The regularly infamous rugby social occurs once a week usually the evening after a match at a set place and time. It is the hub of interaction in the team outside of training. There are very strict traditions, rules and regulations to be upheld during the social that will be harshly punished if not correctly followed. Having not attended every single different university’s social, the following information is based upon the assumption that many teams follow a similar structure and that the main ideas and themes will be widely relevant in one way or the other.
Firstly, if you’re going to turn up to a social make sure you’re early. There are many benefits of this primarily you get a good seat around the table where all events occur (although if there aren’t enough places available you may be told to stand so a senior can sit). Also it gives you time to buy the two pints required at the start of a social. Be warned that this is a catch twenty-two because holding two drinks at any point is classed as being “double parked” meaning you are required to down one of them. Avoid being caught in this situation by making your way to the table as quickly as possible. Most importantly turning up to a social late will result in a quad-vodka penalty (four shots of vodka) which is the first step to passing out on the floor of the second pub you visit.
Social Attire varies from club to club and you will probably be informed beforehand of what you need to wear. Most socials require you to wear a set coloured shirt, trousers and shoes with a club tie. Picking up the majority of these items shouldn’t be too hard if you search around the charity shops in your area for an hour or so. However a club tie is priceless. You will have to earn it; it is never to be lost, never to be dirtied, and never to be cleaned. This tie is now as valuable to you as your genitals and you will be seen as half the man if you mistreat it. How you earn it will be covered in another part of this series. As a fresher you probably won’t receive a tie until the end of season, so an alternative coloured plain tie will probably be specified. One last thing to remember about social attire is essential if you want to have a good night out, don’t under any circumstances wear boxers underneath your trousers. They will be checked, if you forget the consequences are nasty. A team of several members of the team will take part in somewhat of a super-wedgie suspending you above their heads until the fabric breaks (A truly unpleasant experiences so don’t forget).
Socials follow International Drinking Rules that many groups seem to have different interpretations of so here are some basic guidelines:
1. All drinking must be with the left hand.
2. When drinking the little finger of the left hand is to be extended.
3. Any beverage placed upon the table must be completed with a double tap motion.
4. Any beverage placed upon the table must be at least a fingers length from the edge.
5. No swearing is to occur. This is a meeting of gentlemen.
6. Anyone wishing to use the toilet or leave the table must ask permission from the chairman.
7. Spillage of any beverage will result in licking that particular spill, the quantity required is usually 10%
8. No distractions are allowed. (E.g. females, television).
Violation of the above may result in a variety of penalties determined by the chairman and/or other seniors. Usually the fine is two fingers (a measurement of two fingers worth of alcohol).
As the meeting begins the chairman will designate several “masters” to senior members which now have special powers for the rest of the evening. These are as follows:
1. Master of Abuse: The only individual to which swearing is allowed and it is expected that they do so profusely.
2. Master of Snake eyes: Any eye contact with this master will result in a fine of two fingers.
3. Master of Anatomy: Whenever he wishes this master may place any part of his anatomy upon a surface and the last member of the team that does the same must drink a “Genie” (described later).
4. Master of Dance: Similar to master of anatomy this master may break into dance at any point in time and the last to join in must do a “Genie”.
5. Master of Weights and Measures: It is this master’s duty to ensure that any fines are completed to the correct specification.
6. Master of Snitch: a hugely influential master who can inform the chairman if anything is not above board. Anyone else who is not the master of snitch found to be making accusations is required to do a substantial fine.
If any rules or masters are disobeyed you will be required to drink the alcohol you have bought to the table or if that has already been consumed a “Genie” or General donation will be performed in which every member of the club contributes a small amount of their alcohol to your empty pint glass and you will be required to finish it. Bearing in mind that a lot of people will be drinking different beverages this can result in some pretty brutal combinations.
After a short period of time your committee members may call all the fresher’s together and assign you all a token. Your token is to test your responsibility and you have to ensure it’s not damaged and carry it on you at all times. If asked to present it you must and the punishment for mistreatment or loss can vary from downing several pints or doing a large number of press-ups on demand. A token can be anything. Our’s is a plastic soldier and as an additional trial when told to “assume the position” we must replicate the action our soldier is doing no matter what location we are in. Be wary of third and second years asking to inspect your token. Show them but don’t let them hold it, they are trying to catch you out and want you to lose it resulting in a fine.
Drinking Games are the core of the drinking social initiated by the Chairman asking someone to start a game. They may be simple but the more you drink the more you have to concentrate to stay in time. Unfortunately if you are teetotal you are going to find your involvement in these socials kept to a minimum, but several clubs are starting to integrate non-drinking socials into their schedule to such as bowling, playing pool and BBQ beach trips. Here are some examples of regularly played games:
1. 21’s: Almost always the starting point to any social. Going in a specified direction around the table players begin to count upwards from one to twenty-one. The player that ends up saying twenty-one has to down their pint to the sound of the “Zulu warrior song” stated below. Once they are done drinking they can change any number to any word they want and from then on everyone else must refer to it as so (e.g. 5 is now “skin”). When playing if one player says two numbers in a row the direction of play changes, if three are said a player is skipped. Alternatives of this include roman numerals 21’s and screaming 21’s.
2. Screaming numbers: counting upwards from one, players randomly scream the next number in the sequence. If two players scream the same number they both drink.
3. Frogs: a rhythm is set up in time by tapping two fingers on the palm of the other hand. The following statements are made: “Game of frogs to my left/right, “One Frog”, “Two eye’s” “Four leg’s”, ”in a pond”, ”Ker plunk”. Once this is done the number is doubled so the next sequence would look like this; “Two frogs”, “Four eye’s”, ”Eight legs”, “in a pond”, “in a pond”, “Ker plunk”, “Ker plunk”. This continues to double whilst the pace increases. Anyone breaking the pattern is required to drink.
4. Good-day Bruce: Using the elbow one individual must point at another and say “good-day Bruce”, the second player reciprocates with “good-day Bruce” followed by the first player pointing at a third player and saying “say good-day to Bruce, Bruce”. This continues until a mistake is made and the player who caused the infraction is renamed and must be referred to by this for the remainder of the game. Of course they also have to take a penalty drink.
5. Catch a Train: Unfortunately I can’t give away all details of this game as it is tradition that everyone must learn the rules for themselves. However if you listen to the way people who know how to play say their line you should catch on pretty quickly. The required words are “I took a train from A* to B*” (*these can be anything or anywhere as long as you get the game right). A similar variation to this game is Around the World in which the required statement is “last summer I took a holiday to A*” and the other players will determine between themselves if you are correct or in fact lying.
6. Next: When leaving the first pub it is customary to play a game of Next, one of the simpler games it involves finishing your pint, placing your empty glass on your head and saying next. This continues one after the other until everyone has finished. Keep an eye on the amount of beer in your glass if near the end of the night if you’re not a particularly heavy drinker. By leaving only a couple of inches in your glass and not buying a pint just before you leave you can reduce the amount of alcohol you have to down.
7. Porn films: going around the circle to a rhythm each individual must interpret the title of a current movie into a porno parody. If they don’t have one right away they have to “Drink while they think”. Examples could contain such classics as “Whore of the Rings”, “Pulp Friction” and “The Cockfather”.
Halfway through the games the Chairman will call a general recess for you to empty your bladder, and buy more pints but it’s also a good time to clear your head and think through which games are yet to come.
Other Common Traditions
On the way down from town towards the clubs a couple of other games are played. If shark attack is called all members must make an effort to be off the ground, the last person to be above ground is then rewarded with a quad-vod at the next bar/club. If Protect the president is called one member of the team is assigned as the president and all members bundle on top of them (if this happens to be you make every effort to find a soft patch of land).
Not all socials are the same and you may find yourself in many different theme nights. These can be anything but some good examples would be ABC night (anything but clothes that usually results in head to toe bin bag creations), animals, toga night and casual socials.
“Get it down you Zulu warrior,
get it down you Zulu chief, chief, chief, chief,
why was she born so beautiful why was she born at,
she’s no f***ing use to anyone,
she’s no f***ing use at all,
she ought to be properlys**t on,
she ought to be properly shot,
He ought to be tied to a West Country s**thouse
And left there to bloody well rot rot rot”
(Repeated until the drink is complete).
Socials are brilliant things, in my opinion there is nothing better than enjoying a night out on the town with a bunch of top quality lads. Many of the rumours and horror stories which put people off the rugby culture are hugely over exaggerated or deep in the past and I sincerely hope nobody misses out on the opportunity to make a great bunch of mates because of something heard along the grapevine.
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