Wales may not be known as one of the great sport nations internationally (although at the moment they’re doing better than the current World Champion Germany at the EURO 2016 Qualifiers) but every autumn and winter with the rugby season in full swing and the Six Nations Rugby Championships looming this changes. Especially during the Six Nations, men and women alike become suddenly very enthusiastic about this sport and almost conscious of their Celtic roots. It feels like the nation has awakened from a long slumber and rediscovers its patriotism and identity. Crowds gather in pubs to watch the rugby matches and Welsh flags are more prominent than usual. The cheers are loud when Wales scores points or wins a game, and they grow even louder if it is against England. It’s almost like the old quarrels have found a new battleground.
So one year I decided to give rugby a chance and went to a game of our local club. I think you can’t get more testosterone on a pitch than with this sport. You can hear the players’ bodies crashing into each other at full speed (without the kind of protection you might know from American football) and piling on top of each other in the mud. All in pursuit of this egg shaped ball. A sport doesn’t get more powerful, energetic and muddy than this. I loved it.
So why I don’t have a season ticket? Because it is a more of a winter sport and I remember my first game clearly. It was the end of January and freezing cold. We had black ice earlier that evening (not talking about ACDC here but the weather condition) and walking to the stadium was more like skidding along without trying to fall. And then I had to sit in this cold for hours (or so it felt), probably looking like I was going on an arctic expedition. So, sorry, not for me. But have the main tournaments on a lovely summer’s day and I’m all up for it.
By the way, we lost that night. Not a good start either.