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Hove, Arthur O. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 68, Number 2 (Nov. 1966)

Rugby, cricket and soccer are "in",   p. 30


Page 30


Rugby, Cricket and Soccer are "In"
"  ECENTLY      seen taking over
l. football fields and park areas in
the Madison and University com-
munity have been knots of muscular
rugby players forming the "scrum,"
fact-action college chaps scampering
after a soccer ball, and lanky British
gentlemen, dressed in their "cricket
whites" chopping at a small rubber
ball to keep it from hitting a wicket.
  Rugby, soccer, and cricket are
"in" on campus and owe their exist-
ence to the large number of foreign
students at the University. In each
case, a few students became "sport-
sick" for a favorite game "back
home," had a few pieces of basic
equipment flown over to the United
States, and introduced the sport to
their colleagues on campus.
  Although most of the players are
from British-speaking countries such
as England, Australia, New Zealand,
and South Africa, they feel it is only
cricket to let their American friends
join in the puffing pace of a soccer
game, the head-banging scrum in a
rugby play, and a tense five-day
cricket tournament.
  Players of all three sports are not
about to let their British games slip
through their fingers now that the
sports are beginning to capture the
imagination of a University crowd.
  The Madison Soccer Club, now
celebrating its ten-year anniversary,
is made up mostly of Wisconsin
alumni who started playing the
game while attending the Univer-
sity. Rugby, now in its fifth year,
has gone all out to broadcast the
merits of the sport. Two years ago,
small ebony pins began to appear
on lapels, sweaters and blouses of
University players, wives, and girl
friends that spell out the reason for
playing the game- "Rugby, because
  The cricket team (or "side"), not
even a year old, posts signs up on
University bulletin boards advertis-
ing for new players "who wish to
learn a few basic British idiosyncra-
sies."
  The spirit of rugby and cricket
have caught hold at other Univer-
sity and college campuses and con-
sequently Wisconsin and Midwest
Leagues have been formed in both
sports. The cricket players, on the
other hand, are most enthusiastic
about the national "Chicago Mus-
tangs" and other U. S. teams that
will begin action next spring.
  Naturally, each athlete thinks his
sport is the most fun and will en-
thusiastically boast about his team
wherever he may be. The Wiscon-
sin Rugby Club has been at the top
of the Midwest League for the past
three years; the soccer players call
their sport the most popular in the
world (they say it is played in
practically every country on a na-
tional scale, except in the United
States and China), while the cricket
players -describe their sport as being
somewhat similar to baseball-"but
a lot more fun."
  After the game, the players
gather in a rambunctious pub and
conversationally relive each play. If
they are feeling quite British, they
may rendezvous for tea -and crum-
pets made by one of the British
wives.
  In all three cases, the players
realize their sport is dwarfed by the
popularity of American football,
basketball and baseball, but each
team is optimistic about their future
in America.
  "Today, we are still in our stum-
bling infancy," one team member
said. "But just wait. Give us an-
other few years and all America
will be watching us. Rugby, soccer
and cricket are going to be big!"
Cricket, soccer, and rugby are becoming somewhat of a familiar sight in Madison
as
foreign students attending the University have introduced their own particular
brand
of sport to the campus community.
30


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