2012 HOF – Carl Hawkins

Carl Hawkins was born in Cambridge England and grew up alternating between stints in England, Germany and the U.S. He is the son of an OKIE, W.J. Hawkins, a “Lancashire Lass”, Margaret Fleming and the step-son of a retired Air Force officer Robert Davis.

There was no childhood rugby for Carl. His mother had a rugby playing uncle whose many exploits were an embarrassment to the maternal side of the family. As result the only sport consid- ered proper enough for her children was the hooligan’s game, soccer, a game at which Carl flourished as a rather rough and tumble Wing and Mid-fielder. Despite not playing rugby (officially, sorry Mom), the big matches were of course tele- vised and watching them left a lasting impression that created a lasting desire to one day play.

Carl emigrated to the U.S. to attend college in 1970 when playing soccer was not an option. Happenstance intervened during a mid 1970’s road trip to Pioneer Days at NM Tech in Socorro. There the existence of the fledgling New Mexico Rugby experiment was exposed. A year and a half later in the Fall of 1977 the then 23 year old graduate student began a rugby career on Johnson Field in UNM Blue with #11 on his back that ended 17 years later on the pitches of Vancouver Island in “Peeler Purple” with #2 his back. To all Peelers to be known as #2 is con- sidered the highest of honors.

The first two years of rugby as a Lobo were spent learning the game among the likes of future Aardvark team mates Eric Heinecke, Mike Lucero, David “I want to be like Ray” Levine and Kenya’s, Patrick Mukura. In the fall of 1979, graduate school now over Carl moved on to join his friends in black, gold and red. It was a great feeling to look over and see Mike “the Alien” Lucero once again on his side of the pitch.

During his years with the Varks Carl was most often the fullback although in accordance with tradition and the number of players that showed up fit, he played any position, in the back line, of course that would provide team advantage (often more than one position in a single game). The goal was to achieve the ultimate high, walking off the pitch after having played a match classified in the words of, self proclaimed rugby sage and Lord of Wilmore Manner, Griffin Lewis as; “Champagne Rugby”.

Carl was the fullback in what is for him is the most memorable of the “Champagne Rugby” matches. The 16th Annual High Desert Classic Tournament Championship Final played against the University of Oklahoma Rugby Club on one of those bright warm New Mexico October days. It was to be that day after 16 years of failed effort that the Aardvarks would collectively lift the championship trophy of their own tournament for the first time. The joy and elation associated with that victory is Carl’s fondest Aardvark Rugby Memory. “It was a wonderful team effort, a nearly flawless game played against a truly great opponent culminating in a heart stopping left footed 30 meter drop goal from “Willy” Hayward just before the final whistle blew.

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