|The Form, The Grace, The Beauty ...|
Rob Kelly (aliases include Jim Bob Kelly) and I played college rugby together at Wake Forest University. Rob played flyhalf, but his best asset wasn't his on field performances. Instead, it was his ability to make all teammates feel welcomed and included in the team fabric.
|Always a Fan Favorite|
|When You're Ready For the Post-Game Social .....|
He wasn't half bad at rugby either, bagging meat twice (brace-face 😬) in the 2012 final game against Va Tech. Rob played the game exactly like someone who's 160 lbs soaking wet ..., craftier that you'd expect, and always holding on for dear life.
|Who doesn't love a cheeky chip kick?|
After reaching the highs of a successful season, the following year saw the Demon Deacons winless in what became a massively competitive ACRL (the league that Pat Kane had championed and helped create). After dedicating a decade of his life to molding the the Wake Forest Rugby program into a highly competitive side, Pat stepped down and has continued to grow the game in the Greensboro NC area.
His tenure with the program accelerated the growth of rugby in the Carolinas on the Collegiate level. The ACRL 7's was a completely unique experience for new players who we're trying rugby for the first time, and experienced players who hadn't had the opportunity to play high level teams. I still remember our 12-hour van trip from Winston-Salem NC to Tallahassee FL (slept about 11.5 hours), and hosting the tournament in nearby Greensboro NC in 2010 & 2011.
Although Wake never hoisted any hardware we picked up pool game wins that instilled the confidence in our team that we could compete with high-level teams in the upcoming 15s season. Iron sharpens iron, and sure enough in 2012 we forged some W's.
|That 2012 Wake Forest Rugby team after defeating Virginia Tech 43-29.|
Seven years later, Wake competes in the Southern Rugby Conference, playing the local teams in North Carolina (App State, Furman, Elon, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Charlotte) that I first played as a freshman in 2008. It's funny how things almost always come full circle.
Top 3 - Wake Forest Ruggers (from graduating classes of 2012 & 2013)
Wes Bloomer (best to never play)
Rob grew up in the greater D.M.V. area, and is not only a season ticket holder of the Major League Rugby franchise, Old Glory D.C., but he is also a founding member of "The Glory Hole" ... the cheering section that fused Catholic Stadium with palpable energy during Old Glory's first few home games before the season was cancelled due to Covid-19.
|The Glory Hole in all its might ...|