Princess Hibiscus, aka Joe Cruz, 2003 – Present
At some point, I don’t know when, I decided to appear in drag at one of our drink-ups in 2003/2004. I created this persona, Princess MeiMei Hibiscus, and she was loving, welcoming, and gorgeous. Well, at least the first two; the latter is debatable. I hadn’t discovered L’Oreal Paris by then.
Anyway, our first Bingham Cup in London 2004, and by then I had drafted a few write-ups of our various events, tongue in cheek, scathing, campy, lots of fun. I loved the team, it changed my life forever, and really helped me understand what it meant to be a brother (or sister) in Rugby. I am thankful to this day.
And to this day, if someone asks, “Where’s the Princess?” I get a tiny bit misty-eyed. One of my favorite write-ups, a special double-feature with myself and Becky (David S.) is below. I hope you’ll enjoy and know that you, as members of the Philadelphia Gryphons, come from a long line of…well…Royalty!
Yours in Rugby Brother/Sisterhood,
PS: It’s going to sound like a lot of nonsense, so be sure to ask some of the Alumni to tell stories about this awesome tournament at the 10-year Anniversary Dinner!
Gryphons v. Washington Renegades – May 15, 2004 with a special guest appearance!
Welcome to another Hot & Heavy, a brand spanking new episode featuring your favorite hairy rug-munchers…I mean ruggers.
Becky: You know they’re not *all* hairy.
PH: Which brings me to my extra-special guest today, Princess Becky? Duchess Becky?
Becky: Oh just Becky, for crying out loud!
PH: Just Becky then. I was feeling a bit piqued the last week or so; the weather was so oppressively humid that I just lacked any amount of creative energy.
Becky: Oh get on with it already, would you? We’re here to talk about the game, let’s talk about the game!
PH: She’s pushy, isn’t she. Yes…well…another brilliant performance from the Gryphons this past weekend, both on and off the pitch, as we hosted the Washington D.C. Renegades. A surlier bunch has never been seen this side of Hillside Camp Grounds when there wasn’t any more lube left in the free lube basket.
The Westbury on Friday night, the prototypical start to a brilliant Gryphons’-hosted weekend. With one minor snag. The Liberty Bears were there in full-force, kicking off they’re own tremendous weekend of treacherous sex and bombastic drinking. Did they cramp the Gryphons’ style? Well, only in as much as they made the Westbury much more cramped. It’s a small place, y’all, and with big bears and big ruggers (and lil’ bears and lil’ ruggers)…well…there was plenty of room for groping.
Becky: But she’s digressing.
PH: Yes, well. Ahem. Let’s get back to the task at hand. The D.C. team came in piecemeal, five or six here, two or three there, so we never really reached critical mass. It was okay though. Coach J and B were adamant about making it an early night. The weather forecast for the weekend was such that lots and lots of liquids would need to pass through our lips.
Becky: Is that like drinking from the tap?
PH: Close. Only the spigot doesn’t usually come with its own natural fiber dental floss.
Becky: Oh no you didn’t!
PH: I did, and I’m enjoying it, too!
Saturday morning…and yes the birds were in the air, the bugs were in the water, and the flippin’ D.C. team was there before us. I don’t know why they thought it was a good idea to show up almost two hours before the game time.
Becky: Whatever. Do they get PAID to play rugby? I want some of that action. Did they at least help Q set up the field?
PH: Now now. They were our guests. They shouldn’t have had to lift a finely lacquered fingernail. We got off to a late start, is all, and inspired a false-sense of security. “Where are the Gryphons? Is this the right place? Why don’t they have Goal-posts?” You could just hear their President, Phil R., rolling his eyes and gnashing his teeth.
Becky: That would have been a sight to behold. <sigh>
PH: He is a big mean delicious man, isn’t he? What is it with you and red-heads, Becky?
Becky: It’s not me and red-heads, darling. You have me confused with DeeDee. And it really doesn’t matter what color their hair is. As long as they’re a top.
PH: Okay! Well, thank you for that, Becky. I’ll be sure the Board of Directors gets an advance copy of this write-up. And a really big fat red pen to mark out all the “objectionable” stuff.
So where were we?
Becky: We were talking about tops. Oh wait. It’s not about me. It’s about the team, and the game on Sunday. Was it Sunday? No. Saturday. The game on Saturday. Sorry, girl, that last shot of Tequila killed one too many brain cells. I’m still recovering.
PH: Recovering. Right. So while Becky is putting a coolly moist towelette over her forehead, the Gryphons finally showed up, bursting on the field with style, panache, and colorful gym bags. A wild assortment of colors, Hooker Dave sporting a Monogram Multicolor original from LVMH(which I covet with every last fiber of my Island Girl being), and Vicious 5 (Damian T.) with a top-drawer Lip Pink Dune Buggy clutch courtesy of Lilly Pulitzer. The last game of season, and everyone was wearing their red-carpet best.
I don’t understand, thought, why the hell do the Gryphons have the drabbest uniform colors on the planet? I mean come on. Moss and Navy? That is *so* Miami Vice.
Becky: Can we talk? On with the game.
PH: The A-side players took to the pitch against a hungry D.C. side. We had pulled a lot of tremendous play together since our last meeting; the Renegades were in for a surprise.
The pitch resounded with grunt and growls (and a few squeals from Captain Joe) from the forwards as they continually fought off the impressively massive D.C. pack. The set-plays were just as competitive as the last game, but the lineouts were night and day. I daresay we won a few of theirs! Way to go Hookers and the rest of the pack.
The backfield also fared really well. Coming off a glorious win over an under-manned Boston team, they were literally on fire.
Becky: Come on girl. What do you expect from a bunch of Flaming Barbies!
PH: No love lost between the Forwards and Backs I see. Anyway, the backfield really pulled it together, providing a ton of opportunity for scoring, and terrific running from Brian V., Styles (Will P.), Apollonia (Derek S.), and Peaches (Herbie S.). The wingers were running their cute little butts off, too. Cool Ray N. and Skinny Matt H., along with our fullback, Matty G., were giving it their all. Scoop (Dante D.) was showing off her stuff, starting out in the A-side game at Scrum-Half.
By the end of the first period (we played four twenty-minute periods), the score was flat, 0-0. The Gryphons were defending their home territory from those barbaric renegades.
Becky: Aww…Isn’t it romantic?
PH: What kind of wicked, twisted world do you live in, girl?
The second period saw some tremendous breakout runs from the D.C. backfield. Those boys can really ruck over! Lil’ Moo (Mike M.) had to come out in the second period after getting belly-bucked in the ruck.
Becky: Is that why I got in on the A-side squad? She should have sucked it up!
PH: We were definitely sucking something that day! Wind. It was very hot and humid, and the light breeze only brought partial relief (and simultaneously played havoc with my hair!) Luckily, there was a free-form sub policy during that game, enough to spice up the A-side game with a little flava.
Let’s not forget the third-period, where we saw that wonderful display of Gryphonly love from Veezeebee and Wilma…
Becky: Ooo! Ooo! Is that where one threw the ball at the other? Will must have been auditioning for Wrestlemania V!
PH: Not to be confused with Apoll’s attempt at a drop-22 where she neglected to put the ball on the ground, took a knee and looked something like a…what did he look like, again?
Becky: A cheerleader raising her pom-poms.
PH: That’s it exactly. What he really needed to do was touch the ball to the ground, ending the play and soliciting a nice blow from the referee.
And by blow, of course, I mean whistle.
There was lots of great rugby played by both sides. The Renegades really pushed us to perform at the highest competitive levels, and really showed them and ourselves just how much we’ve improved as a team since we last met them in March.
Gryphons A – 0, Renegades A – 30
B-side game was refereed by the reverential Coach France from the Renegades, called fairly, astutely, and pedagogically.
Becky: Just so everyone knows, Princess H. had to lookup that last word on the internet.
PH: Bite me.
Becky: Bring it!
PH: Whatever. Madd Dogg (Ed R.) had some tremendous runs, Evan with spectacular tackles, and Peaches showed no fear. We want to welcome Chollie, a transplant whore from the Division I who just can’t get enough of the Gryphons. He’s the *second* straight guy to play for us.
Becky: <gasp> Who’s the FIRST??!!??
PH: ‘Risha. ‘Risha was moving his ass on the field! Good for you ‘Risha! I would make a comment about his boyfriend having Mono and him all of a sudden having all this energy…but that would just be mean.
All around a great game was had by all. Except maybe the Renegades Chuckie. He busted open his third eye and needed to get stitches. He says it was one of us, but I’m convinced there’s someone on his team who just wanted to clean his clock. None of the Gryphons would dare smash up such a pretty face!
The Gryphons proved, once again, that great teams are built on a foundation of heart and soul, and the score belies the tremendous effort and enthusiasm that we bring to the pitch.
Gryphons B – 5, Renegades B – 10
Drink-Up. Not much to say here. The D.C. guys are, well, a little less enthusiastic than the Gryphons. But that’s not to say that they didn’t have a good time. They can chortle a drink down with the best of them, and the best, of course, is the Gryphons. Do I hear the undefeated Champions in the Drink-up Beer Chug Boat Race? Thank you very much!
Becky: Where were all the partiers? Did they stay in D.C. for the weekend? D.C. partiers? Hmm…isn’t that some kind of oxymoron?
PH: Becky! You are simply Homo GENIUS!
Becky: There’re those SAT words again, girl. Does that mean we’re all incredibly smart?
PH: Something like that. If you’re done wearing the pink banner? Ahem. Men of the Match went to Brian Kelly and Ray N., for the A and B sides, respectively. For the Renegades, Lance C. andChuckie B. took home the A and B side honors. It was a tough choice, since everyone proved to be tremendous players all day. Kudos to you lot, tap and chug those Jagers. You’ve earned them.
The drink-up closed down, but not before Madd Dogg got thrown in “jail” down in the Pit Stop. Turns out the Liberty Bears were having a fundraiser where someone would pay to throw someone else in jail, and they’d have to be bailed out. An intriguing idea, but really, Becky? Was it necessary to scare him silly?
Becky: What??? I was distracted by the hotties!
PH: That’s Gryphons Family love for ya.
The bar crawl was in somewhat sparse attendance. I can’t really blame the girls; it was ascorcher outside that day, and it would suck the energy out of even the hardiest of party animals.
But, we just can’t get enough of the Westbury and their Jell-o shots. There was so much Vodka in them, they couldn’t even congeal! It did help put that little extra jiggle in your swing set; the Gryphons’ anthem came on the sound system (Lady Marmalade) and we tore up the dancefloor.
Becky: There’s no dancefloor at the Westbury!
PH: You’re right. When I say dancefloor, I mean barstools, booths, and the bar itself. When the dance number ended, the patrons actually applauded! That was just incredible.
We continued on to Tavern on Camac, with our new favoritest DJ ever, spinning some hot retro tracks that really get the blood pumping.
A little bird tells me that at Tavern, Hooker Dave (Dave W.) re-enacted a gay-version of Goldilocks and the Three bears. Well, actually, there were four. Two from Baltimore, and two from West Chester. I wonder which one was juuuuust right? <wink>
Close out the night at the Bike Stop, and some mean honey-dipped fried chicken at the MidtownDiner, and you’ve got yourself the makings of one FABULOUS weekend.
Becky: Is that it?
PH: Yep. That’s it for this edition of Hot & Heavy. You might not see me again until after the team comes back from London, but I have it on good authority that I’ll be collaborating again, and sending you little missives and photos as the week progresses.
Becky: Thank God. Let’s get a cocktail, honey.
PH: Absolutely. Kettle One, on the rocks, splash of soda?
Becky: You got it, girl.
PH: It’s on me. Until next time, my beloved rugby brethren.
Crouch and Hold. ENGAGE!
– Princess M. Hibiscus
- “It look like he had just gotten a size 4 dress from the sale rack and she was making her way to the dressing room” – Randy about Becky with the ball in her hand
- “Did you hear that Nate’s wife’s name is Becky.” – Becky
- “I hope he doesn’t get you two confused in the dark!” – Arnie
- “Girl this is not a circuit party. Put your shirt back on!” – Becky to Coach Brian
- “LEAVE THAT SHIRT OFF” – half the Gryphons
- “When did you guys get so good?” – Renegades Matt at the Half
- “The Renegades definitely win for their fans’ age range.” – Becky
- ” I *love* playing prop. Disney makes me horny.” – Cap’n Joe
- “Undefeated! Undefeated! Undefeated!” – the Gryphons after winning the last boat race of the season
- “I’m eating. It’s a Forwards sport.” – Mike Mooney (?)
- “There are only two sports. Rugby and Not-Rugby.” – Mark Q and Renegades Mattie
- “I’m passing the torch. You have to Gay it Forward.” – Scoop 9
Princess Hibiscus appearing in Toronto, April 2005