Washington DC: Will Trinity take home the all-new trophy this Sunday?


 

WASHINGTON DC SLS TAG RUGBY 7s: On Memorial Day Weekend back in 2001 jets thundered above the scenic Gravelly Point Park across the Potomac River in Washington DC. Simultaneously shouts and cheers rose from below as the Washington DC  Sri Lankan Schools Tag Rugby 7s kicked off in style.
 

From 6 teams to 17

 
From six teams in 2001, the scoreboard in 2012 reads 17 teams and two playing fields with spectators flying in from all over the USA, Canada and even the UK.  It’s a serious business.  The professionalism is evident in the way Umanga, Lasantha and Cheruka narrate the story; the organisation apparent in the effective import of a carnival atmosphere featuring papare, family crowds and food stalls.

It all began when Lasantha Dahanaike (Daha, STC) , Umanga Abeysekera, STC, Dilshan (Dillo, Trinity) and Dasarath Kiridena (Kiri, Trinity) came up with an idea in one of their apartments in Washington.  “Don’t ask me who said it first cos I don’t remember” says Umanga.  “We just felt that the LA Tournament was good but it would be great to have an event right here. So … yeah there it was”.

“The response was tremendous from the community and we just knew that we would continue. So year after year it became pretty clear that this was gonna be a tradition in North America for us Sri Lankan School rugby players and also for the families and friends.”

STC and Trinity Old Boys take it in turns to organise the Washington DC SLS Tag Rugby 7s and this year it is Trinity who is doing the honours.

An Amazing Combo

 
What’s outstanding about the Washington DC SLS Rugby 7s is the diversity in the players and teams.

It’s 17 teams including STC, Trinity, Isipathana Royal, Darmaraja, St. Peters and others.

Further, the players boasted celebrity stars such as Shah Dole of Trinity and Sudesh Abeysinghe of Isipathana cheek by jowl with players who learnt to play rugby over in the USA just for this event.

“15 year-olds to 50! You will find different generations on one team from one alma mater and that is a great tradition” says Umanga.

I was somehow impressed by the feeling of sportsmanship among these guys and the community they shared; no posing, no pretence.  However far they may be from their island home, some will wear black wrist-bands in memory of 28 year old Wasim Thajudeen’s  tragic death on May 17 in Sri Lanka.

Both Cup and Plate trophies are coveted this year so it’s continuous action on two playing fields followed by the After-Party which is called the Social. That’s a severe understatement for the scale of the party that follows; but the DC boys are pretty chilled-out.

Wishing the organisers, the 17 teams and spectators an amazing experience of tradition, friendship and rugby this Sunday 27 May ! Let the papare begin !!!!


 Photo Credits: Featured Image by Papare.com

 


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