Who we are.
What we Do.
Lincoln Park RFC, founded in 1968 by Dan Fohrman, Jerry Fohrman and Tom Williamson is one of the oldest clubs in the Midwest. A charter member of CARFU (Chicago Area Rugby Football Union), Lincoln Park currently plays at the Division II l& Division III level.
The Lincoln Park Rugby Club is a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of Rugby in Chicago – and the United States, through sportsmanship and camaraderie.
Throughout its history, the club has supported the game by playing and promoting it throughout Chicago and the Midwestern region, as well as on foreign soil. The club has made tours to Mexico, Brazil, Ireland, Wales, the Czech Republic, Argentina, Spain, and Costa Rica. On its visit to the West Indies, LPRFC became the first U.S. rugby club to be official guests of the St. Lucia Rugby Football Union.
Lincoln Park has gained many friends and colleagues from these travels and returned the favor by hosting many foreign teams and showing them the true nature of Chicago hospitality. Guests have included: the Old Edwardian’s (Johannesburg, South Africa) ARAWAK RFC (Bahamas) the Mexican National under-23 team, and our good friends from Wrexham, Wales; a team so fond of Chicago they returned for a second visit.
While playing ambassador for the sport and our city, LPRFC also has maintained a winning history. The club reached the National Division II Men’s Championship in 1994 and in 2010 won the DII Midwest Championship.
In addition to promoting the competitive aspects of the sport, the club never has lost sight of the social aspects that make the game so enduring, as well as a commitment to furthering the sport.
Lincoln Park has volunteered time from its players to assist with Park District events, and many of its hundreds of players and alumnus are active in various charitable organizations for myriad causes around the city. Some of our more recent endeavours include the head shaving event for St Baldricks Children’s Cancer fundraiser, Movember initiative for cancer charities and an upcoming toy drive for the Lurie Children’s Hospital.
LPRFC has also played an active role in developing the sport at the collegiate level, several times hosting a tournament for the local Chicago area Universities. We hope these programs to be enjoyable for the players, helpful in their pursuit of rugby and other amateur athletics, and a boon for the sport as it draws more players with greater skill.
Our practice and home fields are located centrally to the Lincoln Park neighbourhood of Chicago. We are within easy access to Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Wrigleyville and the Gold Coast. Local bus services run close by and there are several ‘El’ stations within a few blocks.
After the match, the teams and supporters can be found at Kincades (950 Armitage Avenue).
Where We Came from
It is probably a grave error I am about to make in revealing the origins of LPRFC. The recollections will undoubtedly bore the disinterested majority and disappoint the fervid minority.
Dan Fohrman (Co-founder)
The incentive for beginning a team began during my first practice with the Chicago Lions when everyone was instructed to jog two miles to the beach. Not up to such a Herculean task and not having been spoken to for over an hour, I faded into the darkness.
During the ensuing weeks, my brother Jerry, college teammate Tom Williamson and I plotted the birth of a rugby team to the spirit and spirits of rugby rather than the will to win. In the darkness of the old Oxford Pub on Clark and Menominee and driven by the brewing genius of Augie Busch, we began recruiting prospects. It was immediately apparent that even with no experience, the 6’3″ 130lb bar tender Harlan Stern was a natural – in many respects. Under similar circumstances several new recruits were found. A new name for the team had to picked and many were considered, but monetary and alcoholic considerations prompted the name of Oxford’s – sounding appropriately English. When our welcome in the bar dimmed later in the year, a change was necessary and Lincoln Park was chosen for many reasons.
1. To commemorate the events in Lincoln Park surrounding the recent 1968 Democratic National Convention.
2. To commemorate the Zoo and our likeness to it.
3. To avoid frequent name changes due to the capricious nature of local bar owners.
4. To convince local officials to give out field permits, and lastly
5. To enable befuddled players and recruits to find us.
Colors had to chosen if jerseys were to be ordered. We unfortunately thought it was humorous to decide on colors which were deemed particularly gaudy – emerald and banana. Jerseys were then ordered from Don’s Body Builders Sports Shop on Damen and Division. It should therefore have been little surprise when our first order arrived looking like sheer Roy Rogers shirts with lace-up necks. Their lives were mercifully short.
Scheduling was haphazard at best, since we were such newcomers and much groveling was required. Our big break came when NIU canceled their match with Fort Wayne at the last minute. This was particularly embarrassing since their captain, Todd Davis had arranged to be married on the field at half-time with local TV and radio play by play coverage after weeks of spot commercials had been run.
The club has been near extinction many times. It is only through the help of my brother Jerry, Irwin Schuler, Frank Blossom and the others that we made it through the first two years. While I spent countless hours organizing games, fields, equipment, rosters etc. to the detriment of my medical studies, I don’t regret it for a moment. When Jerry tells me of the latest accomplishments of the team I am both envious and happy. I still have many pictures, movies, posters, trophies, a green and gold jock and a can of Chicago air here in Colorado to help me relive those years. I still enjoy hearing of LPRFC’s exploits and hope they will always continue. Don’t fuck it up now!
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