Mark Bingham (1970–2001)

Originally posted at

One of our brothers, Mark Bingham, was tragically taken from us on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, during the terrorist attack on our nation. He was one of the 38 passengers on hijacked United Airlines flight 93 that crashed outside of Pittsburgh. Mark was 31 years old.

Mark epitomized what it means to be a Fog rugger, and we all learned a great deal from him. Aside from being a superb player, “Bear Trap” was a true gentleman and a generous friend. He is sorely missed.

The team received the following email from Mark a few weeks before his death. He wrote it when he learned that the Fog had been accepted as a permanent member of the Northern California Rugby Football Union.

Wow! What an inspiring email. This is a huge step forward for gay rugby.

When I started playing rugby at the age of 16, I always thought that my interest in other guys would be an anathema — completely repulsive to the guys on my team — and to the people I was knocking the shit out of on the other team. I loved the game, but KNEW I would need to keep my sexuality a secret forever. I feared total rejection.

As we worked and sweated and ran and talked together this year, I finally felt accepted as a gay man and a rugby player. My two irreconcilable worlds came together.

Now we’ve been accepted into the union and the road is going to get harder. We need to work harder. We need to get better. We have the chance to be role models for other gay folks who wanted to play sports, but never felt good enough or strong enough. More importantly, we have the chance to show the other teams in the league that we are as good as they are. Good rugby players. Good partiers. Good sports. Good men.

Gay men weren’t always wallflowers waiting on the sideline. We have the opportunity to let these other athletes know that gay men were around all along — on their little league teams, in their classes, being their friends.

This is a great opportunity to change a lot of people’s minds, and to reach a group that might never have had to know or hear about gay people.

Let’s go make some new friends…and win a few games.

Congratulations, my brothers in rugby.