The Mountaineers Rugby Club, 1970s
Mountaineers Rugby Club (also called the Saranac Lake Rugby Club) played its first matches in 1972, coached by Jan Plumadore. Players included John Oddy, Nick Logie, Ed Goetz, Jim 'Nitro' Morgan, Bob Morgan, Craig Duso, and James 'Rudi' Snyder.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 31, 1972
RUGBY CLUB TAKES NAME
SARANAC LAKE –
The Saranac Lake Rugby Club was formally named and created last night at a practice meeting in the high school gymnasium.
After a brief debate it was decided to name the team after the village. Players from other towns would be welcome.
The following officers were elected: William Doolittle, president; Kerry Kelly, vice president and treasurer; Jan Plumadore, match secretary; Wayne Newman, social secretary; and Nick Logie, team captain. Logie, Plumadore and Craig Duso will serve on the team selection committee.
The club dropped its first game to the New York Old Blues last weekend, 8-6. The next game will be away against the Schenectady Rugby Club Sunday, April 9, at 2 p. m.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, March 20, 1972
S.L. Rugby Team To Play in New York
SARANAC LAKE –
Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, who finished off Napoleon, said in 1889, "The Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields of Eton."
The game which prepared the officers of the British army for combat with the terror of the world was rugby.
The Saranac Lake Rugby team will play its first game Sunday afternoon against the Old Blue's of New York City at Columbia's Baker Field.
The newly formed team, or side as it is called in rugby, has been practicing in the high school and AMA gymnasiums for the past month. So far only two players have been injured.
Not on the roster for the first game is Jan Plumadore, founder of the team and tacit coach.
A week ago Plumadore was thrown to the hard floor of the gymnasium and sustained a shoulder separation.
The other injury was to Reed Korrow, who sports a chipped finger bone, but will be ready for action next weekend.
The new team has a full schedule of games this spring and summer including a few home field games. Present plans call for a home game in Saranac Lake on July 4 before the boat races.
A spring sport, rugby appears to be a cross between soccer and football. Actually, football and soccer are offshoots of rugby.
An extremely rough sport, rugby is played without protection pads by a 15 man team. There is no substitution and no replacement of players unable to continue because of injury. The halves can be 20, 25, 30 or 40 minutes in duration. Coach Plumadore has suggested that the Saranac Lake team take the 25 minute a half time for the first encounter.
The team has been outfitted with uniforms of deep red and black stripes, Rugby uniforms consist of stout longsleeve striped shirts with, matching striped knee socks and solid color shorts. The uniforms are quite like soccer uniforms.
There has bees some speculation about why the dark red and black were chosen for the first modern Adirondack rugby team. Some have said that the red was chosen because red is the color of the Saranac Lake High school teams. Others have suggested that the black and red color combination is ideal for hiding dried blood and thus cutting down on the team's dry cleaning bills.
Team members for the first game are Reed Korrow, Bob Morgan, Craig Duso, John Homberger, Wayne Newman, Jim 'Nitro' Morgan, John 'Bolter' Campion, James 'Rudi' Snyder, Bill Doolittle, Nick Logie, Bill McLaughlin, Mike Leahy, Kerry Kelly and Terry Bailey.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, May 26, 1972
SARANAC LAKE RUGGERS OPEN HOME SEASON
SARANAC LAKE — The Saranac Lake Rugby Club will open its home season Sunday against a powerful Syracuse Club at the Pius X Field Sunday at 3 p.m.
The club has worked for the last two weeks revamping the field so that it will conform to rugby standards. A rugby field is longer and wider than a football field and the goal posts are placed differently in relation to the end zones.
Coach Jan Plumadore said last night that the team appeared to be ready for the conflict.
Two weeks ago the Mountaineers suffered - their worst defeat of the year against Syracuse "A" team, taking a 39-0 licking.
It is hoped that there will be two games because the Saranac Lake squad has grown to more than 20 regular players. There are only 15 persons on a Rugby side, and there is no substitution.
So far this season the fledgling Mountaineers have won two of eight games. There have been victories against Cortland and Syracuse "C" team.
The Syracuse side coming to the mountains this Sunday will be primarily the "A" team with fill in players drawn from the other squads.
Everyone is invited to attend. Done correctly watching a Rugby game is an informal experience, picnicing, drinking beer and soft drink etc. There's no admission charge.
Adirondack Daily Enterprise, August 2, 2007
Rugby in Saranac Lake began in confusion, presaging the blood-spattered mud it was played in, the injuries the game is played with, and the zest and perseverance that made it possible.
But even though that first game in Saranac Lake more than three decades ago was played amidst confusion on the field, the vision of summer rugby in the Adirondacks was as clear as the mountain air to Jan Plumadore and myself.
The roots of rugby played in Saranac Lake began to take hold one summer evening when Jan and I were reminiscing about the first time we stepped on the pitch. Jan had played at Albany Law School and I also gained a little experience playing the game in college.
As we talked, we asked each other the question, "Why can't we form a team in Saranac Lake?" - for the primary purpose of getting "the boys out of the bars," as Jan pointed out.
In most places, rugby is a spring or fall sport. Summer is too hot and winter too cold, but ruggers are always up for fun, pain and post-game beer.
I can't say who thought of the genius idea, Jan or I, but simultaneously we realized you could play through the cool Adirondack summers, blackflies notwithstanding.
And so, in the old Dew Drop Inn bar, an idea was born.
As it turned out, starting a local rugby club was harder than dreaming up the concept. It was far more difficult to pry the boys out of the bars than we had imagined. Instead of a seat at the bar, we offered bruises, cuts and a good beating- that sort of thing would have appealed to the young me, so it took some persistence to bring together a group of young men who reluctantly tried rugby. Some were like little boys who loved to tramp through puddles, while the older ones saw a chance to relive their childhood and have a good party afterward.
We raised a haphazard team, Jan and I, and if memory serves, the Mountaineers' first game was against a side from Jan's law school.
The more it hurt, the tighter the scrums, wheeling and collapsing, the more fun we had.
The rest is a history I don't remember fully. All I know is that I competed in many games until I finally gave up playing after some big lineman from Syracuse broke my clavicle.
The insight Jan and I had that summer evening, that rugby could be played throughout the cool Adirondack summers, has grown into an annual rugby tournament for thousands of men and women.
This weekend, that event — the Can-Am Rugby Tournament — will celebrate its 34th anniversary and once again bring thousands of people to our region. And the host Mountaineers, a club which has entrenched itself in Adirondack history, will be sending three teams into battle over the weekend.
I guess that, sometimes, things turn out just right.
William Doolittle is a former owner, editor and publisher of the Adirondack Daily Enterprise. He now lives in Pennsylvania and Plumadore, who also helped found the Mountaineers Rugby Club, is now a state Supreme Court Justice and still lives in Saranac Lake.