Thoughts While Watching My First Live Rugby Game, aka, Go ALL BLACKS!
Prior to arriving, all of my research on New Zealand indicated that rugby is less of a national past time and more like the national religion. I can relate to this, as I have friends in Portland, Oregon for whom soccer takes a similar place in their lives. In fact, one particular couple is famous in our group of friends for saying, “In Timbers we trust*,” in place of “I do” during their wedding ceremony (the Timbers being the local MLS team). During my first ever week in Portland, they invited me to a Timbers soccer game, bought me a Timbers scarf, and taught me all about the importance of chanting while sitting in the Timbers Army section of the stadium. Thus it came as no surprise that one of the first things I was invited to do upon arriving in New Zealand was to watch the All Blacks play France in a Rugby World Cup game.
*I was just informed that it was actually “Rose City ’til I die,” not “In Timbers we trust”. Sorry, that’s what happens when a story becomes urban legend. It’s like that game of telephone.
Yesterday, after picking me up from the airport, my NZ host brought me almost immediately to a local shop to outfit me for the game by purchasing me an All Blacks jersey. (As this is the second time this has happened to me after moving someplace new, I will now expect this in all other new locations.) And that is how I found myself hip-to-hip with cheering, clapping, and early-morning drinking All Blacks fans (and a few Frenchies) at a local pub at 7:30 a.m. this morning. Here are some of my thoughts during a truly spectacular game:
Holy shit, soccer is for pussies.
Damn, American football would KILL for that guy as a running back.
Jesus, Ben Franks is a BEAST! RUN, you ugly bastard, RUN!
GOAL! Or something. Touchdown? Basket? What’s it called when they put the ball in the end zone? Do they even use the words end zone here?
Pretty sure even though those guys are medics, that counts as something close to a reacharound, where they’re massaging that player right now.
Ha, this ref is awesome! He totally calls people on their BS. Good eye!
Wahoo, LGBTs represent! (Was just told Nigel Owens, the ref, is the only openly gay ref in the league and also is a comedian.)
Wait, wait, wait, you can kick YOURSELF the ball?!? Who are these guys?
Damn, these guys can pass, oh, excuse me, offload, and OMG he’s going for it GOAL!
I wouldn’t kick #7 out of bed. Wonder who he is.
Oh, the team captain. Well, aim high.
Sure, that’s only a yellow card because it was just a “fist to the face”. Where I come from, that’s usually called a punch, but oh well. Must be a lost in translation thing.
Go, go, GO! Dodged three guys to score! Damn, that guy just bounces off of them!
Holy cow, that guy knows how to kick a ball.
Oh goodness, I know you’re in a scrum or whatever it’s called right now, but please pull your pants back up.
Is everyone on this team going to score today? GOAL!
OMG, French Simba just started to play.
Are you sure these guys don’t play like this all the time, because they are KILLING it.
Sorry, French Simba, you’re trying really hard but my team is going to win today. Perhaps I can console you later?
RUN, Nonu, RUN! SO CLOSE!
62-13, the highest All Blacks score over France ever! Clearly I’m their good luck charm.
Or, watch the highlights for yourself: