Atmosphere

Roughing It

Admit it: With football and hockey season on hiatus, you miss the hardscrabble hits, blows, scrapes, and brawls. Fortunately, these old-school sports—still played in the Mile High City—offer a fair amount of bloodletting, er, hard-hitting action to keep you satiated until fall.

June 2010

Rugby

Origin Ancient Greece
Quick Rules During an 80-minute match, two 15-player teams run an oval ball toward the opposition's goal line.
Scoring A five-point "try"—the most common scoring method—occurs when the ball crosses the goal line, much like a football touchdown.
Pain Factor ♦♦♦♦ Watch The Churchill Cup, an international rugby championship, returns its opening rounds to Denver on June 5 through June 13. Tourney play kicks off at Glendale's Infinity Park, where the U.S. team takes on Russia. www.churchillcuprugby.net

Australian Rules Football

Origin Australia
Quick Rules An ancestor of professional football, this full-contact battle features two 18-person teams on an oval field.
Scoring Players kick the ball through two upright central posts (six points) or two shorter, outer posts (one point).
Pain Factor ♦♦
Watch The Denver-based Bulldogs have won seven national championships in the U.S. Footy League. Check out their weekday scrimmages at Washington Park (Wednesday: 6-8 p.m.) or watch the group's first-ever men's and women's tourney on Saturday, June 19. www.denverbulldogs.com

Hurling

Origin Ireland
Quick Rules Players use a curved stick, called a "hurley," to move a small ball up and down the field in a 60-minute match (think: field hockey).
Scoring Players score by putting a small ball over (one point) or under (three points) a goalpost's crossbar.
Pain Factor ♦♦♦
Watch The Denver Gaels' male hurlers play on Sundays at 2 p.m. through mid-July. All matches are held in Cook Park. www.denvergaels.com