The kid down the hall in college played it. I even went on a few dates with a girl who played it. But I never actually took the time to understand it. For me, rugby has always been nothing more than the inbred love child of football and soccer.
Nonetheless I find myself in an country enveloped by the game. All Blacks memorabilia hangs in most store windows hoping to inspire a nation to a championship. Radio, newspapers, and the evening news are all dominated by reports on the biggest sporting event this country has ever hosted. An oddly disturbing, and likely the dumbest ad campaign, got even more people following.
So, here I am. I might as well embrace it and join the crowd.
Strangely enough, the United States qualified a team for the World Cup. As the freedom loving, buffalo wing eating, cargo shorts and flip flop wearing American that I am, I believe it is my patriotic duty to cheer them on. I look forward to draping Old Glory over my back and chanting “U-S-A! U-S-A!” despite how much the other team is favored. I just hope the matches versus Italy and Australia aren’t total blowouts.*
Rugby will always take a back seat in my sporting world, forever condemned to the penumbras beneath my love for baseball. But that’s hardly an excuse to shun my circumstances and not follow. I can never pass up an opportunity to have a good time – regardless of the odds.
*Post Update: The match versus Australia was a total blowout. Final score, 67-5.