In the northwest part of Georgia, there is a little town called Lafayette that sits just outside the Chattanooga city limits. This population of 6,702 remains relatively unabated for most of the year, but for one weekend a year the town sees the mass entrance of 100’s of rugby players and rugby aficionados to the Cherokee Farms properties.
Chattanooga Rugby Club’s Pitch-A-Tent 7’s Tournament is the pinnacle social tournament for the southeast region of the United States. It provides the satisfaction of the rugby 7’s season and the casual attitude that is known to be held by rugby players. A tournament unlike any other, Pitch-A-Tent brings together the positive simplicity of life. One could call the purpose of Pitch-A-Tent to be where rugby players can be themselves. A place where personal judgement is thrown to the wind and players are allowed to tap into their most primal emotions. A place where men and women are on the same level of understanding with why they are there. The concept of work hard, play hard is taken to it’s full extent.
The tournament follows a schedule that allows participants to transition fluidly from their lives outside of rugby, to the haven of the tournament. Starting off the weekend, the Thursday before the camp day, with a small gathering at the Chattanooga Rugby Club’s home bar, Mike’s Hole In The Wall. The tournament takes it’s unofficial movement into the dream weekend, a white water rafting trip lead by RaftOne, down the Ocoee River. You receive a white water rafting experience that is enhanced that is both exhilarating and beautiful all at the same time.
The pregame for the tournament simply sets up what ends up as a remarkable experience. As you drive off Old Mineral Road, you are greeted by the first field. A field that reminds you of an all green ocean that have goal posts. A dirt road that receives you and guides you to the campgrounds. The grounds are revealed to you with a shine that is like entering into the gates of heaven. Once you have entered the grounds, and you have seen the semi-truck that contains 40+ kegs.
As one rugby player mentioned upon entering the campgrounds, “I am home”. The very feeling that is intended to be created by the tournament. The combining of 32 men’s teams and 25 women’s team, to allow the camaraderie of teams that come from all over United States. The unique combination of characters that are used to help push the spirit of the tournament.
Friday and Saturday are days that the parties are earned and rugby is played. The time when the socialization of rugby players and their environment comes together. Where the crazy mind, that dwells within any person who has had a chance to carry the ball, is allowed to physically show itself in it’s entirety.
Chattanooga’s Pitch-A-Tent is the place where rugby players can be themselves. It is the holy haven that rugby the purity and tradition that is rugby culture is established, blossomed, and practiced all at the same time. No headaches, no negatives, just a purely surreal environment that gives comfort to anyone that is able to participate
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