Reggie Clark’s has served our country for nearly 33 years in the US Air Force. He started his rugby career in 1982 while serv- ing with the US Air Force at Clark Air Base in the Philippines in 1982. His very first game was with the Clark Outlaws against the Duranko Dragons where they were beaten handily. For this first game he played at full back, which was quite a mistake. Reggie’s kicking abilities were highly questionable. They told him just run the ball of kick it. They forgot to tell him how or where. He more than made up for his inexperience at the following party that lasted well into the wee small hours.
Their main opponents were against the Manila Nomads, a team comprising of British, French, Kiwi, and Aussie businessmen. During that time Reggie adopted the much more comfortable playing positions of on the wing or outside center. He was fortunate enough to gain some ‘international’ experience when he traveled to Japan to play in a military tournament.
Eventually Reggie was assigned to Kirtland Air Force base in Albuquerque. One day, while listening to the radio station, 94 Rock, he heard that there was an Albuquerque team. He found out they practiced on Tuesday and Thursday and soon he was playing regularly for the ‘Killer Bees’ in 1983 playing at outside center. His flat out speed and robust talking soon earned him a place in the first team where he soon became a prolific try scorer.
One of Reggie’s greatest memories while playing for the Aardvarks was winning the High Desert Classic where they beat the Brujos in the semi-final and the Denver Highlanders in the final. The games were exceptionally memorable because he broke a rib in the semi-final but still fought on to play in the final. These were golden days for the Aardvarks when they won the Rio Grande Championship on numerous occasions. Other momentous encounters were playing in the Western Championships in Dallas, Texas and winning the Michelob Tournament in Tucson, Arizona. A more painful memory was breaking his leg while playing against UNM in 1999. He now has titanium locked inside his leg.
Many players had a great influence on Reggie, none more than Andy Murray from England who helped hone Reggie’s natural abilities into a more skilful thinking style of play. An- other player that stands out was Rivera whose bullet like passes came flying out of the scrum with unerring accuracy whether played at full stretch, without looking or even through the legs. As his regular playing days neared an end, Reggie played with Old Southwest, the Clowns and formed the old boys team; The Duke City Dragons sometimes known as the Aard- varks with Wings. The greatest reward in rugby is playing the toughest matches and having the satisfaction and sprit of giving a 100% whatever the result; win or lose.
Reggie’s love of the game continues, and he gives back to the game by coaching and admin- istrating Youth Rugby. He started coaching youth teams with Don McCallum and Mark Neice with the Highland Hornets and the Eldorado Eagles then went over to Sandia. He also wants to create a sub league playing either 10s or 7s and non-contact. Reggie’s principals in coaching rugby are straight forward and sound; safety and have fun learning the game; get- ting kids off the couch; team work, life skills and teaching them that rugby is a really re- warding game where there is no other sport where they hang about together play and ruby with each other.