The site for women in New Zealand

Rugby what?

I’m not a true Kiwi. I like hokey-pokey ice-cream, I own a pair of jandals, and I even have the ‘made in NZ’ symbol tattooed on my back. But I’m not a true kiwi because of one fundamental thing: I don’t like rugby.

What? What? I can hear the exclamations of surprise/horror from here. But everyone likes rugby, don’t they? There’s nothing more kiwi than going to a rugby game, rugged up against the wind, eating some hot chips in the rain and screaming at the opposition. Well to me, sitting outside in the middle of winter watching 30 macho men run around trying to catch a ball, is just not fun at all.

Recently the British & Irish Lions toured NZ. The hype was unbelievable. Banners were hung around Auckland city, people walked around the streets with “All Blacks” fake tattoos stuck to their faces and the TAB was chaos with punters placing bets. At least a good fifteen minutes on the nightly news was devoted to the tour, analyzing every single move the Lions made. I have to admit; even I got a little caught up in the hype. The Saturday night the Lions and the All Blacks played at Eden Park, I decided that I would be the world’s ultimate loser if I didn’t go down to the pub to watch the game. “Alright,” I thought, “I’ll give it a chance”. So off I went to the Penny Black in Newmarket with a bunch of my friends, who were all decked out in All Blacks jerseys, jackets, scarves, hats and even face paint. We scored a table and settled in to watch the rugby. Unfortunately in order to get a table, we’d gone to the pub four hours before the rugby even started! So not only was I sitting in a crowded pub on an uncomfortable wooden bar stool for 6 hours straight, I also had to spend a small fortune buying enough drinks to keep me mildly interested in my surroundings.

Thankfully the rugby wasn’t actually too bad that night. The All Blacks won, which meant that everyone was in a good mood, and to be honest the 90 minute game seemed more like 10 minutes thanks to the empty bottles of wine on the table! I just can’t believe people paid hundreds of dollars to score seats to the live game.

The fact that a rugby game takes 90 minutes is one of my major complaints. If the game was 40 minutes, or even 60 minutes, I might be able to handle a game here and there. But ninety minutes of watching scruffy males throw and kick a ball around is sheer torture for me. The only interesting part of the game is when there is a rumble amongst the players and people get sin-binned!

Furthermore, not only does a rugby game take 90 minutes, it happens in the weekend. Both nights of the weekend! I can never organize dinners or parties during winter because every single weekend the invited males don’t show because there’s some important game on. What’s classified as important, I truly don’t know. No sooner had we finished the hyped up Lions tour, but then it was the Tri-nations, then the NPC...it just never ends. For a winter sport, Rugby seems to be played all year around.

And for the couple of months of the year that rugby isn’t played, there is still no escaping the sport. That horrid Sky TV has devoted an entire channel to rugby. (No surprise here, it’s called The Rugby Channel). The worst thing about this channel is that it plays old rugby games over...and over...and over again. I don’t really understand why anyone would want to watch a 1950s regional rugby game between Waikato and Taranaki. It’s so long ago, and so totally irrelevant. Watching such old games is about as stimulating as reading 10-year-old Woman’s Weeklies in the dentists waiting room.

This morning when I woke up, I pulled open the blinds and was confronted with a gorgeous sunny day. Spring has arrived! I was just thinking about how it would be nice to go to the beach, or play mini-golf, or get an ice-cream in Mission Bay, but my bubble burst when the boyfriend declared “oh great, the weather will be sweet for the rugby tonight!” That’s right, the All Blacks are playing Australia tonight, for the Bledis-something cup, and all of my friends are going to the game. The boyfriend asked me if I wanted to go – tickets were a bargain, only $50. I told him I wouldn’t go even if someone paid me $50! I think instead of being crammed into the terraces, having drunken guys throw their beer cans over me during the Mexican Wave, I’ll stay home and watch the Saturday night movie with my choccies and wine. That sounds much more appealing.

...Although, I may have to flick over to the rugby once or twice to see the score – I don’t want to be a social outcast around the water cooler on Monday morning!

By pink 10-Sep-2005
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