By: Pete Freeman and Katie Fitzgerald
Hey Rugger, how about coming out for a beer? Sure, but let me check with the ole’ ball and chain.
Severn River Rugby used to have a wedding tradition of locking a ball and chain on the ankle of the groom at rugby weddings during the reception. This tradition continued through the many…many rugby weddings of the 1980’s and 90’s. As the team got younger and the Poskos…(cough)…busier, the Medieval ankle jewelry didn’t find its way to as many weddings. BUT…we still have it!
The first B&C was made by Henry Posko and friend, John Ware for former SRRFC Loch, Dave Kiefer. Dave was marrying Henry’s future sister in law and they thought it would be a fitting reception joke. The ball and chain appeared on the lawn of the reception and when locked around Dave’s ankle Henry refused to give the family the key for the bride and groom dance, so Dave slung it over his shoulder leaving a permanent metal stain on his white tuxedo. That is also the day Dave had to buy said white rental tuxedo.
The next appearance of the B&C was at Henry’s wedding in 1980. Due to a rugby leg injury it would not fit around ankle so, Dave Kiefer carried it around behind Henry.
In 1982 at Jeff Smith’s wedding, Jeff’s father-in-law had purchased a plastic ball and chain as a joke only to be upstaged when Charlie Dayton appeared with the ‘real’ ball and chain in hand and managed to clamp it on Jeff’s ankle through his continuous laughter.
At Pete Freeman’s first wedding, the B&C made an expected appearance, but did take the in-laws by surprise. After a few dances and other hijinks Pete’s father in-law approached his daughter and declared, “This reception is going to hell in a hand basket”. The bride and groom just chuckled and kept dancing.
The ball & chain has stolen the show during many receptions, including Ralph Norton’s, Dr. Doom’s, Scott Brusnighan’s, Kurt Triatak’s, Roco Ed Stump’s, Phil Dumenil’s and many others.
Consider yourself lucky, Mike Bertoni.
Dave White has kept the tradition alive by constructing the last two B&C’s. We thank him for his craftsmanship.
The addition of a women’s team added a new category to rugby weddings: the intermarriage. Dee and Phil, Kristen and Curtis, Turner and Hooch, Jeanna and Kevin…and perhaps one or two more on the horizon..have only added to the atmosphere of the wedding season. The other guests at these weddings hardly stand a chance of finding the dance floor or a drink in a crowd like that. Whether in Vegas, the Shore, or the Elk’s Club with a party bus to DTA, the club always comes together in the best way to celebrate their own. Even if a teammate might have to save the best man from his own speech on occasion.
The women might not have anything quite so permanent as a Ball & Chain at their rugby wedding celebrations, but no one will forget the scrum downs and line-outs with Kristi, Steph, Selwa, Dee, Fitz, Kiki, and Megan. In true rugby togetherness, the groom’s friends see the lift and inevitably get their mate up their as well.
Whether it’s a true Ball & Chain, another tie made within the club, or sharing rugby moves with a newbie, we can’t wait for another summer of “I dos” and shenanigans at the altar.