By Brennan Stark, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Ipanema’s Gringo Café will hold its monthly Gringo Group Therapy Happy Hour this Friday, November 4th, at 7PM, with special co-sponsors the Rio Rugby Club. In addition to the event bringing Cariocas and expatriates together to exchange tips and stories of living in the Cidade Maravilhosa, the Rio Rugby Club will be celebrating the year’s successes and looking to recruit new members and sponsors.
Club president Justin Thornyroft is excited for the club’s first Gringo Group Therapy social. He describes, “[Rio Rugby] looks forward to this new format as a way to involve even more people in the club’s active social life and promote the healthy mix that we have between Brazilians and gringos from all over the world.”
Traditionally focusing on such business-themed topics as real estate investment or starting a company in Brazil, this Gringo Group Therapy event’s rugby topic is sure to make for a special evening.
Gringo Café owner and founder Sam Flowers believes that although the topic at hand may be unique for the event, English-invented rugby’s soaring popularity within Brazil will correspond well with the greater purpose of these meetings.
“The theme we’re trying to develop is ‘getting inspired by gringos that are thriving in Rio,'” Flowers states, adding “I think [Rio Rugby F.C.] is a great example of how gringos are bringing our culture and interests to Rio and sharing them with the broader community.”
As for the Rio Rugby Club, it is also about celebrating a great season, as Thornycroft explains: “The club has had a very good year in terms of results so far, with excellent battles on the pitch, trips to other cities, players in the State and National Teams and memorable 3rd halves.”
He continues: “Of the seven principal competitions/tournaments that take place during the year we have got to the final three times and taken home the trophy once, with three more tournaments still to come!”
Begun in March of this year, the Gringo Group Therapy event has consistently had a warm and relaxed atmosphere where newcomers and long-time residents alike have given tips on anything from Visa issues to starting a business in Rio, or simply exchanged stories on their newest favorite restaurant or bar.
If meeting the members of Rio Rugby Club or receiving tips on solving difficult expat issues is not incentive enough, consider the half-price drinks that will be served from 7-9PM. Flowers’ personal favorite is the Caipi-Gringo, which replaces the traditional cachaça and lime with whiskey and lemon.
Even those unfamiliar with rugby are encouraged to attend, as the sport is quickly becoming popular in Brazil. Thornycroft states, “Rugby is growing like mad here in the country and has a huge potential based on the current investment, sponsorship and potential player pool in a country that breeds some of the best fighters and sportsmen and women in the world.”
By co-hosting such events as Gringo Café’s Gringo Group Therapy, Rio Rugby hopes to generate enough interest in the team to secure sponsorship to participate in other major tournaments. They also hope to attract potential new players, who Thornycroft hopes will “catch a glimpse of how different rugby really is from football…rugby is about union, teamwork, discipline and respect…on and off the pitch!”
Rio Rugby Club t-shirts and jerseys will be available on sale for those looking to support the club and fly their colors. Another draw will be a video lineup of clutch Rugby matches selected by the club to play on the Gringo Cafe’s larger TV screen.
Adding to this sense of camaraderie, Flowers states, “Every time we host the event it’s heavily social, with people making new personal and business connections. I think this time the social part will be even stronger.”
Friday, November 4th, 7-9PM
Rua Barao Da Torre 240
Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro