Sunday, October 02, 2011

Half-flys and hookers

I was lucky that it was a Kiwi friend took me under her rugby wing.  She was looking for someone to watch the Super 15 tournament games with her. I agreed with the condition that she'd have to spend the our first game together answering my questions. Tri-Nations and Rugby World Cup have followed in succession.
I'm still working out the finer points of the positions but I GET IT!!!
I got the jist of rugby before; it's just similar enough to American football that I got the concept of running the ball into the goal area, or kicking it through goal posts. It's was all the penalties and subtleties that were lost on me.  She patiently answered all my "what was that?" and "what happened there" s over the course of the game.  I'm still seeing something new every game.  The scrums are making sense, I can see where a team get a foul on line-outs, and I'm starting to follow kicking v throwing v running strategies.  I get it now.  I don't instinctively plunge headlong into an NFL vs Rugby argument on the side of the Americans any more. 
Crouch, touch, pause, engage

I'm now a dutiful All Blacks fan.  Before you go jumping on me as a fan who's jumped in on the backs of the most famous, most prodigious team for just those reasons, hold your horses.  The friend who taught me about rugby is KIWI, that means she's an ALL BLACKS fan. Since I learned from her, and watching them, they're my team. A week or two ago I sent her an sms saying that we were playing and I meant ABS (All Blacks), not the USA, who I didn't even know had a team until two weeks ago. And incidentally there are over 90,000 pro rugby players in the US.  Really??

I love sport.  I grew up watching baseball and football.  I feel in love with football (aka soccer) when I saw it live for the first time in Guatemala.  My team in the FIFA World Cup were the Spaniards.   I supported Spain from the beginning and might have been the only one doing so in Jakarta. They won to boot! I'm hoping that the same magic will work for the ABS.  I almost got my American card revoked for not supporting the US then and I was questioned about it again for RWC. When we get to the Olympics then it'll be a different story but until then . . .

I watched the last three rugby games of open play in the Rugby World Cup.  The quarterfinals will start next weekend and I'm excited about it.  I have learned some of the players on other teams and see strengths and weaknesses in them. I was sad to see Scotland knocked  out of play, and even sorrier to see how dirty the Italian team played against the Irish (which made me happier the Irish team moved on).  Great resource for RWC
Plus the All Blacks have the Haka. Wicked cool.
I will unabashedly admit that there might be another reason I continue watching rugby. Sonny Bill Williams and Dan Carter may be the reason I like rugby.  I like the physicality, the athleticism and the players.
Dan Carter, Abs
Sonny Bill Williams, ABs
Do you blame me? Drool.

No comments:

Post a Comment