Imagine a sport like football, soccer, hockey and late-night drinking all rolled into one. That’s rugby.

If you have ever seen a rugby game, it may look funny and be hard to follow with words that sound like a late night in I.V. : hookers, fly-halfs, blanker, ruck, maul and scrum.

The game consists of no forward passes; instead imagine a college football game where your only option is to run. At any point in the game, you can kick the ball wherever, even through the post for a quick two points. Imagine football with no huddles or lines of scrimmage. Imagine being able to be tackled at any time. That’s rugby.

Rugby was invented in England in the early 1800s because some guy was so mad that he couldn’t kick the odd-shaped ball that he picked it up and ran with it. Others got furious and started to chase him down to try and tackle him. That’s rugby.

Rugby looks and is vicious. Imagine a football game with no pads or helmets – just balls. Imagine Peyton Manning getting sacked wearing nothing but a striped shirt and five-inch shorts. That’s rugby.

The cheering section in the stands is a bit different than most sports as well. Instead of cola and nachos, it’s kegs and Guinness. Instead of clapping and music, it’s yelling and screaming like there’s no tomorrow. “Hey number 20! You suck!” “Hey 34, you’re a joke!” That’s rugby.

Rugby players laugh and complain about most sports today. When Jerry Rice gets blindsided going across the middle, the nation is outraged. Rugby players get blindsided three to four times a game, and then get stepped on with metal cleats. They get up, and run and get hit some more. That’s rugby.

Rugby is such a big sport in most countries that even if you combined America’s four major sports, the popularity in the U.S. wouldn’t equal rugby’s magnitude in foreign countries. When New Zealand lost the world championship, the country was worried that its economy would plummet… which it did! Think about having every American sport team all rolled into one team; No NorCal or SoCal battles. No East Coast or West Coast. Just one team for the entire country that everyone rooted for. That’s rugby.

The nicknames in rugby are comical and blunt. No T-Mac or J-Will or Big T Money. It’s Elf or Barnacle Bill, Gooch or Bacon. That’s rugby.

Sure, UC Santa Barbara rugby isn’t all the drinking and obnoxious fans, but it’s close. Plus you don’t have to travel overseas to see them. These guys hit, and hit hard. So next time you have nothing to do after a few beers in your system, head on over to Harder Stadium to watch the UCSB rugby team. That’s rugby in our own backyard!