Lincoln Park Barons
Who are the Barons
Taking their name from one of the team’s former bars (Der Red Baron), the Barons are Lincoln Park’s Old Boy team.
While the speed of their games may be a little more on the leisurely side, they do not lack the blood and thunder of the contact: many of these old boys played in eras where scrums and rucks were dark, foreboding places.
These days, the games are often an excuse for a half-time whisky tasting.
Whether you are an LPRFC alum or just an old rugger looking for the occasional game, our Old Boys welcome you you join us.
The schedule is haphazard and typically a couple of games a year, but one of the regular fixtures is when we answer the call of the bagpipes and strut our stuff at the annual Illinois St. Andrew’s Society Highland Games.
Player: Guy Anthony Rowley
Position(s): Center or fullback
Years With the Club: 1970 to about 1980, and still playing in the occasional old boy event!
How did Guy first start playing for LPRFC? In an effort to depressurize in medical school I joined a community theater group, The Old Town Players. At a certain point in the play’s run, all of a sudden Mike Byrne finished a scene and threw himself on a couch backstage, looking completely spent. ‘What’s the matter, Mike?’ ‘Rugby,’ he said. So I knew I had to play.
Guy’s favorite part of living in Chicago: Having spent most of my life in the East, I loved The Shore. When I got off the bus in 1968 at Abbott Hall, 710 Lake Shore, I took a look at the lake across the street and said ‘Wow’!
If you ever took pride in playing for Lincoln Park you will read on. I played for 15 years with this team and I take great pride in the honor that I had to play with Park each and every year. When I retired from playing this year (Saturday, notwithstanding) I felt compelled to give something more.
As of spring I set up a reoccurring donation to Lincoln Park for $10 a month. I set it and let it go. I quick clicked through a link and I don’t have to bother with it any more. One good pint, glass of Scotch/wine to raise up to the team once a month. It is a small something that still means much to the team.
As a rugger you all know that a team of 15 working together can do so much more than an individual. And as the 50th reminded me, we are a team of hundreds. Hundreds of alum and legends who take pride in our days with Park. We still have the chance to give to our team.
For the curious, yes our team still charges dues for each season. The dues are well over $200 per season. And though dues have gone up, so has the cost of everything else. The cost of practice fields are over $200/hour. Homes matches average $1,150 per home match, and because we have teams in two divisions that are not always home on the same weekend there are often 4 or more additional home matches to pay for per season. These are the minimal expenses that the dues are expected to cover.
However, there is more that is needed to keep our beloved Park on par with the rest of the Midwest. No I am not talking about a field house or owning a pitch, that is unrealistic in Lincoln Park proper. But most other Midwest teams now pay for coaching. The other teams have scrum sleds and plentiful tackling pads and gear. These are things needed just to try to keep up.
But we are Park! We have always been professionals on and off the pitch. We have come to expect better for our team on and off the pitch. The team has some goals that would make us proud to help achieve. Recently, though mostly player expensed, our team took the opportunity to travel to Ireland to practice against a semi pro team from Ireland. Having gone myself I can tell you that this was no tour. We practiced twice a day for most of the short duration. We played more rugby in the 3 days than we have on any tour this team has ever taken. It was a fantastic learning experience to be coached by international coaches and compete with international players. It helped most of us achieve another level. We could make this more than a once in a life time opportunity.
Lastly, I had the opportunity to look at the books. Our team is a certified 501(C) (3) organization. The books must be accurate. Unfortunately, that means the donations received was accurate and quite embarrassing. It is embarrassing for both the active team that needs to reach out to us to help preserve the stories, songs and legends, and for us who have left this team as if we were the Lions. Simply put: IT IS THE ONE THING THAT THE LIONS DO BETTER THAN LINCOLN PARK.
Join me. Let’s change that. Let’s raise one pint a month to our beloved team.
Your brother in arms,
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