Mugby: An Idea for a Rainy Winter Day

Mugby: An Idea for a Rainy Winter Day

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  1. Southern Californians are insane. As a native, I can assure you of this. Every summer when the mercury rises above 80 degrees, we complain about the heat—and if not the heat, then we gripe about the smog, or traffic, or the condition of the roads, or of how I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter doesn’t taste anything like butter. When the temperature drops below 74, we moan about how cold it is, and God help us if it’s windy, too! Southern California is one of the sunniest places on Earth. In some areas, we’ll have 300 sunny days a year, but when clouds roll in on occasion, it’s a cause for depression; and if it rains, it’s a catastrophe! We are so outdoor-oriented that we have no idea what to do with ourselves when it rains. We get into our cars and drive around town aimlessly in something of a stupor at 20 MPH below the speed limit—or drive like maniacs; there seems to be no middle ground. But mostly we just sit home and watch the Weather Channel and pray that the forecast will include sunshine soon.


     So for those who are bored of watching weather forecasts or are depressed because the sun won’t be making an appearance for a while, what is there to do? Sure, you can treat it like any sick day and stay home watching TV, reading a good book or have a pizza delivered. But rainy days in Southern California are so abnormal I think we should celebrate them by doing something we enjoy but don’t do often. You can play games with the family or join together in a complicated but fun baking project (rainy days are best spent in the kitchen, after all). If it’s a good rollicking thunderstorm coming down outside, you can turn off all the lights, light a bunch of candles and take turns telling ghost stories. If you have a fireplace, it would be a shame to forgo a roaring fire.

    When all else fails, there’s always mugby. Yes, I said “mugby,” not rugby. This simple game is always best played in the rain, and as long as you have at least five people, you don’t have to worry about having an even number of players, because there are no teams: it’s every man—or woman—for him- or herself. Here are the rules, such as they are:

    First, find a preferably rectangular plot of grass of any size (or even bare dirt, devoid of any rocks). If it’s grass, be sure you don’t mind causing some damage to the turf. Bring a football and wear your cheapest clothes. Establish two goals and mark them with whatever is handy, then gather everyone midfield. One person throws the ball straight up and whoever catches it has to run in the direction of the most people. Everyone else tries their best to tackle that person. When the ball-carrier is tackled, he intentionally fumbles the ball and whoever picks it up has to run in the direction of the most people. Whoever makes it into either goal gets one point.

    This is an exhausting and understandably messy game, but because it’s played in mud, injuries—other than strained muscles—are rare. When you finish, be sure to undress in your backyard and hose down before heading for the shower. And after showering, treat every player over the age of 21 to a hot buttered rum or Irish coffee, and hot cocoa for the minors, preferably enjoyed beside that previously mentioned roaring fire. I just hope there’s a fireplace involved.

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