2006 marked the 15th anniversary of the Tokyo Gaijin Rugby Football Club. The first game was held in October or November 2001. The exact date needs to be clarified with someone who was sober that day as according to most reports it seems that most of the guys were hungover.
The teams` fortunes have ebbed and flowed over the years with some excellent players and ‘colourful’ characters having pulled on the TGRFC Jersey. The teams colours have changed a little but one constant has been the maroon. Another constant through the years has been club stalwart Jerry Brady.
Though he hasn`t played for a couple of years following a rough patch with the tragic passing of his wife, followed by a broken leg courtesy of being hit by a taxi while riding a motorbike, and of course the march of old Father Time he still comes and helps out at games, attends our BBQs, and is a co-owner of the teams` spiritual home, The Clubhouse Sports Bar in Shinjuku. He even believes he has one more tour left in the legs!
The Tokyo Gaijin Rugby Football Club had their Christmas Party and Annual Awards night on December 2nd, on the 47th floor of the Shinjuku Sumitomo Building. The event was held early in December as we have games over the next two weekends and some players are heading home for Christmas early. From the 47th floor there was a terrific view of Shinjuku but after about an hour of beer swilling it could have been a view of a ladies changeroom and most of the guys wouldn`t have cared. 62 people were in attendance and most of the guys looked unusually dapper in their suits and the ladies looked lovely in their outfits.
After 4 close losses on the trot, the TGRFC gathered in Chiharadai on the 26th of November, 2006, hoping to stop their slide and finish the year with three straight victories. Playing their first Ichihara League game for the year the team sensed it was gettable as they had gone through the League undefeated last year but their opposition on this day, Chiba Barbarians, were one of the toughest in the league and the Gaijin were missing some experienced players. The Gaijin started with newcomer Arnaud Fouche in the second row and 2 complete newcomers to the sport in Ajen Birmingham and Erin Hughes on the bench. Joffa Harris was also starting his first game in 8 months after a broken right forearm kept him frustrated on the sidelines. Some were just hoping that he would let hs play do the talking and not his mouth.
The passionate rivalry that is evident at all meetings of the Y.C.A.C. and Tokyo Gaijin football teams was clear for all to view. Whether it be etched on the faces of veterans in the pre-game team talk, displayed in the witty banter back and forth between supporters, or displayed intensely on players faces as the game ebbs and flows. Everyone present knows that victory in this all important of games should come at all costs. At least that`s how it should have been....