After a rugby match, Lamar Broadhead often will socialize with his opponents over a beer at a local bar. Despite the countless bone-jarring collisions in an 80-minute match, such off-field camaraderie is quite normal in the rugby world.
"You're really good friends with the other team, even after you beat up each other on the field," said Broadhead, a back on the Patuxent River Rugby Football Club that played in the PAC 7's Tournament last weekend on the Mall in Washington and finished sixth out of 16 teams. "It's a very social sport."
Broadhead, 29, who works on the mechanical design team at the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, is a part of a small resurgence of military players on a team that was started in 1990 as a rec team for base personnel but soon was made up almost exclusively of civilians.
One other member of the Navy and one Marine also joined the team this year.
The club is coached by Larry Donmoyer, who is the head rugby coach at St. Mary's College. (Even though the men's team there holds only club status, Donmoyer said the women's team could soon earn full varsity status at the school because there is so much interest. He has been there since the program started in 1989.)
Donmoyer, 43, has played rugby for 16 years. He is the oldest player on the club, but he said he doesn't have a big problem keeping up with the younger players.
"I tend to keep up pretty well," he said. "For youth today, the desire sometimes isn't there to commit and get yourself in physical condition to play. If you're out there, you better be in shape."
Broadhead, who has played only two years, is well aware of that. "Most of my injuries have been due to a lack of conditioning," he said.
Chris Lyons, another player on the team, went to St. Mary's and played under Donmoyer. He said he got interested in the sport after watching some of his larger friends play and realizing that he could keep up.
"The perception is that you had to be a big, large person to play -- the football mentality -- but there's a position for almost everybody," Lyons said. "People who go out with a football image are surprised, because it's nothing like that."
Patuxent competes in Division 3 of the Rugby Union, which divides teams up by roster size. Some Division 1 teams have 100 people, while Patuxent usually hovers at about 30.
The club has two more tournaments coming up, including the Norfolk Blues tournament on Saturday and the Governor's Cup in St. Mary's City on July 31. Although rugby usually has 15 players to a side, the summer competitions are played with seven to a side.
CAPTION: Lamar Broadhead, above, who plays on a team made up of civilians and military personnel at Patuxent River Naval Air Station, calls rugby a "very social sport." At right is the official logo of Broadhead's team, the Patuxent River Rugby Football Club. The squad recently placed sixth out of 16 teams in a tournament on the Mall in Washington.