Monday, February 2, 2009
I Hate Rugby
Okay, so hate is a strong word. However 'I dislike Rugby' doesn't really grab one's attention.
And really, is it the game of rugby I dislike? Or all the media attention, obsessed fans and terrible injuries that circle the great rugby universe?
I know I'm in the minority in this country. Rugby as we all know and are told all year round, is our national sport. It provides a strong, team-focused outlet for young men in small communities to bond together, learn discipline and exert some agression out on the playing field. In short(s), it is the thinking man's battle ground.
Well what about women's rugby? Aren't the NZ women's team the world champions? But they get no media coverage.
I met a guy the other day who has a tattoo of the All Blacks on his leg. Not the whole team, just the name "All Blacks". Now, I'm all for permanent body art if it has meaning to you, so I can understand the impulse to scrawl the name of your favourite team on your bod.
However, the fervour with which he worshipped this team was palpable. I know he was holding most of his adoration on the inside too, because I told him I "just wasn't that in to sport". He told me that he loves rugby, that when the All Blacks lost last time he cried. I didn't even know how to reply to that. "Good on you mate?"
I have to say this sort of national pride is to be admired. We need people like that to support our sports industry and keep sports journalists busy. After all, in our house the sports section is the first to go out in the recycle bin and if there's rugby on telly, we turn over immediately.
I know I won't be making any friends writing this post. But here's the thing, one day I'd like to be able to tell people that I don't follow rugby, don't watch games on television, don't subscribe to Sky Sport (even though I do have Sky), don't enjoy anything about the game, don't like the build of rugby players, don't like the little shorts or the big thighs, don't admire the athletic prowess of diving head first in to the dirt or sticking your fingers in to eyeballs, or other types of balls, don't think Dan Carter is anything to write home about... without being looked at like I'm a) mad b)clueless c)not a true New Zealander. I was born here and have lived here most of my life, I just don't like rugby!
There are others like me out there, but we have to keep quiet. When you admit to not being a big fan you'll be surprised how many others will come out of the woodwork. I must say I haven't come across many men who will confess they are not a fan, but I'm sure they are out there.
The thing is, rugby is a great converstation starter in kiwi society. Start talking about the game and you have something to really go on about for a good twenty minutes - especially for men, who often have trouble chatting on that level unless it is about sport. My significant other is Danish, so he doesn't like Rugby, cricket or any of those team sports. It was one of the things that MOST attracted me to him. ha ha dee ha.
The thing is we have been to rugby games and did watch some of the game. We tried to understand what everyone was jumping up and down about. We tried to understand why parents had decorated their kids in all over body paint to show their support of team colours. We tried to understand why grown men would intentionally play a sport which made their ears do that thing, their noses bleed, their likelihood of getting a head injury increase by some astronomic percentage.
But to tell you the truth the only joy we really got out of it was from watching the spectators.