March Alumnus of the Month: Ben “Poodles” Shapiro

Our March alumnus of the month is Ben “Poodles” Shapiro. Read below to find out more about Poodles!


When did you play?

I came out to my first practice the winter of my sophomore year at the insistence of CJ Stock (winter 2012). I played until my graduation in the spring of 2014.


What was your favorite memory as a member of the club?

Among my favorite memories is the night I played my first match. It was a cold winter evening at Oosterbaan against Saginaw Valley and I had no idea what was going on. Late in the second half the other team elected to tap and go after a penalty. The scrum half popped the ball to the biggest forward they had who proceeded to barrel directly toward me at full speed. As I began to run toward him, Ty Waters who was to my right, sprinted forward hitting this guy as hard as he could head first into his chest. It was like watching a car crash in slow motion. I was horrified. And I was hooked.


Did you receive any special honors as a member of the club?

I was elected the teams first ever merchandise manager. An essential piece of being a top tier program is looking the part and so I took it upon myself to see to it that we did. I designed warm ups, tour jerseys, bringing back our classic kitbags, and perhaps my greatest accomplishment, UMRFC speedos. I’m happy to see that kit orders are still going strong today.


What are you doing now?

These days I’m living in Brooklyn, New York and working as an engineer in the construction industry. I mainly design tower crane installations that build some of the country’s tallest skyscrapers.


Any other interesting stories?

I count my time with the UMRFC as amongst the greatest of my life. There is no doubt in my mind that it was helped me to grow as a person professionally, socially, and personally.  Rugby, and specifically Michigan Rugby, teaches perseverance which will serve you well in every endeavor. I have countless interesting stories but most are not suitable for the high journalistic standards of this site. I’d be happy to recount them over a beer next Olde Boys. Soiled Meat and Sand.

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