Last weekend’s 38-29 win over Rugby New York in Hoboken, New Jersey, would have meant plenty to all donning red, white and blue, but to Cam Davidowicz it brought up memories of the Boston-New York sports rivalries that he grew up watching.
Born and raised in Essex County, Massachusetts, to a farming family, the 25-year-olds formative years were spent watching the Red Sox and the Yankees go toe to toe, the Bruins and the Rangers do battle on the ice, and the New England Patriots face off with the New York Giants when the two teams were in their heyday.
Now, the flanker finds himself at the center of the latest professional sports franchise to come to the region, the Mystic River standout signing on with the Free Jacks after two years on the practice squad and has now been involved in every matchday roster so far in the 2022 season.
Davidowicz’s rugby journey began all the way back in 2012 with the Essex County Bulldogs, his older brother, Cody, and his friends encouraging the freshman to give the sport a go, his journey taking him to Plymouth State University.
Several All-Star appearances would follow, as performances for the Division 3 school warranting of the attention. Once his time at college came to an end, Davidowicz returned to New England, the family farm and to play for Mystic River in the American Rugby Premiership.
“I have been very happy with how much playing time I have got,” he said. “It has been awesome. I have got good minutes every game, I wasn’t even sure how long it would take to make a roster, so being on a roster the first four games has been really special.
“It means a lot to get out there, especially with the fifth one [game of the season] being at home. I can’t wait to represent my home team. A few of my family and friends will be out there, so I think I am doing pretty well so start out the season.”
Winning in New Jersey last weekend, the Free Jacks currently sit third in the East Conference, level on points with New York, and one point behind division leaders, Rugby ATL.
For the fifth game of the league season, New England will be welcoming the Toronto Arrows to Veterans Memorial Stadium for the home opener. An intra-conference encounter, the game will also act as a celebration of St Patrick’s Day, with tickets starting from $25.
“I could probably count off 100 people that I know going to the game, to see me play,” Davidowicz said.
“It means a lot to me. I have people reaching out to me from all over the place, telling me they are coming out. It kind of took me aback a little. I have got 30 mates from college coming out to see me.
“That’s what is helping us a lot over here. We have a few local guys, and we bring huge support, especially for the club.
“All my teammates love hearing about the guys coming out to support me, all the guys cheering me on.
“It definitely helps a lot and I think New England are doing it right. The team sold out a couple of games last season, we will be looking to build on that and hopefully this weekend will be a sell-out.”
Under a new coaching team, with Scott Mathie as head coach and Mike Rogers as an assistant coach, the transition from the previous leadership has been almost seamless. On the field, Beaudein Waaka has been earning plenty of plaudits for the way in which he is playing the game, the former All Blacks Sevens player tearing apart opposition defenses at will.
But even with a series of impressive performances under their belt, Davidowicz is convinced that there is still more to come from both himself and his teammates, as they continue to bond and get to know each other even more as the season wears on.
“We are feeling really confident right now,” Davidowicz said. “We know we have still got a lot of things to work on, we are not playing at our full potential, and we know that.
“We just keep building week in, week out, and we know we are nowhere near where we should be.
“We are probably working at 50% of our full potential, and I think we can get there in the next couple of weeks and really put it on these teams coming up.”
With his own section of supporters make their way to Quincy, Davidowicz’s excitement is palpable. A win on Saturday afternoon will maintain pace at the top of the East, a loss opening the door to Toronto, who can make ground on their hosts this weekend.
His association with rugby in New England is long-established, his aim now to grow the game even further by being on a winning team. With that in mind, Davidowicz has a simple message for anyone not having considered purchasing a ticket.
“I’d just say to get excited for this weekend,” he said. “The boys are ready to bring it on. Everyone is eager, comping at the bit to get out there this weekend, so it should be a real exciting game.
“The atmosphere should be great, we are looking forward to it, and although it may be a little rainy, it is going to be one hell of a weekend. I know everyone is excited for it. Every morning I am jumping out of bed. I am counting down the days.”
Not only is Davidowicz the hometown hero this weekend, but he is also the embodiment of everything that makes Boston, and New England, great.
A blue-collar, hard-working individual, who has bided his time in order to get his opportunity, his home debut should be a celebration of such.
For Davidowicz himself, 12 March will forever be known as the day that marks his journey from being a Boston sports fan, to being a Boston sports player, something that the 25-year-old is motivated for, even if he doesn’t know exactly how he feels.
“I don’t know if it has really hit me,” Davidowicz said. “I don’t know if it will hit me until after this weekend, when the game is over. I don’t know. I have played many games at home, but never pro.”