Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Rugby Gets in Your Blood (Sports Cover Story)

This was undoubtably the hardest story I ever had to write - and I blame them. You see, the only way they would be interviewed is if I would come join them at a house party and drink with them. Now I am a drinker, so I said I would. But I brought my micro-cassette recorder and three tapes, and the last two tapes were useless. I couldn't tell what I was asking, let alone what any of them were answering. Though, in moments of some lucidity, I could tell we were discussing Iraq, the tax base, Canadian girls, and the NFL. But, as God as my witness, everything in the story had to come off the first tape (and most of that was off the first side of the first tape). These guys say they've never lost a party. They're not lying.

It has been said that soccer is a gentlemen’s game played by hooligans, but that rugby is a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen. It is a violent game, fast moving and dangerous, immortalized by the bumper sticker that reads, “Give Blood. Play Rugby.” In Jackson, those gentlemen who participate in the hooligan’s game are known as the Jackson Rugby Football Club.

Though the majority of local sports fans are not even aware that the club exists, the Jackson Rugby FC began in 1974 and has been active since. The club competes nationally with 365 different teams in their division. Currently the team plays their matches at Chastain School, at 4650 Manhattan Road.

"Where the Hell Are Them Chemical Weapons?" (Column)

This column was responsible for my first two death threats. Yep, when it was published, I received my first two within two days, each one coming via email, and each one telling me how I was going to die and for what reasons (the usual - anti-American, unpatriotic, liberal, and so on...) Upon reflection, I think they mistook the term "hate mail" at the bottom of my blurb for "death threats." At the time, people hated everything I wrote (not the columns - just my opinions), and were happy to send in four or five pieces of hate mail a week. I decided to mention hate mail that week. The results were death threats. I never again mentioned hate mail; it seemed a bit short-sighted to do so. But I never backed off my anti-war position and I never toned it down. I also didn't live in fear. I turned over the death threats to the sheriff's department. I received four or five more (I honestly can't remember how many it was) and didn't worry about it. None of these twerps ever killed me, so I got that going for me, which is nice.

The US people can feel proud. We’ve put one in the “Dubya” column, against a third-world enemy with antiquated weaponry and an army made largely of non-soldiers. Dozens of American and British soldiers have lost their lives in this illegal war, but hey! That’s okay, since it means cheaper gas for all of us, right? Now, all that’s left to do is to send our POWs home, install our own puppet government, and make sweeping trade agreements for millions of barrels of cheap oil.

Oh, yes. And find those pesky chemical weapons. These weapons are important to the White House, more important than some people realize. These weapons, which were labeled “Weapons of Mass Destruction,” are the reason for this war. These weapons, not yet found, are the justification that the Governor of the United States used to attack Iraq. And nobody’s found a single one yet.

Right now, most of the world’s population hates us, because of this insane war we’ve undertaken. But there are some who are waiting, giving us the benefit of the doubt, wondering where the chemical weapons are. If we don’t produce any, we will have been proven wrong; and we will find it harder to hold onto allies.

At this point, the White House is so desperate to uncover chemical weapons that any substance in Baghdad which cannot be readily recognized as sugar, salt, or Tabasco sauce is being sent off to be tested for chemical content. They have to. If we are unable to find any chemicals, then we have to admit that the reason we went to war is bullshit. This will not go over well with the Europeans, Arabs, Asians, or in fact with our allies – the few we have – who genuinely believed our intelligence.