The first thing we learned at Maggotfest is that it is not a tournament. It is a FESTIVAL. It’s incredible!
Coming away from this weekend there is one thing that is certain and that is the Maggots know how to do rugby right. Their kits look exactly like the traditional All Blacks uniforms. Their pitch has 22m in goals and their posts reach for the heavens. It’s nestled in a valley with panoramic views of the mountains while sitting next to a farm and across from a church. Many of us felt as though we had died and gone to heaven which couldn’t be true because so many of our rugby brothers were missing.
This weekend was about more than just comradery, it was a statement of what rugby should be. Our 12/14 rugby brothers and whores gave the Northwest a taste of what Middlebury rugby is all about. Being the Honored side meant we played the most important match of the weekend with a full 80 against the host Maggots. We gave them a match but just didn’t have enough fire power (or practice) to win the game. We did show them we could drink as the captains, men of the match, and best drinkers demonstrated their prowess in a post match boat race.
Friday brought an outdoorsman’s dream with a trip on the Maggot Express to raft the Lochsa river in Idaho. The class 4/5 rapids did a number on 1 of our 3 boats and several of our brothers found themselves fighting for survival through 3 impressive rapids. The trip back to Missoula was filled with excitement and plenty of Big Sky brews before going back out on the town.
Thanks to Spencer, we were placed in the most difficult bracket for Saturday’s matches as we faced the Pranksters of the University of Montana, 2013 Montana State Men’s (not college) champions and the Highway Men, an All-star team made up of players from the Pacific Northwest. None of us really knew what we were getting into but we represented Middlebury (despite being the MOB) with pride. Saturday night was an epic party with costumes, bands, and self pour beer taps that kept the spirits flowing. A team from Canada wore body paint to be smurfs, there were red coats vs colonialists, biker gangs, and even Mormons with flasks hidden within hallowed out bibles. The true highlight was post party when the MOB joined the Maggots for “cleanup” which was really a choir practice. One of the host Maggots mentioned, “we may have beat you on the pitch but you whooped our assess in singing.”
Sunday brought another All-star team as we faced the Oosiks of Alaska. The opposing side showed up in their Star Wars Jedi costumes from the night before and to our surprise they wore them (light sabers and all) for the entire match. The annual MooseRut between Jackson Hole (Whitey’s club) and Flathead (Ari’s club) was being played at the same time but we found plenty of Highway men and an insane prison guard to fill out our ranks. Post match brought rides to the airport, more beer/food, and awards. The night brought more singing but many of us were at the breaking point.
We few, we proud, we Middlebury ruggers truly represented the club this past weekend in all 3 pillars of rugby. Next year we’ll choose a tournament that’s easier to get to but it certainly won’t be Fest! Another thing is for certain and that’s even if the MOB chooses another tournament next year most of us will be going back to Fest. It was an experience of a lifetime but even that’s putting it lightly.