Quad Rugby

Oregon Trail

keeps on rolling

by Jerry McGill

Quad Rugby is not a sport for everyone. It is a full-contact, high-energy game that can do damage to both wheelchair and person in any number of ways. I know. I tried my hand at the sport for a while and it took me only one tournament to realize this sport was "No Joke. Definitely not for the faint of heart, " which I am sorry to admit I am.

But oh what glorious few months they were. We had two grueling practice sessions a week. I was a reserve member of the mighty Oregon Trail. I was coached by Olympic Great, Susie Grimes. My team featured members of quad rugby championship teams of the past. Everyone seemed enthusiastic and optimistic about the coming season andjustifiably so. TheTrail has a strong history of success in the sport.

The next season found the Bandits in a sophomore slump unable to repeat the success of their previous year and forced to sit at home during that year's championships. The slump didn't last long.

Next season brought a transfer from a past championship team, Al Seals, and a name change. The Bandits was out, the Oregon Trail in. That year The Trail hosted the regional tournament where they finished second (losers to Berkeley) and gained a trip to the championship games held in Boston.

In what seems to be a Trailian trend the team stayed home the next season as well, continuing their on-one-season-off-the-next woes. They finished a dismal third in the region but bounced back strong the next, finishing first in the region and third in the sectional gaining a third berth to the championship games held that year in Houston. But fate turned against them that year as star player and multi-MVP winner Fred Williams was forced to sit out of the competitions due to responsibilities at home. Compare it to the Chicago Bulls without Michael Jordan and you get the idea what a gaping hole Williams' absence left in The Trail. They came home empty handed once more.

This year the Trail are looking to return to the National Championships to be held in Spokane, Washington for the fourth time in six seasons. However, this season proves to be their most challenging yet. The road to Spokane seems paved with tacks. Injuries and retired players leave the Trail with a depleted roster and virtually no bench. It would be surprising if they made it to the Finals, but if not one thing is to be counted on: the Trail will be back and ready for action come next season.