Eric Heinicke (“H”, “Radish”) learned the finer arts of social rugby with UNM, ’77-81. Annual whoop- ings from the Varks provided inspiration to take it to a higher level. Play with AARFC from 1981 to ’85, instilled an “olde school” work ethic, competitive drive, and a “rugby family” spirit that stays with you forever.
Back then in Aardvark rugby, head coaches were scarce but the talent pool was rather amazing. Skills were passed on by your mates and you learned to “feel” intuitively what your team mates were planning to do. This was a great basis upon which to build a rugby life. So many valuable members tha shared their rugby IQ, from Papa Vark, Hal Hames, Grififn Lewis, Tony Pino, Fred Harper, Johnny Gonzo, Marty Watts and many more.
“H” went on to play with Santa Monica and Belmont Shore before joining the Las Ve- gas RFC in 1988. He was fortunate enough to continue playing competitive 1st Division rugby through 2006. During that time, the Vegas side rose from a third division inde- pendent, to a very competitive first division side that was consistently in the top national ranks. For several years in the 90’s, those sides included Vark HOFers Demitro Cardiel and Rick Zubiate. Competitive tours with Milwaukee RFC 1993, of England, and LV RFC 1995, of New Zealand and Australia were on and off-field highlights.
Eric still plays Old Boys rugby and has no intention of ever stopping. He especially appreciates teaming up with fellow Varks, Bill Hayward, Dickie Green, Randy Mitchell and Gordon Harper, amongst others. He has also been active in youth rugby develop- ment and hopes to always play a part in the growth of the greatest sport ever.
Best memories include touch rugby warm-ups and post-training/match socializing with the Varks. Vark “touch” was physically challenging, verbally brutal, and very demand- ing because of its close relationship to the monumental Aardvark 7’s successes. The sides were stacked with legendary Vark giants. No words were held back for mistakes or under-achievement. Praise was certainly not given freely making its acquisition a truly worthy feather in the cap of your effort.