Unlike the rest of the Dinos, the men's rugby team at the University of Calgary isn't too concerned about winning any silverware in their upcoming season. Instead, they have their eyes set on a much bigger prize: a little brown jug that's 45 years old.
Since 1960, the 'Little Brown Jug' has been the trophy at the heart of a passionate (yet good-natured) rivalry between the U of C and the University of Alberta. Because of the lack of funding associated with being a club rather than a full varsity team, the Dinos Rugby Club has faced extinction several times over its long history. But, in the last few years, they've been reborn like the T-Rex in Jurassic Park.
This year, the Rugby Club is looking to build on the successes of last season. The men seek to retain the Little Brown Jug and the Western Intercollegiate Rugby Champion-ship trophy. Having beaten the U of A to claim both trophies last year, captain Joel Woodfin expects some tough competition against our city's favourite rival.
"The U of A is always a big game," said Woodfin, noting that the players have gotten to know each other. "Once you know somebody, you definitely want to beat them."
Despite the physical nature of rugby, Woodfin stresses that winning isn't everything for this team. Unlike many other sports, socialising with their opponents is important as well.
"After the game, you buy your opposite number a beer. It's kind of an unwritten rule," explained Woodfin.
Participation is also a big goal for the club. With an expected 80 to 90 guys registered with the club this year, the Dinos could have as many as three men's teams. Woodfin says there should be plenty of on-field time for all of the players.
The women's side did not have a team last year because of a lack of members. But this season they look set to field a team thanks to a growing number of girls playing rugby at the high school level.
Jana McMillan, a masters student who has been with the club for five years, is excited about the women's team competing again.
"These are probably the best numbers we've had in the last couple of years," said McMillan as she watched the women's team practice.
McMillan mentioned that the men's and women's teams try to train and play at the same time as each other to ensure that the club's members get as many chances to socialise as possible.
"The reason people stay with the club is because of the social aspect," explained McMillan. "We may have two teams but we're one club."
Unfortunately for the women, they might not be able to schedule a game against the U of A, who have a varsity team that competes in the university league. Instead, the U of C women will compete against other club teams from Calgary and Alberta, and might join the guys when they go to Burnaby to defend their WIR Championship crown.
The men's team compete against the U of C alumni team Sat., Sept. 24, at noon on the Calgary Rugby Union grounds.