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Early Santos Memories
by Woody Hickcox

My name is Woody Hickcox. I played for the Santos before we were the Santos. I moved to SF in 1974 and met Pete Seitz at a LaMaze class we were attending with our wives. He and I had slipped out to the bar to check on the score of the Monday night football game. Pete said that he thought I looked like a jock and would I like to play rugby. I said sure and my fate was sealed.

I went to practice that week and that Saturday I paid $16.00 for a jersey and played in the first game I ever saw. Pete said to follow him around and do what he did. It was great, we got creamed. In those days that happened a lot. We were terrible but having much fun.

In about 76' Dave Wheelock moved back to SF. By then we had some pretty good players and were getting better. Dave became the Player-Coach and we improved dramatically. A typical starting side in those days would have been Jon Kormanek and I at prop, Fred Pentz at hook. Pete and Hans Waight at wing forward with the Aesop twins Schoenberg and Donatelli at 2nd row with the couch at 8. Jack donnell would play scrum half and the other backs would likely be Richie Stump and James Oellien, Larry Smith, Mark Noll, Tom Cummins and Louie Martinez at fullback.

We would play 2 seasons a year, in the fall we would start the Union season with a BBQ at Larry and Joan Smiths place and then in the spring we would travel to various tournaments often in Colorado. Whenever we went to El Paso everybody would sleep out in my Moms backyard. Sunday morning the yard would look like the place where ruggers went to die.

We mostly hung out at The Green Onion and the Dawsons were always good about donating a keg for after game drink-ups. I remember these days as some of the best of my life. Both of my children were born in SF. In 1980 I foolishly let myself get talked into accepting a job that required me to relocate in Seattle. After many going away parties we moved. I finished up my rugby career playing for the Seattle Rugby Club. I hung up my cleats in 1987 at age 40. I have been back to SF a couple of times to see Pete and some of the guys.

"I will always hold my days with the SFRFC close to my heart."

Content Donated by:  Woody Hickox
Season(s):  1974-1980