Inert Detritus The Internet's dust bunnies

2 November 2007 @ 2pm

Rugby in November

Novem­ber has start­ed. There’s just 23 short days left until my birth­day. And by birth­day, I mean drink­ing good beer while watch­ing Tech oblit­er­ate UVA in football.

This week has been a blur. I expect the rest of the month to be the same.

Mon­day brought a half day of class­es, and the oth­er half of work: I fin­ished up new search mech­a­nism in time for a meet­ing when I arrived on Wednes­day. At rug­by prac­tice, we did posi­tion­al drills: the tight five split off for scrum prac­tice; the back line went for a run, prac­tic­ing plays; the loose for­wards (flankers and eight man) and scrum-half prac­ticed scrum defen­sive and offen­sive situationals.

The right answer, when any­one asks, is “No, I haven’t played that before.” Learn from my mis­take: the answer is not, “Yeah, I’ve done that once or twice in prac­tice.” I vol­un­teered to scrum-half for the evening, since we were short for the Divi­sion III team. Prac­tice was ter­ri­ble: I could­n’t get the ball out to the fly-half at a decent speed, with any accu­ra­cy, or when the back line was ready to move. By the time we left, I found myself sin­cere­ly wish­ing I nev­er had to play scrum-half for the rest of my rug­by career.

Tues­day brought a long day of class­es, and a sin­cere wish dur­ing prac­tice that the coach­es remem­bered my ter­ri­ble per­for­mance the day before. They remem­bered it, sure, but instead of think­ing, “Wow, we should keep him at flanker, far away from the ball,” they thought, “He’s a quick learn­er: let’s work on that ground pass­ing.” Not one to say no to an inter­est­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty to try a new posi­tion, I agreed to work on it again dur­ing prac­tice. Unbe­knownst to me, our reg­u­lar scrum-half did­n’t plan on play­ing this week­end, and so, I was also vol­un­teer­ing to learn the entire posi­tion, in three days, and to play it in the state tour­na­ment this Saturday.

Yes, that’s right: an inside cen­ter turned blind­side flanker is now play­ing scrum-half.

Wednes­day was anoth­er day of class­es fol­lowed by work. Some­one at work had made sub­stan­tial changes to the data­base on Tues­day and removed sev­er­al indices put in place for our queries: when I dou­ble-checked that my new search was per­form­ing prop­er­ly, I was greet­ed by 100+ sec­ond wait times for result sets to return. Need­less to say, we had to pre-load most of our pages for the pre­sen­ta­tion that afternoon.

Prac­tice went much bet­ter, now that I had accept­ed the inevitable. I was able to con­cen­trate on improv­ing my form, and learned to observe the field and think ahead. For a flanker who’s used to react­ing to the sit­u­a­tion at hand, sud­den­ly being hand­ed full con­trol of game flow on offense is a big change, and it took some rethink­ing of how I played to make it work.

This week­end, we trav­el to Rich­mond to play two match­es against UVA. I’ll be play­ing scrum-half for the B‑side match. It promis­es to be good times.