TRAVERSE CITY — Expect to see a little extra energy when Christian Gallagher and the rest of the TC Alliance rugby team take the field on Friday to face Grand Rapids Catholic Central.
Not only will it be the Alliance’s home opener, but it also will be the team’s first game on its new field.
No longer will the Alliance be playing home games at the Traverse City Civic Center after the squad went out Saturday and worked at making a regulation sized rugby field at Chums Village Drive, behind Wuerfel Park.
“There’s going to be a lot more enthusiasm, I do believe,” said Gallagher, a senior from St. Francis who is in his fourth year playing on the Alliance. “Not just the field, but the players are psyched up because it’s our first home game.”
Through an agreement with the Blair Community Center, the team was able to utilize an empty open park space and turn it into a 100-meter-by-70-meter rugby pitch. The field is the biggest legal rugby field in the state.
“The field is really perfect for it (a rugby field). It was being unused,” said Alliance head coach Chuck Benson. “It has underground irrigation and they mow the lawn as a beautification thing for the residents and nobody ever used it.
“I happen to own property on the commercial side. So I went by it on a pretty regular basis. I approached the chairman of the housing committee, who does the maintenance on it. They agreed to let us use it and we pay them certain fees for it. It was a perfect marriage.”
The process of getting the arrangement worked out has been an ongoing process for the past year, and after a post-practice work bee on Saturday that included measuring, flagging, painting lines, digging and installing goal posts, the field was completed.