Touch rugby: Hood River club plays Tuesdays

All ages and abilities invited

The Hood River Hammers are far meaner in name than demeanor. But rugby is a tough sport, and every club needs a hard-hitting title, even if it’s a complete façade.

The Hammers have been playing once week for more than a year now and are looking for fresh meat to throw into the mix during the club’s Tuesday evening pickup games.

“The first thing people think is, ‘Rugby is way too rough for me,’” said Matt Sweeting, club founder. “But we play touch rugby, which is friendly for people of pretty much all ages and skill levels.”

The club meets every Tuesday at 6 p.m. (time for will change later in the fall) at the Port of Hood River green (near the DMV), while a longer-running club in Mosier plays Sundays, 3 p.m. at Mosier Community School.

“We’ll play all year, as long as there isn’t too much snow on the ground,” Sweeting said. “All you really need is a pair of cleats or running shoes. Touch rugby is safe and simple. It’s a great way of getting fit and having fun doing it. With so much to do here, it’s just another way of enjoying an active lifestyle in the Gorge.”

Following international touch rugby rules, games are non-tackle; instead players touch opponents using hands on any part of the body, clothing or ball. The game is also simplified significantly from its British-born counterpart, which keeps action flowing and gives even complete beginners a quick understanding of how to play.

“You just have to have basic hand-eye coordination and be in relatively good health,” said Sweeting, who has carried his love of the game overseas from his hometown in England. “We usually have a great mix of players; from people who have never played before to a couple who played pretty seriously in college.”

For those of appropriate age, the club generally follows games with a trip to its sponsor pub, The Pint Shack, for an obligatory pitcher or two of free beer.

For more info see the club’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/hoodrivertouchrugby or contact Sweeting at mjdsweeting@gmail.com.

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Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge



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