It was quite chilly for a Thursday practice in April when alumni, Jenn Fenzel made her way back to the pitch she has called home for over a decade. The current team gathered around her, and the not so pristinely laid out jersey’s. They eagerly awaited her words of wisdom before their big match against Whitehorse that coming Saturday. Jenn began the story with her start at Severn in 2005. That year, her, Sloth, and Kristi Grande, who resided in Salisbury at the time, were recruited by former Salisbury teammate Megan ‘Midge’ Haslip-Jarrett, for the newly formed Severn River Women’s rugby team.
Jenn fast forwarded to the fall season of 2012. But the moment she wanted to talk about was not the 2nd place finish at Nationals in Ft. Meyers, FL that year, but instead the Sunday night after regionals. After the honey badgers spent a grueling weekend fighting their way past Raleigh and Norfolk; two heavy hitters in the league that year, Severn made it to the other side victorious and earning their place at Nationals. Battered and bruised, the 30 women on the team that year, decided that they were going to celebrate as a family. They picked up a keg and headed to Meredith McAlister’s house on West Street. Every single player called out of work for Monday. Thirty honey badgers...no fans, no coaches, no significant others...drank and did keg stands until the keg was kicked and the neighbors called the cops. That night they all felt the same way, they all knew what they had sacrificed to make it to that point; their bodies, their free time....some teachers hadn’t graded a paper in weeks. They were all in and they all knew it. There was nothing more they could ask of each other, no more trust to give. If you ask most of the women that were on the 2012 team about that season, most will do the same as Jenn and not talk about the heartbreak in Florida but instead that Sunday where ‘1,2,3,4,5,6, Severn, Severn, Severn, Severn’ was born.
After Fenzel concluded her story, she was given the honor of ceremonially handing out the jersey’s for that Saturday’s match. As she said each name, she gave nicknames to those she knew or coached and recognized the ‘player of the week’, Tina Schafer she read about on Facebook two days prior. As she got to the fly half name, she couldn’t help but laugh when she read ‘Meredith McAlister!?!?’ who came out of retirement to help the current badgers that weekend. As each player picked up their jersey they were also handed a letter from an undisclosed alumni that shared the position they were to play that Saturday. Some of the current team read their letters then and others saved them for Saturday, but the pile of letters just brought to light how while the alumni may not always being physically present, they are always there to support.
Jenn then headed inside the legion with the current team to throw back a few beers and talk about her visit with current coach, and former scrum half, Katie Fitzgerald. She was happy to report the birth of our newest honey badger John Fitzgerald Goetschius or Jack as they are calling him. The current team listened to the update while they tore through 4 plates of peanut butter oatmeal cookie’s Jenn made. The night ended the same as many nights, for many years at the legion have...Sloth and Jenn walking to the parking lot and being one of the last remaining cars. #Feelings