Lakeridge High rugby team holds Christmas tree tossing fundraiser

by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Jake Moser tries to avoid Jacob Gordon as he runs the ball during a Lakeridge High rugby team practice on Thursday.How do you properly throw an evergreen for a Christmas tree tossing contest?

Try hurling it like a javelin, a shot put or discus, suggested John Perkins, Lakeridge High School rugby team assistant coach.

Lakeridge parent Dawn Oh proposed heaving the tree like a Scottish caber, which is a tree trunk used in a similar competition.

Sione Aisea, head rugby coach, offered another method: “Just grab it with two hands, and throw it.”by: REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Kyle Jonsson gets ready for a big toss.

When it comes to the Christmas tree tossing competition the rugby team is holding Jan. 4, players are judged on distance when chucking that hunk of wood. Judges will award points for style if there’s a tie, so it’s worth it for players to hone their technique.

Style is “the artistic flow of (a player’s) throwing motion — smooth, and it’s graceful or creative,” Perkins said.

The rugby team not only is holding its first tree tossing contest but also is collecting Christmas trees to recycle at the event, which is 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the C3 Church, 17979 SW Stafford Road, Lake Oswego. A donation of $10 to Rugby Oregon is suggested for tree recycling, and contenders are furnished with a small fir, so they don’t have to attempt to heft the family’s 10-foot tannenbaum.

“It’ll be fun, and, hopefully, it’ll be successful, and it’ll be a repeat fundraiser for the team,” Perkins said.

Perkins said the idea for a tree toss came from visiting his daughter last year in Ireland, where he saw a local competition. The timing’s also right with rugby being reintroduced as an Olympic sport in the 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil. The last time rugby was played in the Olympics was 1924, and the United States team earned a gold REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Members of the Lakeridge High rugby team strike a pose.

Perkins joked that tree tossing could be a new Olympic sport, and he added it’s definitely a good fit with rugby, which is a fun sport. So, it seemed right as a fundraiser. Alex Oh, Lakeridge rugby team scrumhalf, said he’s looking forward to it.

“I think it’s an interesting idea,” said Alex, a freshman. “It’ll be really entertaining, and it will be a good time to be had for all ages.”

Vying for gold, silver and bronze, contestants will be in student and adult groups with male and female tree tossers competing separately. Participants don’t have to hang around all day but can compete and head out — unless they want to stay and sip hot chocolate while scoping out the competition.

Student winners pocket gift cards for Blast Burger, Chuck’s Place and UU Yogurt, and adult winners snag gift cards for Nicoletta’s Table, World Class Wines, Lady Di’s British Store & Tea Room and Stickmen’s Brewery & Skewery.

Proceeds support scholarships, jerseys, medical kits, cleats, mouth guards and other rugby team needs.

The Lakeridge rugby team was launched this fall, and West Linn High School also has a team. Lake Oswego High doesn’t have one yet.

Wherever rugby’s played, there’s usually a friendly atmosphere, Dawn Oh said.

“Rugby’s all about sportsmanship, and, after a game, the two teams share a meal,” she said.

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Jillian Daley can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 109. Follow her on Twitter, @jilliandaley.

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