Matt "Sunshine" Shaffer is our last graduate this year. He came to Lawrence with a background in football, wrestling and pole vaulting. Rest assured he had all the athletic talent and drive needed to start rugby as a new sport in college. For his first two seasons he was bounced from wing to flanker and then back from flanker to wing based on where the team needed him that day. Towards the end of his college career, Matt had found his home in the loose forwards. He threw in at line out time when needed, his tackling never let the team down and he would be in support at the breakdown or for an offload in open play. After every practice or game, he would always come up to the coaches and ask what he needed to be doing to become a better rugby player; not only for himself but also to help the team. He had an unlucky string of injuries including both of his knees, a broken foot, and shoulder problems, but that never kept him from staying active in the club. He showed up to trainings, games, and socials while injured and was a wonderful teammate. That is a testamont of his character. We asked Sunshine some questions and here are his responses.
What are your plans after graduation?
"I plan on going to work as a construction inspector for the Missouri Department of Transportation. I will be moving back to Chillicothe, MO. with my fiancé GraceAnn."
What did you like about KJRFC?
"What I loved most about the club were the guys in the club. The guys who were either coaching or playing were just all around great guys and the type of people to always have your back no matter what. It made coming out every week and playing so much better with the kinship you got from everyone."
What was your fondest memory while on the club?
"My favorite memory would be playing against Iowa University my senior year. It was a really tough fought game that we won and I had some good runs in it."
What would you tell incoming players to the club?
"To new players I would say go all out. My first two years with the club I worked hard at practice but didn't really hit the gym at all. Senior year when we got our S&C Coach Burt Cockley, you got to see the difference in the teams abilities and how we played. So put as much into it because it makes all of it so much better."
Do you plan on playing after college?
"I may after we get settled in back at home and with my job. Chillicothe has a club that may be forming."
Matt, KJRFC wishes you and GraceAnn the best in what comes next for you. Thanks for your efforts and all that you sacrificed. Rock Chalk!
Westwick Rugby Complex, E 1094 Road, Lawrence, KS, United States 66047 --- Mail to: The Kansas Rugby Foundation Inc. P.O. Box 1182 Lawrence, KS 66044