Let's set something straight right off the bat: South Africa has weird sports. They play cricket, which as far as I can tell is pretty much just a bunch of dudes standing around on a field complementing each other on the whiteness of their uniforms. And every once in a while. somebody says something someone else doesn't like, and the offended party throws the ball on the ground. As far as providing riveting entertainment, it's right up there with darts.
And when they talk about hockey here, it's field hockey. I guess that's kind of legit. I'll reserve judgement until I've watched it.
Soccer is obviously huge here, but watching dudes aimlessly run back and forth across a huge field avoiding contact with each other is pretty much the human equivalent of NASCAR, which my brother loves. But my brother is a nincomboob (I love you, Dave, but you know it's true).
But from what I can tell, rugby is king in South Africa. I love NFL football, and this is the closest I'll get here, so I was stoked to go.
The game was last night (April 15, 2017), and the local heroes are the Blue Bulls. They were playing the Argentina Jaguares, who arguably have a much cooler name. Here are my thoughts
1. I need to find a Blue Bulls jersey
2. OK. Nevermind. Found them. They look awful. Vodacom is the sponsor, and I'd basically be buying a Vodacom logo with a small Blue Bulls logo added as an afterthought. Also, it looks like the designers travelled all the way to 1995 to get inspiration. Hard pass. I'll just wear my Seahawks jersey next time.
3. This stadium is HUGE!
4. This stadium is empty.
5. Wow. The players are super touchy feely with each other.
6. Well that's nice. Sometimes the guys feel bad for tackling each other and get together in a giant hug to make up.
8. Apparently "CUDDLE HARDER!" isn't a standard cheer. My bad. I got a little excited there.
9. OK, so the hits aren't as big as the ones in the NFL, but I'm really getting into this.
10. South African fans are super drinky.
11. What's this? They're getting in a line. All right, looks like a guy is gonna throw the ball and the guys are gonna try to get it.
12. What in the sweet living...
13. I swear to everything good and holy they just lifted this guy up by his behind.
|I'll bet he didn't even take him out to dinner first.|
14. I can see how this all went down when the guy who invented rugby was trying to explain it: "Listen, fellahs. You know how football is awesome? Let's take a bunch of stuff from that sport. But we can only pass the ball backwards. Also, we get to wrap our strong arms around each other in giant snuggle parties a bunch of times. And hear me out here- I know there's other ways to lift dudes up, but what if we did it in such a way we got to grab a handful of ass every time we did it?"
15. As far as homoerotic sports go, rugby sits somewhere between bobsled and men's pairs figure skating.
16. Everybody's cheering. I think somebody just got a basket.
17. Nice! The ball got kicked into the crowd. Some lucky person got a game ball!
18. Nevermind. Apparently, you need to throw the ball back if you catch it. I guess there's not enough money in rugby to afford more than one ball.
19. Doesn't look like the locals like it when you refer to their team as the "Blue Balls."
20. Another goal! So much sportsing!
21. They've played Sweet Caroline over the loudspeakers no fewer than 752 times.
22. I just noticed there are cheerleaders. They look bored out of their minds.
23. We win! The Blue Balls have done it! After what I witnessed on the field, I can just imagine the guys are REALLY looking forward to the locker room.
While I didn't understand about 92% of what was going on, I've gotta say I got super into the game. I promise I'll be back. Even though rugby is pretty much the Top Gun of sports.