Members of the Earl Marriott Mariners’ senior boys rugby team are drawing inspiration from a former South Surrey rugby player this fall, as they prepare for a spring tour of Australia and Hong Kong.
The team has a pair of fundraising events planned – a rugby game this Sunday and an evening of music set for Nov. 4 – which, in addition to helping fund their upcoming junket, will also support the Live Like Ben Foundation, which honours the memory of former Elgin Park Secondary and Bayside rugby player Ben Trompetter, who died in 2012 after jumping from a cliff into Anderson Lake, near Pemberton.
The foundation raises funds to benefit orphanages, schools and other projects in Thailand, where Trompetter had worked as a guide. The current EMS efforts aim to raise money to provide a water system for Pha Daeng Luang, a village in northern Thailand.
On Sunday, the team will host a “Prom Dress Rugby Game” which is exactly what it sounds like – players will take to the pitch dressed in their finest evening gowns. The rain-or-shine affair is set for 5 p.m. at South Surrey Athletic Park. Players have been gathering pledges prior to the seven-a-side game, but the match is free to attend.
“Ben would love that (game),” said Tara Trompetter, Ben’s mother. “He was all about that kind of stuff.
The second event, set for Nov. 4, is to be held at White Rock’s Star of the Sea Hall (15262 Pacific Ave.) and will feature a silent acution, beer and wine bar, and live music from the Moon Coin Show Band, as well as Terence Jack. For tickets, visit livelikeben.ticketleap.com/dance.
Tickets can also be purchased at Island Cafe (1237 Johnston Rd.) or at EMS.
The cost of the water system is $6,000, Tara said, adding that it will be “life changing” for those who live in the remote village, which is high in the mountains near the Thailand-Myanmar border.
The partnership between the Marriott rugby program and the foundation – spearheaded by Ben’s mother, Tara – has been in the works for a quite some time, according to Adam Roberts, the longtime head coach of the school’s senior boys rugby program.
“I ran into his mom at a gas station probably two years ago, and said it’d be cool if we could somehow connect Earl Marriott rugby to this foundation,” said Roberts, who was a former teammate of Trompetter’s with Bayside.
“That’s what got it rolling.”
Though they were rivals during their high-school rugby days – Roberts went to Semiahmoo Secondary while Trompetter played for Elgin Park – Roberts said the two were always good friends, especially when they played men’s rugby with Bayside after high school.
“Every time Ben would come home from Thailand, he’d say he always wanted people here (to get involved)… he’d be over-the-moon about this,” Tara said of the partnership with Roberts’ group.
“For Adam to do this, is incredible, and we’re just so thrilled that our hometown is getting together to these people.”
And though he’s been gone five years, Roberts said he’s still inspired by his friend, and tries to pass on Trompetter’s message to his young students and rugby players.
“He just lived, man. He enjoyed living and was all about people and relationships, and I think that’s also a big part of what rugby is – about the relationships you build with people when you play together, when you go on tours,” Roberts said.
Earl Marriott’s rugby program is no stranger to touring – spring break trips abroad are a tradition in the program – and Roberts said its always the goal to “do something philanthropic” or educational while also playing rugby. In the past, Roberts has taken his team to visit war sites like Vimy Ridge while on tour in France, while a charity/philanthropic aspect was also part of the team’s 2011 tour of Samoa and Fiji.
“We try to do something like that every time… so it’s about more than just rugby,” Roberts explained. “We want to make the kids think about a little bit more ‘bigger picture’ – about the broader world.
“And this is a great project because it’s so close to home, with Ben. It’s all coming together really nicely.”