Pacific Rimmers vs Renegades, Credit: Quake Rugby / Instagram
After three days of mud, sweat, tears, and all the man-on-man action rugby entails, the Bingham Cup — gay rugby’s preeminent sporting event — has a new champion. At this year’s event, held last weekend in Nashville, Tennessee, Australia’s Melbourne Chargers claimed victory over neighboring Sydney Convicts in the final match.
Representing the District were the Washington Scandals and Washington Renegades. While neither team was able to bring home the cup, they didn’t leave empty-handed. Before this weekend, the three-year-old Scandals had never won a match. Facing Canada’s Ottawa Wolves on Friday, however, they fought their way to a narrow 19 to 12 victory. Their glory ended on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to dampen spirits.
“Today was a heartbreaker,” scrum half and former team captain Brendan Raden wrote on Facebook. “Washington Scandals RFC fall to Dallas Diablos 5 to 24. But I’m the proudest that I’ve ever been of the club. It was inspiring.”
The Renegades enjoyed greater success, reaching the cup’s final four, losing to the eventual champions 5 to 15 in the semifinal. Founded in 1998, the Renegades are a more seasoned club, bringing three teams to compete in all three divisions of the cup. The team’s B side won the Bingham Shield of its division, beating the Boston Ironsides 56 to 0 in the final. The C side lost in their division 10 to 12 to the Lost Souls of Dallas.
The three-day, LGBT-inclusive tournament is played every two years in host cities around the world and is named after Mark Bingham, a passenger on United Flight 93 that crashed in rural Pennsylvania during the Sept. 11 attacks. Bingham, who was gay and played for a gay rugby team in San Francisco, is said to have helped fight the hijackers and is a hero amongst his peers.