Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The All Blacks

Rugby - a sport most Americans haven't even heard of - is the central most important thing to New Zealanders. And the All Blacks, the New Zealand national team that earned its name back in the 19th century, is the most important thing to New Zealand rugby fans.

So, we thought: "We've been here six months. We've eaten kiwi burgers, drunk kiwi beer, kissed kiwi girls...we might as well watch some kiwi sports." And we bought stadium tickets - the cheap ones, of course.



  • Sidenote: Rugby vs. American football...who's the boss? The debate can't be won. They're different sports, with different strategies. Rugby guys don't wear pads, but most kiwis feel that football players "hit harder." (They've been watching a lot of American football movies.) I'll tell you this. The average rugby player is a huge, huge dude. And he's fast, and he has to think on his feet, without someone planning everything for him, and he can take one hell of a hit......And almost every New Zealand guy is a New Zealand rugby player. You get the picture.


We've seen it on TV, and we've gasped at how raw the sport is. We've heard the hype. We've watched the news. It was our turn to see it for ourselves.

So we pre-gamed, dressed up, and joined the black tide of fans heading for the Wellington Westpac stadium. Oh, what a night.

It started with the haka, an ancient Maori war challenge that's been a centerpiece of the All Blacks for time immemorial. It looks savage, and powerful, and spiritual. It means the players are out for blood.



As is turns out, our seats were three rows back from the field. We could feel the players breathe.

And because we cheered so hard, we even got on national television. Maggie saw a closeup of the three of us on the megatron, and the guys back in the penthouse caught the same shot of us yelling like idiots on tv.

We looked kind of like this:


Naturally...

16 comments:

miquel said...

When do begin the league of rubby? and how many equipments are there in National League?.
by the way, What have you written on your neck?

Shley said...

Calvert, really, could you try to curb your enthusiasm a little bit? You seem to be embarrassing your cohorts with all that yelling and carrying on.

Paterika said...

I love the haka. On my first visit to NZ I thought that it was a riot. Living there for a year almost I just love the culture and and every thing about the Kiwis.

Paterika
http://poetrynest.blogspot.com

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