Doc Hudson loves to brag about his favorite old grads. Ray Willsey, the present football coach, was a Rugby ace in the early '50s, and so were Pro Football Linebackers Les Richter and Matt Hazel-tine, whose father also played Rugby at Cal. One of Hudson's finest products is his assistant, Jim (Truck) Cullom, who also coaches the freshman football team.
"He's a screamer and so am I," said Cullom. "Rugby in England is a rowdy game played by gentlemen. At California it's a gentleman's game played by ruffians. But actually we're pretty lax. It wasn't a concentration camp when I played and I don't want to make it one for anyone else. It's a nice spring day today and if I were an undergraduate I'd probably grab a girl and a six-pack of beer and go up in the hills, too."
Cullom handles the junior varsity players, who call themselves the Guanos with all the pride of LSU's old Chinese Bandits. Nobody is quite sure how the name originated, but all agree that jerseys are not washed from one end of the season to the other.
Last Thursday afternoon Cullom spotted a Guano lounging in the athletic office and talked him into foregoing a fit of spring fever and coming up to Memorial Stadium to work out. On the way to the stadium they passed between a group of cute coeds and some get-out-of- Vietnam types. The Guano said, "There's the contrast of the Cal campus. The beats and the babies." A "baby" in Guanese is a girl, usually an attractive one. These particular babies were on their way to the airport to shower Notre Dame's ruggers, not with kisses but oranges. The Irish responded by asking for dates. They did not get very far.
Just 15 Notre Dame players showed up, along with their "moderator," Kenneth Featherstone. A native of Manchester, England, Featherstone is mainly interested in architecture, which he teaches at South Bend, and he believes Rugby should be largely a player-organized activity. Before agreeing to make the trip (paid for by Cal's fraternities as part of Spring Week), he insisted that the game be played under international rules—no substitutions. If a man breaks an arm, he either plays with it or his team plays without him.
On the night they arrived the Irish worked out on a dark soccer field near the stadium and, to the surprise of a Cal observer, in the stadium on Friday afternoon. "They did more calisthenics today than we've done all year," he said.
The fraternities had wanted to bill the game as a national championship, but it was not quite that. Notre Dame had a 5-1 record but had lost the previous week to Indiana. And one of its victories was over the Palmer College of Chiropractic. ("Loaded with Africans who had played Rugby since childhood," explained the moderator.) This Cal team was almost as strong as last year's.
During the three games, the Saturday-night parties and the hectic preceding week, campaign-style buttons worn by several babies seemed to cut through the tension generated by a flurry of anti-and pro- Vietnam activity on campus like giggles at a prayer meeting. The buttons said simply: "I'm a rugger hugger."
Before the big match, Truck Cullom's lesser Guanos battled Athens, an Oakland club consisting of Cal alumni and friends. True to tradition, the Guanos played in tattered, unwashed football jerseys, some without numerals, two with the number 82. Also true to tradition, the Guanos huddled before kickoff but mostly mumbled. Their theory was that no one knows what is being said in such gatherings anyway. One Guano got kicked out of the game near the end for a little wrestling outside a regulation scrum, but generally the atmosphere was friendly. Cullom smiled at one familiar face on the Athens team and yelled, "You cheat. I didn't teach you to play like that."
By the end of the first game and a short intermission about 13,000 fans—students for the most part—had gathered in Memorial Stadium. Men on the sunny side took off their shirts to catch a few rays while they drank beer and razzed the Guanos. But the Notre Dame game brought on a more serious mood, because all remembered the plastering the Irish gave the Bears in football the previous fall. Rugby Captain Tom Relies and most of his teammates had played in that game.