RWC is over, and if you dont love Rugby there is probably something that gets you fizzing… Netball? Rodeo? Gymnastics? Chess? Debating? Philosophy? Theology?
Now I know that a large number of you will jerk your heads up at my putting the latter two in the same list as sports, but I have my reasons.
Philosophy and theology allow one or two things similar to debates and sports. You pick a side and you stand there, fighting for territory. I was watching university students debate philosophy and realised that the back and forth felt like a game. Internet arguments can evolve into downright blood sport when you add a couple of gods in there.
I love rugby.
Not because it is the best sport in the world or a sport which appeals especially to me.
I love Rugby because of a long line of my family have loved it.
I love rugby because the smell of home brew and the sound of a whistle bring back fond memories of curling up between my grandparents and being jolted awake by them shouting at the ref.
I love rugby because my entire country loves it, the media follows it closely, and the people who impact my life choose to talk about the game at work.
I love rugby because it is a socially acceptable reason to scream and yell and cry and rejoice with my friends and family.
I hung off the side of a balcony last night and let loose with what can only be described as a primal scream when we won the world cup. With that scream I released frustration at needing medication for my depression. I grieved that this will be the last world cup my Nan will see. I howled at the unfairness of my previous job.
And I screamed with joy that I was surrounded by people I loved; all celebrating a win that helped us to all feel the same thing at the same time.
Last night we could hear what felt like the entire city going bat-shit at the same time we were. We gloried in the fact that while we were anxious, so was everyone else.
I felt content knowing that I wasn’t alone, and win or lose, tomorrow I would be happy or disappointed together with others.
So to all those who dislike rugby and the culture it brings with it, I understand.
But you need to understand that it isn’t about the Prize, the cup, or even the game...
It’s about someone else understanding how I feel. About hugging strangers, and being part of something. Superficially it is about the fight/conflict. On a far deeper level it is about being a part of something bigger than ourselves.
And after the year NZ has had, we could use a little unity.