Thanks to the Rugby World Cup, I’ve opened another chapter of my kiwi education, one that, up until now, I was more than happy to keep closed: rugby. It was pretty much unavoidable.
I was visiting Portugal when the RWC started and so missed all the excitement of the first few days but felt strangely connected to it. When I woke up in Lisbon, just as the opening ceremony was ending in New Zealand, I rushed online to check out all the videos of that NZ evening (PT morning). I saw the fireworks display and the Maori chants and 45,503 haka flashmobs and that even got me missing NZ a little bit.
So when I returned, about three weeks ago, I got straight into the action and watched rugby games to stay awake and get through jet lag. And, little by little, I started understanding the game. Sort of.
Last weekend, I got a triple dose of rugby and added another level of confusion to the whole thing by watching a rugby league game (the NRL final) in between two rugby union games (RWC ones). See, I didn’t even know there was more than what type of rugby up until fairly recently. That was my second time watching a rugby league game, after attempting to follow one with C.’s dad a few months ago and have him count how many questions I asked about it (lets just say there were quite a few).
We’re down to the quarter finals of the RWC now and, if part of me wants it all to go back to normal (no “lets not go into town today because there’s a game on and it’ll be chaotic”), another part of me is wearing a metaphoric all blacks jersey and all excited about the upcoming matches.
I even know how much you score for a try, a conversion or a penalty. I know what a scrum is and I shout “forward pass! that was a forward pass!” before the ref even has time to blow the whistle. As much as I wish New Zealand would embrace soccer, I’ll go ahead and admit that being in a rugby nation isn’t *too* bad, now that I know what the heck they’re throwing themselves on top of each other for.