Wow. I have finally succumbed to a sport. Rugby.
I know I know. But really, you just don’t understand how little I enjoy watching sports in general. Back in college, I am pretty sure I was the only one without season football tickets. Honestly, all of my 5 roommates had them. I could have cared less. I think I went to one or two homecoming games. Might have only been one.
Baseball. Meh. Soccer. Even more meh. Ice hockey is pretty cool but I never really got into that either. Tennis and golf are actually painful to watch. Olympics? Yeah they’re cool but I don’t really get emotionally involved.
But here in NZ, Rugby is the sport. And it’s not just with the RWC being hosted here right now. I watched the televised games of the 2007 RWC when it was in France. I remember getting up at like 6am to watch us get beaten by France in the quarterfinal!
I have been, in person, to an All Blacks game (2008 v South Africa). I will probably even go to another one (especially next time they come to Dunners… we do have that new expensive stadium and all). I have even seen the Highlanders (Otago team) play, and of course, my token RWC game, England v. Georgia.
Rugby is well – actually very entertaining to watch (especially for a sport!). And last night’s game against Australia was one of the most amazing games I’ve ever seen. Why? Because NZ and Australia are quite well matched (NZ just rolls over other teams. Poor Canada and Japan didn’t stand a chance), and there is a long and passionate rivalry between the two. Did I mention losing was not an option for NZ (Pike River Mine tragedy, Christchurch Earthquake, and lately the Rena shipwreck/oil spill… honestly NZ just cannot handle anymore bad stuff this year). They players were absolutely at the top of their game and it was a beautiful (and brutal) thing to behold. Cruden was especially magnificent (imagine being 22, 3rd string and having to play! Such intense pressure with Dan Carter* and Colin Slade both nursing injured groins)!
I’ve caught the rugby fever. I LOVE watching this game (it’s fast paced, exciting, and a little bit barbaric). I am already making plans to watch the final (next Sunday). And I am actually thinking how fun it would be to travel wherever the next RWC is and cheer on NZ (in 2015)! How crazy is that? But this really is the peak of the sport. Attending games of the RWC is fun – there is this amazing atmosphere. People are dressed up in their team’s colours, they’re out having a good time – it’s an amazing positive feeling that you can’t help but want to be a part of… well, if your team is the best, that is. NZ clearly is. We’re in the final for the first time in 16 years (yet we’ve never lost a pool match. Ever.). And this year we’re going to win the whole thing (the last time NZ won was in 1987, the first ever RWC, against France, and the RWC was held here in NZ). And I’m gonna be here when it happens. It’s going to be amazing.
*Dan Carter is one the All Black’s number one players, for my non-kiwi readers
P.S. check out this Irish fan. Amazing, eh? Gonna try and give him a run for his money on Sunday!