honoured at the official opening of the renovated club. In the past year or so, Brendan Vorstenbosch and Nick Lemieux both have worked so hard to get the club to the point where we could open at this time.  Brendan did all the plumbing (water heaters, toilets and sinks) and Nick (woodwork and painting) and led the initiative to get the Trillium grant.  .  

Well done Gentlemen
Eric Mitchinson from Trillium cutting the ribbon with Nick
Thanks for all you do Trillium. 
Thanks to the builders who came out.

And one rugby leaguer from Britain.
Fiona, one of the original women member, came back to two fist it.

Erin and Kaley kept the bar running
    players and former players 
     A shout out to Scott Nicholson who came all the way from Nova Scotia to be with us at this time. Thanks to Annemaree Peters who attended as president of the Niagara Rugby Union. 
    Dean brought Tara to celebrate their eighth anniversary (I thought that was a great idea so it probably wasn't)
    We have decided at other celebrations like this at midnight all sources of toilet paper and flame will be confiscated. 

    Oh yeah- in 1977 a try was worth four points (so you had to score more often)..