Dave Herring was one of the original Aardvarks. He was one of those characters that quickly became a legend in our revered game. Known for his flamboyant “French-Style of play,” David was one of the friendliest (off the field) fullbacks you ever had the privilege of meeting. David was a regular “A” team player and played in the Western National 7‟s and in the Aardvarks team that reached the quarterfinals of the U.S. National 15‟s Championships. But, most of all, David is missed by the ladies.
David was the Aardvarks “Golden Boy”, occasionally wearing glitter in his hair. One day he took the field against Air Force wearing glitter in his mutton-chop sideburns. The “Flyboys” laughed at him until the first tackle, then, all smiles were off. David was as ferocious on the field as he was friendly off. Whether an expression of pure joy for the sport or as “war paint;” it was Grand.
David played in the first golden age of Aardvark rugby in the 70s (best 7s club in the country and within a Bill Russell call of the national Championship in 1979). Our opponents always assumed David was a “Sweet Nancy boy,” when they observed him in pre-game warm ups (long flowing blond glittering hair; a lithe swimmer‟s body); they soon changed their tune. No one went through, by, or over David. We all re- member his “thumper-brand” tackles that left opposing players gasping or crumpled on the sidelines. Long before the end of the match David was seriously respected, if not feared.
Off the field David was also special, always making everyone feel good. He was a pleasure to be around, never a negative word about everyone and he would welcome everyone to the sport of rugby and the Aardvark family. The Varks in the 70s were a close knit group of diverse people. David was an important part of what made this a special time for us. We were family and hung out together after practice games, 5-mile runs, on off days, parties, road trips; we did everything together. David‟s real family became our family. Dr. and Mrs. Herring, Nancy and the boys always had Aardvarks hanging out at their home. Hell, they even had a urinal in their bathroom. Many of us ate, slept and confided in “Mom” Mrs. Herring. They still support the club today.
David is gone but not forgotten. We can still picture him on the pitch, his long hair streaking as he side steps an opponent and selling a dum- mie (that always made Gorham envious) with Aardvarks in hot pursuit shouting, “With You David”.
Most poignant of all, when asked about their memories of David, a craggy “Vark” who preferred to remain anonymous offered the following tribute.
A flash of gold echoed that day The sparks of innocence turned to thunder What passed the gentle and smiling Turned this day into awe. Who was this man? His friends knew him as Dave, a man who captured the hearts of those left blessed. We will never forget what his presence has done. For those of us who shared………Rugby ……………………..WITH YOU DAVID!