John Ellison

John "Marlboro Man" Ellison

Nickname: Marlboro Man
Years played UMRFC/MRFC: 1998-2002
Position[s]: Flyhalf, Winger, Fullback
Influential UMRFC/MRFC players: Tuttle, Francisco, Menyhart’s (All 3), Hagen, Jack Fisher, Warpig, Mathers, Schurfeld, Gessner, Stulberg, Zeb, Perpich, BZ, KZ, Salamango, Punisher, Waddy, Collis, PBMC, Ashby, Nemeic, Mike Carter, Ed Spybrook, Knuckles, Gaylor, Parros, Sam “Egyptian Magician”, Devon, Super Yupper, Skrat, Elmo, Livanos, Markus, Vinnie, Joe and Jerry Attia, etc, etc.  

Other clubs and select teams played for: None

Memorable games, plays, tours, off field events: 
A. The Beginning: On the first play of my first game against FSU on Florida Spring Break Tour I ran down on the opening kick and weakly tackled the 1st guy I found; it was more of a dog humping a leg maneuver. This guy didn’t have the ball. Just before he punched me in the face our prop Flaherty stepped in to share that I was brand new to rugby. I didn’t quite have a handle on the rules of the game. (Post-match picture from said 1st game attached).

B. The Glue Years: The college side was a mighty 18-25 strong my first few years. We all played A and B side games routinely. What we lacked in talent and numbers we made up for in stupidity and machismo. 

C. The Nickname: I have the legs of a 12 year old school girl, skinny like toothpicks…or like cigarettes…The Marlboro Man was born. Ironically, I have never smoked cigarettes.

D. The Tours:
a. 2001 A Space Odyssey Tour - England. As we warmed up for a match lads from Cambridge and Oxford filed off busses with American football pads for their “club” sport. Linemen where smoking cigs on the sideline and their skills where pathetic. It was fantastic.
b. 2002 – Ireland – Tuttle and Hagen turned back time at the center positions and beat the snot out of our hosts in Nenigh. The small town Irish experience was something quite memorable.
c. Others:  New Orleans, Savannah, Florida (3x), DC, Portland, Reno, Vegas.
E. The End: I played both College and Club seasons for all my years. By 2002 I had carved out a manageable style that made me an asset not a liability. I enjoyed growing up as a man and a player in rugby. I was a collegiate golfer, weighed 130lb., and I was welcomed with open arms.

Current location: Southeast MI
Occupation: Engineering Sales (Automotive)
Family: Wife of 12 years, 2 daughters: Sophia (10) and Lydia (5)

Comment: To paraphrase, Russell Menyhart after a tackling drill, in comparison to a moment of a man, our Prop Ed Spybrook, “Tackling Marlboro is like catching a leaf blowing in the wind, tackling Ed is like running into the tree the leaf fell from”.
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