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The USA 7s a Gift to All of Us

Thursday Dec 11, 2008 in Columns GoffonRugby

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(Australia surges ahead from the 2008 tournament as the crowd cheers them on. Numina Photo.)

December 4, 2008 – Today you’re sitting at home or at work, surfing the internet, wondering what to get that special rugby person in your life for a Christmas gift.

If you’re stumped, you might want to take a look at the latest Rugby Magazine, which has a section on some interesting, rugby-related gifts. But if you really want to do something special, send him or her to the USA 7s in San Diego February 14 and 15.

What else is there to say about the USA 7s? How about the San Diego Invitational, which takes place February 12-13 leading up to the Big Show. Several of the best college teams in the country will be there, as well as a 7s tournament, top clubs, and Master's rugby teams as well (see top photo). Bring your team, or just go watch. Click here for more. There's also the kids festival right next to the action. Photos Ian Muir, Numina Photo, Ed Hagerty.

It’s not unusual for people to travel to pursue their passion. I’ve know friends who fly thousands of miles to fish for tuna, or who fly to cities just to go shopping, or travel just so they can spend money gambling. Suddenly traveling a large distance for a weekend of the best and most exciting rugby you’re likely to see doesn’t seem so strange.

Yes I know, I know, I work for the company that runs the 7s. This is true, but I felt the same way in 2004 and 2005 and 2006 when I didn’t work for them. This is a superb event. It is in a lovely stadium in a beautiful city. There’s plenty to do in the city, and it’s small enough you can do it easily.

All that is great, but the reason you go is the rugby, and that’s reason enough. Watching international rugby on television isn’t the same as seeing it in person. Every aspect of the game – the difficulty of executing against such outstanding athletes, the intensity of the contact, the surprising nature of that dummy, that sidestep, that last pass – is more impressive.

And a 7s tournament is perfect for this, whether you’re a rugby diehard or new to the game, because there’s a new team, a new style, a new drama every few minutes.

We are fortunate in the USA to have the USA 7s here. American fans get to see international rugby stars playing in an international competition of some importance – and remember, San Diego is the final tournament before the World Cup.

You can get tickets for two full days of awesome international rugby among like-minded nutcases for less than the average NFL or NBA ticket. Air fares right now are very cheap (a quick search found San Diego from San Francisco at $108, Denver at less than $200, and New York at less than $300). And don't forget, February 16 is President's Day - a day off for many people. You see, the excuses are falling away one by one.

So in this season of giving, give to your rugby-afflicted spouse, relative, boyfriend, girlfriend, relative or buddy. Give that person something they won’t forget, something that says rugby is fun, it’s amazing, and it’s on our shores.

Have a look at www.usasevens.com

- Alex Goff

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