I was so nervous about going back to Geneseo that I woke up early yesterday morning and baked French breakfast puffs to calm my nerves. It was just the thing too, even though when I’m nervous or worried I tend to break things, and sure enough, a measuring cup did not survive. The breakfast puffs were delicious though, sweet, and light, and buttery, with a pronounced nutmeg flavor that I just loved. I would 100% make them again if I was having breakfast guests, but I made sure to eat a grapefruit too, for balance.
My old teammate lives in Buffalo, and so we carpooled to Geneseo, which was a huge load off my mind since I didn’t have to worry about driving myself. It would have been nice if I had driven, because then I would have been able to leave, or put my stuff somewhere safe and not have to worry about dealing with someone else’s car keys, and working within their schedule (I left with a girl’s key, and she’s coming by to pick it up tomorrow. It isn’t the end of the world, but you should carry your own water), but even though my ride told me she was staying over, so couldn’t drive me back Saturday night, and I didn’t have a toothbrush, or a change of clothes, or a place to sleep I felt good. Once I’m in the adventure I lose the anxiety and go into Roll-With-It-mode. I honestly figured if it came to it I could sleep in the library. It wasn’t even an unattractive option- they have very comfortable furniture, and I could have stopped partying if I felt so inclined and gone to chill and read and looked around my old stomping ground. That isn’t what ended up happening, but it would have been ok.
The game was rough. I haven’t played rugby in a long time, and you lose it. I played ok considering, but my tackles were sloppy, and I was scared to go for it a couple of times. Our first scrum collapsed, and I cut my knee open on someone’s boot spike, but because there weren’t very many people, and other people had greater need of subs I just rubbed some vaseline on it and pulled up my sock (it looked pretty gory, but that was actually kind of cool. There’s no shame in being the girl with blood running down her leg who keeps on playing). Of course, that meant it got really dirty, which is…not great, but I played the whole game, and had a heck of a time. I am not in good rugby shape, but I can’t deny that it felt great to be on the pitch, even though the Geneseo field is on a hillside, which makes things extra challenging.
After the women’s game the men played, which was interesting to watch, because it was a 30th reunion year, so there were lots of bald and silver heads. The game itself was kind of dull actually, which is unusual for men’s rugby, but I had a great time hanging out on the sidelines with my old teammates and the current players. I had been so worried, but everyone was wonderful, and it felt great just to hang out with people my own age. People started drinking right after the game, but no one gave me a hard time for abstaining, and it didn’t feel weird to not drink, which was a relief.
The men’s game went on for what seemed like forever, but when it was finally over I walked over to the rugby house with a couple of pals for the drink-up. When I was at Geneseo the rugby house was bad, but not unlivable, but the undergrads have stepped up their game, and it was like the third world. There was a huge yard with a big dirt pile in the middle, and a big scruffy dog sniffing around piles of garbage (I’m not even exaggerating, but the dog doesn’t live there, and he’s very well cared for). It would seem like the last place in the world you would want to eat, but there was a bunch of Dinosaur BBQ, and we got there early when the food was still fresh and yucky boys hadn’t gotten to it, so it was ok. The food itself was actually super delicious, I had some pulled pork, corn, and boiled potatoes.
I’m bad at parties under normal (drinking) circumstances, but yesterday’s party was particularly difficult for me. I do best in one-on-one conversations, which is why I need to select my conversation partners very carefully because to a lot of people it looks like I’ve tapped them for hooking up later when in fact I just want to talk to someone instead of standing awkwardly to the side. You would think that the 30th reunion guys would have been safe, but you would be wrong, because I have the old man love magnet. The nice older guys, with wives, and kids, the guys who don’t want to stand in a dirt yard and do keg stands, were gone, and the dirty old men were left, and I had to politely decline several offers to leave the party and go with them to the bars, or for sunset strolls across campus. I felt too shy to talk to the guys I knew when I played because so many of them had been witness to my cardcafe underclassman behavior, so I just planked, and wished I had driven myself so I could go home. It was getting cold, and my back was incredibly sore (I suspect it was my hamstrings), and eventually I did the unthinkable and went inside the house. Worse still, I sat on the couch. My friend Marie and I sat on a couch with a couple of napping guys, and it was actually kind of cozy.
One of the sleeping guys turned out to be one of my favorite men’s rugby players. We were never close really, but I really liked him. He was fun, and…playful like his teammates, but also very sweet, and not a moron, and he always seemed pleased when I acted sensibly, and not disappointed when I did something dumb, but it felt like he understood that I could be better than I was. I sometimes felt judged by some of the men’s players, but he was always nice to me, and even years later remembered my whole name, which sounds small but didn’t feel that way. We chatted a bit, but then he wandered off and even though I looked, I didn’t see him the rest of the night, probably because he’s a sensible person and went home before the party got weird. The other napping guy was an undergraduate player I had admired during the game. He had been playing wing, and he’s superhumanly fast, so it was cool to meet him and tell him how impressed I was with his performance. We hung out for a while, and he was very nice, kind of funny, and self-deprecating, and usually sober for that crowd since he had been sleeping for most of the party. I thought he was pretty cute in a young way, but when he got up to get a beer a lot of other guys came into the room, sat on the couch and started smoking cloves and snorting caffeine, so the atmosphere was sort of wrecked. A wasted West African guy kept trying to put his arm around me, and then staggering off to go vomit loudly in the bathroom, which I took as my que to go.
When I stepped outside all the girls had gone, so I headed off on my own. It was dark, and cold, but I felt calm and happy to be back.
To be continued!