You know, if we all got together once a week, beat the crap out of each other, and then went and had some beers to make up, this world might be a much better -- albeit toothless -- place. The Houston Area Rugby Club will demonstrate their particular brand of bonding this weekend with a match against New Orleans. For the non-Welsh and non-South African among us, rugby is a lot like football, minus the pads and the pauses. Two teams try to carry a melon-shaped ball to opposite ends of the field, but there's no quarterback and no forward passing. Almost anything else goes: Tackles, piles (known as "rucks") and shoves leave players with lumps, scrapes and a condition affectionately known as cauliflower ears.
The HARC Men's Fifteens First Side is considered one of the finer teams in the Texas Rugby Union. The club boasts roughly 150 members among its men's, women's, youth and masters' teams, and they're looking for more players. They've even invited prospective locks, hookers and fly halves to their postgame holiday party at Griff's Shenanigans (3416 Roseland). But first, check out their scrums at 2 p.m. Saturday, December 11. Westland Family YMCA, 10402 Fondren. For information, call 713-817-4302 or visit www.houstonrugby.org. Free. -- Julia Ramey
Get Some Exorcise
Funny how around the holidays, one piece of pie turns into two and one beer turns into nine. Before you know it, you have a hangover and a gut. Fitness expert Benita Perkins is coming to the rescue this weekend, with workout demonstrations and advice on how to resist that rogue hors d'oeuvre. Perkins teaches pilates, cardio kickboxing, step and body sculpting, and encourages you not only to move but to enjoy food (within reason, of course). Her workouts even feature gospel-inspired music, so you can cast out both calorie-induced fat and angst. Then again, the mere presence of a supremely fit, fortysomething mother of three should be enough to make you get your ass in gear. Noon, Saturday, December 11. Wal-Mart, 27270 Northwest Freeway, Cypress, 281-256-8038. That day she will also appear at 3 p.m. at Wal-Mart, 22605 Tomball Parkway, Tomball, 281-374-9449; and 6 p.m. at Wal-Mart, 21150 Kuykendahl, Spring, 281-288-6437. For information, visit www.keepthebeat.com. Free. -- Julia Ramey