I don't normally talk about rugby. I think I must be a changeling. Apparently all true New Zealanders are rugby crazy. However I felt driven to report on events of the past week or so. It started with The Match. The final of the Super 14 series which is competed for by 14 teams from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Our local team, the Crusaders, were finalists in a home game against the Wellington team, the Hurricanes. Predictably, fans queued overnight for tickets, and other fans tried to log onto the internet, and all the tickets were sold out within about fifty minutes. And then the night of the game arrived, and all the fans who had queued in the cold for tickets, and those who had managed to get onto the web site, and those who had paid large amounts to scalpers, sat in the fog where they couldn't actually see from one end of the field to the other.
Those who were lucky were at the right end of the field to see the winning try. Presumably they had a whole bunch of referees since none of them could see the whole field.
The local team won - that's what matters, right? Predictably again, all the rugby players and half the spectators then headed into various bars and nightclubs and proceeded to get drunk. And one non-player in a bar somewhere tripped over a player's feet. (A player from the losing team, but nevertheless an All Black i.e. a NZ representative). So the All Black, lets call him Chris, punched the guy - as you do, if your feet get in someone's way, and you are loaded with beer and testosterone. Then All Black number two, lets call him Tana, picks up a nearby handbag and clobbers Chris with it. And Chris bursts into tears. The purse had a cellphone in it, which got broken. So, the Hurricanes management apologised to the purse owner, and replaced her cellphone, and Chris got fined $3000 by the team management, which might seem a lot but given the amount the All Blacks earn, and that he wasn't actually suspended at all, is more like a slap on the wrist with a wet bus ticket. It would have ended there except that someone offered to buy the purse. As he was planning to sell it on Trade Me (the New Zealand equivalent of e-Bay), the owner decided to decline his offer and put it on Trade Me herself. Last night bids had reached $7000 for a $25 purse and broken cellphone. This morning it was reported it had sold for over $100,000. Girls will be queuing up to have All Blacks break their cell phones.
And speaking of rugby, plans for our firm's midwinter dinner have been made. They are holding it in the "Jack Ruby room" of a local cafe. The venue was apparently chosen because it has a big screen TV. There is a game that night. Fortunately it is part of the tri-nations series (NZ, Australia, and South Africa again) and is being held in Australia. Due to the time difference, it won't be screened till 10 p.m. With luck I can eat and get out before then. The office girl who typed up the invitations, being about thirteen years old and more interested in hair extensions and eyebrow waxing than history, copied the venue as the "Jack Rugby Room". I guess I am showing my age. I seemed to be the only person there who had heard of Jack Ruby. Aaargh!