Like many West Kootenay residents, Oliver Glaser and his wife left the big city to raise their family in a small town setting. Glaser doesn’t regret the decision but he does miss his rugby mates and the action on the field.
To that end, Glaser decided to organize the Boundary Bash Social 10s Rugby Tournament in his hometown of Greenwood and invite his Vancouver club, the East Vancouver Scribes, and a few other teams up for some rugby and some socializing in the West Kootenays.
“I moved to Greenwood last year in May. I grew up in the country, on a farm in Langley surrounded by horses,” said Glaser. “We wanted something like that for our kids, so we came out here.”
The tournament took place this past weekend in Greenwood and featured the host Scribes, a team from Chilliwack, the Trail Colonials, a West Kootenay select team, which included several players from Grand Forks, and a women’s team from Nelson, which scrimmaged against the referees.
The other teams played round-robin games and the tournament wrapped up with a final game featuring Trail and the Scribes. The Trail squad captured the title with a hard-fought 35-20 win. For their efforts, the Colonials picked up the game ball, which was a custom-made cow hide rugby ball made by Ingram Creek Saddlery in Greenwood.
“Selfishly, I put the tournament on so all my friends would come up and I could play rugby with them,” admits Glaser. “The real, main thing is to see if I can build some interest and get to know the local rugby players. See if we can get the Grand Forks (Wanderers) team back together again or start it up again so we can play some regular games again. Moving from Vancouver, the only thing I miss here is sailing and rugby. I don’t miss the traffic or anything.”
Glaser joined the East Vancouver Scribes after playing high school rugby in Langley. He said the club plays games every Saturday in the spring and fall, and practices twice a week.
“Once you play rugby, you’re kind of committed to three days a week of hanging out with the boys,” he said. “Wednesday nights have always been our club night, where we hang out at the clubhouse. It’s something I miss being out here in the Boundary – the rugby culture. There’s less of it here; less guys playing. My hope with this is that we get more interest and get more players.”
Rugby is known as much for the social aspect of the game as for the action on the field. Glaser says that almost every club team in Vancouver has its own clubhouse and the socializing is very important to the culture.
“It’s just sort of a tradition – an old English thing,” he said.
To that end, there was much more going on at Boundary Bash than rugby. Saturday saw full-contact walking rugby. There was also boat races, tug-o-wars, skills competition and a Sunday night social with the Scribes house band, The Dropbears. Glaser hopes to make the Boundary Bash a regular yearly occasion.
“For me, it’s really important to see local guys come out and play,” he said. “Trail and Nelson told me they’re stoked that there is a tournament here so they can have a chance to play teams from the coast that they wouldn’t normally play.”