There went the neighbourhood.
The Whistler Hoary Marmots Rugby Football Club kicked off their 2003 season last weekend at the annual Williams Lake Rustlers Stampede Tournament.
Following a team tradition set three years ago, the team arrived late on Friday and set up camp beside the field complete with a bonfire, retro ski gear, and a generator to keep the teams DJ spinning well into the evening. The also brought a few cases of carbohydrates to keep their energy and spirits up.
The club took to the field the following day in their brand new jerseys against a team from San Francisco the Speed Freak Clowns On Acid.
Although they were dressed funny, they came to play, and what followed was a tough game against a large San Fran pack and a referee who kept penalizing the Whistler players.
Still, the Marmots were first on the board with Rich Dillon taking a pass from his twin brother John to go up 5-0. Team Captain Johnny "Comedy" Gideon put the conversion through the uprights to make it 7-0.
San Francisco rallied back, and scored two unconverted tries to make it 10-7 at the half.
The second half went against the Hoary Marmots, who lost 22-7 after 40 minutes (two 20 minute halfs) of regulation time.
The mens team took the field a second time just 20 minutes later, this time facing Langley. The game went from end to end, and the Marmots came close with tries by both sides, but in the end the match went to Langley 22-12.
"Its tough getting a big team with lots of substitutes six hours north for a three-day tournament, but we did great with the team we had," says Gideon.
"Everyone gave their all in 35 degree heat, some playing for other teams that were short. Hats off to Special Ed and Chunk for their gutsy performances all over the field.
"Our home games will be much better matched in the forwards, as our back line is pretty solid and should turn some heads in the seven-a-side tournament coming up. But all in all, and as we say every season, were not bad for a bunch of ski bums."
The Whistler Hoary Marmots womens team lost their first game against Simon Fraser University in the seven-a-side tournament, but pulled it together in their next game against with five unanswered tries against the University of Northern British Columbia.
The Hoary Marmots would like to thank Claire, the teams physio and massage therapist, Scott for his cheering on the sidelines, and Ryan Nadeau for the DJ work.
The Whistler Hoary Marmots will be back in action this Saturday, with an exhibition game against the Vancouver Rowing Club. Kick-off is at 2 p.m.
This is the third year that the Rowing Club is making the trip to Whistler, and its always a good game followed by a fun social at Tapleys Pub.
Come out and cheer on your local team in the afternoon, and celebrate, win or lose, with them afterwards. The team will be having a fundraiser on the same evening with a player auction, raffle tickets, and lots of prizes.
Whistler Hoary Marmot jerseys are also for sale at Tapleys for $80, with all proceeds going towards the team to cover field costs, insurance and tournament fees. Special thanks to Sportstop for their help. Other shouts go to Tapleys Pub, Molson, Cathy at Hot Box and Canadian Club.
Whistler will also be hosting its annual seven-a-side tournament at the end of the month.
The team trains every Tuesday and Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Whistler Secondary. More players of all ages and abilities are always welcome to join in.
For more information on the team, visit the Web site at http://whistlerrugby.tripod.com, or call the team info line at 604-932-1845.