On both sides of the mid-Atlantic tectonic plates rumble this weekend with the aftermath of mighty mid-field collisions. Rugby is off to a new season. Of course in the Western Hemisphere they had to mess with the fine old game’s rules and call it football. In the US  Packers and Oilers, Titans, Panthers and Patriots don armor plating and rumble toward goal posts. When they score they “do a little dance, make a little love” in the end zone. In the UK it’s basically the same, except teams with more discrete names like London Irish and Exeter dispensed with armor plating about the time jousting went out of favor, and end zone displays are kept to proper pats on the back.

It’s a funny coincidence that my two favorite teams on both sides of the Atlantic are named for historically interesting years.

The SF49ers49ers

Why is my favorite US team, San Francisco, called the 49ers? Since there was already a team called the 76ers (celebrating the 1776 war of independence against you know who) the next best choice referenced the 1849 gold rush in California. Pretty ancient history by US standards.

The RGC1404rgc1404

The new rugby union squad here in North Wales is known as the Gogs, because their full name, Rygbi Gogledd Cymru 1404, is, well, a mouth full. Rygbi Gogledd Cymru is Welsh for North Wales Rugby and 1404 was the year of the Welsh independence uprising. That was the year the local English walled town of Conwy was trashed by the natives. An interesting choice of names for our local rugby team.

Go 14-0-49ers!