A Fight for the Dustbowl By: Corey Carter This game in particular was the final time fellow Cru’ member Corey would be gearing up in the Cru’ Blue. The sun was out with a strong showing of our American forces at Koiwa station. Still though, not as strong as we’d hoped. With many of our followers broken from previous games, Sparrow and Brett to name a few, so we had to rely on our Japanese captain Jay (Junki) to lead the forces through a narrowing battle of blind tackles and broken dreams. The bus ride to the pitch was still full of high spirits as we saw a return of our fabled twins (John and Brent) make it just in time to ride out the Cru bus (sponsored by Koiwa station). As well as the Cru’ cowboy James Duncan wearing his 10-gallon hat of power. Ready to Rock and Roll? Arriving to the sand blasted pitch seemed to break our spirits temporarily, but it was restored once Travis gave us the low down on how we can keep our hopes alive. Sadly, it was that we needed to remove the rocks from the pitch as much as we could during warm-ups. This helped us out believe it or not as we took turns throwing rocks off to the side that would’ve made a difference in the game or…just in general as they looked painful. These Girls were not girly… Finally, the time had come…the ball was kicked into the air and we could feel all of the momentum coming at us at once…well Nathan did when he hit the ground after catching the ball. The Cru’ was quickly struggling to gather their footing as this team hadn’t played together nor played in a while at all. The Girls however were not a force to be reckoned with. They hit hard and had great handling skills as well as team work. Needless to say, we were not going down without a fight. As Corey geared up his last time with Goggles of clear vision and scrum hat of dexterity, he charged into the dust looking for a fight. Sadly, after a missed tackle due to not being able to see as clearly through the goggles, he threw them in anger off the pitch…never to be worn again. While they reset the ball for play after The Girls’ first try, Travis sprang into action in the gazelle type of running he always does. With multiple tackles we finally got the ball back and started charging down the field towards The Girls’ try zone. Unfortunately, we were stopped about 10 meters shy and turned the ball over and the Girls ran through our forces again for another try ending the first half. Let me ask you. Does a machine like you experience fear? After a brief halftime speech (and some wardrobe changes on the sideline 😉) we had finally picked up another player as Alex Young decided he WAS going to play rugby today. Corey was back on the field knowing that this was his last half he’d play as a Crusader. As soon as the ball was in the air, he lined up his sights onto one of The Girls and smashed him as well as yelling, “Get the F&^k down!” He was out for blood. This turned into a knock on from The Girls which then gave us the ball and charged towards their try zone. While Chris charged and got hit on the five-meter line he tossed the ball to Corey who got held up. Then multiple Cru’ grappled on to push him over the try line in maul. Sadly, his efforts were thwarted as the ball was held up across the line. After an easy scrum we pitched it out to our backs and they handed it off to Travis who galloped into the try zone to ensure that we were not going down without some points on our board. Battles still took place as the ball went back on forth for a little while, all the while Corey smashing tackles over and over again, he did not miss any tackles the entire second half and the opposition started to pass the ball instead of charging him head on. Some would say he made his presence known. Eventually, The Cru’ got worn down and The Girls broke through, until Travis came back and knocked an opposing member so hard that he went airborne and dropped the ball out of bounds along with his flailing body. Even though we were losing and still getting passed, we still had our fighting spirit. But alas, all things must come to an end as the final whistle blew and the game’s final score was Crusaders 7 and The Girls 39. The biggest surprise was that Corey was selected as the MVP after the game, who saw that coming? Not I… Bars are meant to be kicked out of After a crushing defeat, we kept our spirits up with a couple of songs from various Cru’ members. Tooley sang an appropriate version of the Tokyo Crusaders RFC, Corey on the other hand did not…Fast forward from a crowded bus ride and multiple beers/Chu-His we showed up at our infamous Chippy bar. A loving place where beer flowed freely into our stomachs and arguments and discussions took place. We eventually ended up doing a boat race where we were impressed by Cru’ newcomer supporter Caitlín. She threw the beer back so flawlessly that Libby was frozen stone cold in awe. This was the fuego we needed to get back in the race. Sadly, James Duncan decided he wanted to sip his beer casually which overall caused Corey’s team to fall short and Brett to have his victory that day. The beer kept showing up magically and Sparrow decided he wanted to try his hand at a Dangerchop against Corey. This did not go his way and Sparrow left with a hand print across his face for the evening. That wasn’t the end though as Chris decided to challenge Sparrow to a Soy Sauce Dangerchop. This regrettably led us to being kicked out of the Chippy ending our patronage and unleashing us into the night, scavenging for Thai food and somehow returning to our beds… TLDR: “There was a ball, people ran, lots of tackling, dust and rocks…we lost…beer…” – Laura Ní Riada.