BUSAN, South Korea – Every Sunday I drag my aching body out of bed to discover new bruises. Sometimes they appear in interesting shapes and patterns; various remnants of my journeys back and forth across the pitch the day before. The twinges and cramps in my muscles usually subside around Tuesday.
Why do I subject myself to this agony?
The answer is simple: I am trying to mold my flabby torso into shape for the upcoming Rugby tournament, hosted by my local team, the Busan Bandits, on Saint Patrick’s day this March 17th. Around noon on that day we’ll be going head-to-head with the Jeonnam Aliens, Daegu Dragons and the Ulsan Panthers. This will be the second tournament hosted by the Bandits since the club formed last November.
As I was returning back to Korea back in August, most of my old friends were leaving. Returning to Busan a 'billy-no-mates,' piling on the pounds and the onslaught of male pattern baldness, I knew drastic action was called for. A team sport was the perfect solution. The tide of baldness that was washing over my scalp could not be stopped, but it was within my power to stop myself from becoming too round.
Having spent much of the summer watching the Rugby World Cup at Beached Bar in Gwangan, I wanted to give this chaotic sport a go.
A month after New Zealand was enthroned as victors, I nervously headed to Sasang for the first training session. I was worried that the other players would be complete meat-heads and I an utter turd with no experience. Luckily they weren’t what I imagined and neither was I.
These days our players range from 15 years of experience to those who’ve never even seen a Rugby ball before. We’re a ragtag group hailing from all over the globe. It seems most weekends we have new people show up, which is great.
We need plenty of new blood in the squad if we hope to actually play in all three games of the tournament without passing out on the pitch at some point.
If you are interested in joining the squad, we train at 2pm on Saturdays at Samrak Park in Sasang. If you just want to come out to the tournament and watch us kick some serious arse, come on down.
After the tournament we’ll amble on over to our sponsor, Beached Bar, for some Beer Olympic shenanigans. Think you’ve got what it takes to out-play and out-drink the best alcoholics Busan has to offer? Then put your money where you mouth is and your feet on the pitch.
Getting to the practice pitch: Come straight out of exit 3 from Sasang subway station. Keep going for about 4‘ish minutes. You’ll come to an escalator in front of a Homeplus, leading up to Gwaebeop Renecite station. Go up there and walk straight across the bridge. Looking over the main road, you should see the rugby post over on the right. Aim yourselves that way.
For more information on the team, the tournament and the beer Olympics, check out our Facebook page.