The first time the Dallas Diablos Rugby Football Club held HellFest, a tournament where they invited other IGRAB member clubs to play in Texas over Halloween, one team showed up. But they did it again anyway.
And boy did they do it right. Eight teams, represented players from nine clubs, descended on Dallas last weekend for a round-robin tourney, and by the time it was over, there were nine hospital visits, countless bruises and black-eyes … and nothing but nice things to say from all the players.
The tournament itself was an all-day affair on Saturday, with games beginning around 9:15 a.m. and continuing until after 5 p.m. In the final: The Diablos’ home field advantage lifted them over the Minneapolis Mayhem for a 12–0 victory. Bragging rights, but not arrogance. During the after-party at the Dallas Eagle, players from Atlanta to L.A. praised the organization of the event. “The best I’ve ever attended, gay or straight,” one Air Force enlistee told me. They were all impressed by the clockwork play, the officiating and the after-game buffet, and had nice things to say about Dallas (the men and the city — and the block party).
It seems certain it’ll take place again next year. And next time, they’ll plan for even more teams.