22 Years, Rugby and an Amazing Birthday

May 17, 2012 – Day 9

Wow I’m finally 22….no big shakes when it comes to knew capabilities, but I definitely am thankful for being blessed to have made it this long without being hit by a car or bitten by a snake ha. Was very blessed to have all my friends and family take time to text, Facebook and tweet me today back home. Arthur, Ty and the rest of the little family we’ve acquired really went out of their way to make today a great day for me. We woke up pretty tired from pre-birthday festivities the evening before and made it through another morning course. I was supposed to present my presentation on a specific grape this morning, but I believe I got off lucky since the computer wasn’t working.

After class we all went right back to sleep and made it through an abbreviated afternoon class to our favorite part of the course, the wine tasting. Today was a red wine day and we were also served an assortment of vegetables, meats and cheeses. There are so many little things that go into each wine and its so interesting to see how each winery takes the small steps to make their individual creations unique. We tried a specific wine that tasted great that I marked down to make sure we had at the Branded Butcher back home (Shout out to Corey Ripley’s new place next to the Georgia Theatre. Great place!). We finished up and we all went back to rest up for an eventful evening starting off with rugby practice with the local team here in Cortona.


The Wine Tasting

We didn’t know whether our friend Alex we had met the previous evening was being serious about us actually coming to play rugby with the locals. We had seriously asked to play and we were told to wait down in the square where he would come and get us. We stopped a picked up a pizza and anxiously waited for him to meet us. To our surprise he actually showed up and we were so excited to get to play with the Italians. Alex walked us to his house which was very nice but the rooms were too small for us and we had to duck most of the time when moving from room to room. He gathered his practice gear and we went to his car and made our way down to the valley. We arrived at a local sports facility and walked towards the field. As we were walking we began to see the other players warming up. Walking alongside the field his teammates began to see us and at one point they yelled out that we looked like his body-guards and everyone began to laugh.


Warming up



We just jumped in and started doing any and everything they were doing. We started with a nice jog around the field trying to get warmed up. We then circled up and did stretching and abs that would have made Coach T proud for sure. After pushups and warming up they quickly divided up the team. Ty and myself were on one team and Arthur was on the other. We quickly started to pick up on the rules and how the game of rugby was played. A lot of the game is spent scrumming and the ball must always be passed backwards. We were in constant motion and this helped us get some well-needed conditioning in. After a few minutes we were in the heat of the game. Arthur was naturally a giant on the field that no one wanted to chase after or lower a shoulder on and Ty was reliving his glory days at Calhoun where he was a Linebacker and Tight End. Arthur definitely was the most valuable player of the game and actually would be an amazing player. If football doesn’t work out I’ve made him aware of the 2016 Olympic games where rugby will finally be an Olympic sport. All three of us scored during the game and Arthur had a Heisman moment. I feel like I’m pretty good about acknowledging another’s accomplishments and noticing talent. I never had a personal issue with Tim Tebow when we used to play him even though I hate the gators. But Arthur had ripped the ball out of a pile and began to run around the end. Well, naturally since we didn’t have cleats it was very difficult to change direction. He got the the side line and tried to cut back across the field, naturally I lost my footing and he went airborne and jumped over me continuing to the endzone for the score. All the locals burst into cheers and I continued to dust myself off. Coach Olivadotti would have definitely gotten on to me for not using my inside-outside tackling technique when trying to get Arthur to the ground, but since we didn’t have cleats on I felt that this was just something I couldn’t prevent.


Listening to an explanation of the rules

We played for a good 30 minutes or so and the team switched from the game to scrum drills where they worked on passing the ball back through their arms. After they were done we all took a break and they asked us if we could show them some of our tackling techniques. I saw this as a great coaching opportunity and a great chance to practice conveying this to a group of people that couldn’t understand me. Arthur and myself were able to line up and explain the proper technique for making a safe and adequate form tackle. Everyone appreciated our small lesson and we quickly went back to playing for another 20 minutes or so. We had a great time and despite the language barrier we were able to play a game with them and gain some respect. They were just appreciative of our willingness to come out and play a game, which we had no idea how to play. When we were done we all gathered up and “broke it down” to one of their chants. After they got there chant in we were able to break it down on one of our own chants. We got them all up and “broke it down” on GEORGIA. Everyone cheered and we proceeded to say our goodbyes.


Kristen Cox (Theta)


Sarah Brown (KD)

We had had a great time and this had been a perfect way to end my birthday in Italy. We had been able to get some exercise in along with making some friends that we would never be able to forget. My birthday had been a success and I was able to spend it with some of my closet friends. Having this opportunity and being in this beautiful place has been a great blessing and for that I will be forever appreciative



Go Dawgs and shout out to Kae Ashleigh’s mom Kathy Eller! 🙂



One thought on “22 Years, Rugby and an Amazing Birthday

  1. Tyler Dixon says:

    Nice posting Christian. My father and I both played rugby at UGA. I also went to GACS where I captained three sports (before you were born!). Played in some selectside rugby games with Richard Tardits (UGA & USA Rugby hero). Still involved with rugby. It’s a life long passion. It will always there for you when you’re ready.

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