The San Francisco Fog Rugby Football Club is the first gay and inclusive rugby club on the West Coast. Founded in 2000, the Fog has the vision to be the preeminent rugby club in the world that actively pursues the participation of people of color, gay men, and other groups traditionally under-represented in rugby.
We believe everyone should have the chance to experience the camaraderie and brotherhood inherent to the sport of rugby. Players of any skill level are welcome to join, including those that have never played rugby or even an organized sport. The club is also involved in the local community both socially and philanthropically and we welcome everyone to participate — even if you don't want to play, we're happy to have you join the Fog Family.
Board of Directors
The Beginnings of the Fog
The idea for the Fog started in early 2000 when Derrick Mickle, along with Jason Reimuller and Mark Bingham were playing in a gay flag football social club and bonded over their common love of the sport of rugby. The issue was there was no gay-friendly team in the San Francisco area that they felt would welcome them. With that, Derrick recruited Cameron Geddes and Bryce Eberhart (both ex-college ruggers and both gay), and after months of hard work they founded the San Francisco Fog on October 14, 2000.
Missing the brotherhood, bonding and esprit de corps he experienced playing in rugby clubs, Derrick decided to see about starting a gay-friendly rugby club. He conducted an Internet search in January 2000 out of curiosity to see if there were any gay rugby teams. He was shocked to discover several, including one recently founded in Washington, D.C. shortly after he had left. He immediately contacted members of that team, the Washington Renegades, and discovered that their team had tapped a market of gay athletes heretofore unserved. The Renegades have been very successful in recruiting and developing ruggers in their area.
The more Derrick talked with the Renegades members, the more he realized that the idea could be successfully ported to San Francisco. After recruiting Cameron Geddes and Bryce Eberhart (both ex-college ruggers and both gay) through the Internet, the trio set about assembling a group of interested players through word of mouth alone. By March 2000 there was a core of a dozen gay men interested in predominantly gay rugby team in San Francisco. A general interest email list was created for that dozen. The team name and colors were chosen in June 2000 and the nation’s second gay-friendly rugby football club was officially founded in October 14, 2000. Nine players attended first organized practice.
Mark Bingham (1970-2001)
One of our brothers, Mark Bingham, was tragically taken from us on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, during the terrorist attack on our nation. He was one of the 38 passengers on hijacked United Airlines flight 93 that crashed outside of Pittsburgh. Mark was 31 years old.
Mark epitomized what it means to be a Fog rugger, and we all learned a great deal from him. Aside from being a superb player, “Bear Trap” was a true gentleman and a generous friend. He is sorely missed.
The team received the following email from Mark a few weeks before his death. He wrote it when he learned that the Fog had been accepted as a permanent member of the Northern California Rugby Football Union.
Wow! What an inspiring email. This is a huge step forward for gay rugby.
When I started playing rugby at the age of 16, I always thought that my interest in other guys would be an anathema — completely repulsive to the guys on my team — and to the people I was knocking the shit out of on the other team. I loved the game, but KNEW I would need to keep my sexuality a secret forever. I feared total rejection.
As we worked and sweated and ran and talked together this year, I finally felt accepted as a gay man and a rugby player. My two irreconcilable worlds came together.
Now we've been accepted into the union and the road is going to get harder. We need to work harder. We need to get better. We have the chance to be role models for other gay folks who wanted to play sports, but never felt good enough or strong enough. More importantly, we have the chance to show the other teams in the league that we are as good as they are. Good rugby players. Good partiers. Good sports. Good men.
Gay men weren't always wallflowers waiting on the sideline. We have the opportunity to let these other athletes know that gay men were around all along — on their little league teams, in their classes, being their friends.
This is a great opportunity to change a lot of people's minds, and to reach a group that might never have had to know or hear about gay people.
Let's go make some new friends…and win a few games.
Congratulations, my brothers in rugby.
Be well, Mark. We love you and miss you tremendously.
The Fog Rugby Coat of Arms
After a trip to London and Manchester in January 2001, the club developed its coat of arms, a link to — and reminder of — the culture in which the game originated. The team's coat of arms consists of three silver stars within a black diagonal stripe on a wavy blue-and-silver background. In heraldry terms, the coat of arms is blazoned "barry nebuly of six argent and azure, on a bend sable three mullets of the first".
The coat of arms elements represent various aspects of the club. The patterned background is called barry nebuly, and is often taken to represent clouds, water, or air, suitable for a team named after San Francisco's most famous meteorological phenomenon. The stars (or "mullets") stand for the club's three constituencies: the players, the staff, and the supporters.