If you left your sun cream in the dark recesses of a kitchen cupboard since last summer, like I did, it was an arm and leg burning day. The first outing of the rugby season in Calgary and, oh what a beauty.
The Calgary Rugby Union had all of their five fields turned out green and lush and every blade of grass was being used up by most of the local rugby clubs: Calgary Canucks, Hornets, Irish, Rams, Saints, Saracens, Bow Valley plus some Pirates and Druids, escaped momentarily from the Stanley Cup frenzy in Edmonton. A host of young women players was there also for a Girls U13 rugby 7s Festival.
The game between Calgary Canucks and Hornets (Div. 2) had progressed to the second half. The Hornets were buzzing, putting in a few tries but the Canucks kept coming back in some open, fluid play. As a ruck developed in front of the Hornets posts, one of the Black and Yellow’s forwards took out the wrong guy: referee Kristina Wolfe. Her high-visibility punk-pink jersey was clearly no warning and the collision put her down on the turf. After some medical attention, she was up on her feet but in no form to continue running the game.
“I’ve been refereeing since I was fifteen,” said the New Zealand-born official who now resides in Okotoks, “but I’ve never not finished a game.”
Kristina, a Calgary Rugby Union Referees Society member, whose career pinnacle to date was to referee Kazakhstan versus Canada in the IRB World Cup 2006 Canada (Women’s Rugby World Cup) in Edmonton, was sat down on the touchline after the game, a bag of ice over her swelling right knee. “It might be some ligament damage”, she said bravely, “but I should be alright.”
I asked the international referee if she got his number? Kristina smiled and declined to answer as she and her inflamed ACL were helped into the green John Deere ATV and driven off for some attention.
I hope you recover well and soon: the great game of rugby needs you!
For more photographs from the opening day of the season at the Calgary Rugby Union, please go to this link at J. Ashley Nixon Photography.