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April 30, 2010 / Brent Sears

The Best Part of Ecuador

I had flown up to Quito, Ecuador on the weekend of December 2, 2006, to do one thing: [dream] win a rugby tournament.  There were four teams; one of which I was told was the best/most experienced and we had never beaten them in three years of matches.  They were made up of men who had been playing since childhood in Spain, the UK, and Australia.  Our club consisted of a rag tag bunch of guys from the USA, UK, Ecuador and Argentina.  Only one of whom had been play since he was in grade school.  I don’t know how the match-ups were chosen but we were faced off against that team in our first match, and so a loss would have meant third was the best we could do.

Since starting rugby the year before at Cortland I had employed a very basic rugby strategy [plan]: avoid getting hit really hard by guys build like bowling balls.  I have the build of a triathlete: skinny upper body, gorilla-long arms (so long that I have to buy custom-made shirts, but great for swimming), and long, but deceptively strong legs.  I was always the skinniest guy out there, and the one that everybody wanted to crush because I looked like an easy target.  The only protection I had on was my mouth guard and my teammates.

It was easy to define what I didn’t have, but what is more important was what I had.

1). Opposing teams always thought I was a weak link because I didn’t look the part

2). I was gifted with better than average speed, footwork, body control, coordination, and athletic ability

3). A perfectly placed stiff arm a the last second kept shorter tacklers 3’ away from my torso

4). On defense my 6’ wingspan was very tough to get around without getting wrapped up

5). The attributes of #2 above meant I could switch directions on a dime (this would end my career)

6). I wasn’t afraid of getting hurt!  I had chosen to turn off the fear!

In tomorrow’s post I will talk about the tournament [adventure].

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