The Blues take to the pitch with high hopes.
So much has happened since 2002 that we could be forgiven for forgetting that our most celebrated rugby team, the Kansas City Blues, hasn't made it to the Super League playoffs since then. The league is a spring competition that pits 16 of the best teams from across the United States against one another until only two are left to face each other in the national championship -- the brass ring of American rugby. The Blues' chances of success have risen after a few off years, thanks to this season's acquisition of a new coaching staff and three recruits from England and South Africa. The revamped lineup debuts at 1:30 Saturday afternoon at Minor Park (Holmes and Red Bridge Road) in the first Super League season game against the Chicago Lions, a match that promises rugby at full throttle, matching the speed of soccer to the swift brutality of football. Players don't wear padding, instead relying on the old adage "Rugby is a ruffian's game played by gentlemen." Call 913-488-2396 for more information. -- Christopher Sebela
Just for Kicks
They finished the 2004 football season with a better record than the Chiefs, and anyone has a shot at playing with them. But the Kansas City Shockers have brand-new uniforms, and they want the best players to wear them in 2005. Obviously, this ain't the NFL. Tryouts cost $30, and those who make it must pay a $150 players fee. But the Shockers are among the best in the minors, and scouts from the Miami Dolphins, the Indianapolis Colts and others have been known to give them a look. Tryouts start at 3 p.m. Sunday at Sports City in Blue Springs, 425 Northeast Mock Avenue. Call 816-591-5701. -- Sarah Smarsh
A third-floor apartment (and a black thumb) prevents us from any real gardening, so we'll get our fix at this weekend's Home, Lawn and Garden Show. We'll be checking out the 11 displays inspired by songs of spring, including the Kansas City Water Garden Society's "April in Paris," Shawnee Mission Tree Service's "Canon in D" and the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department's adaptation of Elvis' "Spring Fever" from Thursday to Sunday at Bartle Hall (301 West 13th Street). Tickets are $8; call 816-942-8800 for details. -- Annie Fischer