As a rural ranch kid from Nutt ,NM, Dick Greene was a good high school student athlete but too little, slow, ugly, and stupid to play anything but hooker in rene- gade rugby. As in life, having a peasants body, he could only run straight. As his world class, rodeo queen sister was a better athlete, Dick had to do some sport well and rugby was it.
Rice University RFC was just forming so he ran around with them a little bit in 1970-71. Work- ing offshore rigs and being a platoon leader in the combat engineers during Vietnam left no time to learn more rugby until graduate school at CSU in the Rocky Mountain.
It was a unique time of pioneering rugby in the USA. Off to work for a World Health Organiza- tion, Dick found a club of ex pats, mostly French, in Rio. Being single, young, and a blued eyed Gringo in Rio made for pure joy during 1976-78. As their hooker on the de facto “Brazilian National Team”, they played a very good touring Argentina Select Side and lost 25-11. Call it a “Visor , not a Cap”. Dick never saw rugby so fast and fluid. They literally broke his ass (coccyx) in the La Bajada, scrum-play on is always the cowboy way.
in 1978-84 Dick returned home and joined the Varks where he met the current old boys, and did well even not knowing the game. It was a strange alchemy of people, all a bit twisted. On sabbatical and working in NZ from 1985-1986, he finally learned a bit about the game playing for Carlton RFC in Auckland. In one of life’s mysteries, Dick somehow got invited to play for the world famous NZ Barbarians in 1986. They beat the NZ Universities Select Side 27-12. The game was, as he put it, “the apex of my modest rugby playing career”.
Returning to the Varks knowing some rugby Dick drew the short straw and played as a player coach. There were many victories and high times with gifted native and imported players. Dick modestly surmised he certainly was the only one over rated on and off the pitch. The team did well and often played good rugby against quality opposition- enough said.
Transferring to NMHU, Dick started the Vatos in 1992. Obviously, the smartest thing was pick- ing the name. Their record, passion, and reputation speaks clearly. Always unlikely to survive, it takes energy and patience to keep a small club doing well in small-town USA with very limited demographics.
As he would rather play any game than watch it Dick still hooks for Rice Alumni and the high quality Virginia Cardinals Old Boys. He selfishly and simply plays, has a quiet beer, and watches the pretty girls…rugby culture .
Recently, USA Rugby asked Dick to help on their Board of Directors. Having an unselfish and dear friend on the Executive Committee of the IRB, He agreed to serve in a lesser role. Dick will always show up to forward rugby – that is always the bulk of anything.