You know... with competitive sports, we often say "May the Best Man Win" ... but what we really mean is "May Our Guy Win!" Well that was the atmosphere here at Harlaxton Manor tonight - Saturday, October 20, 2007. It was the evening of the Rugby World Cup match - and it was England vs. South Africa.
I won't lie - I'm brand new to the sport of Rugby. I've seen probably twenty minutes of a random game (Scotland vs. someone...) and I don't understand the rules. All I know is that the game involves a lot of really tough guys playing a really tough sport.
Despite this lack of awareness, though, I will admit: it's very easy to get caught up in the commotion of it all. Let's say you're from State X in the US, and you find out that State X's American Football team is in the Superbowl... Of course you're going to be a little excited, and of course you're going to want your state's team to win!
This is completely different. Technically, I'm an American - but tonight, I was English. Tonight I rooted for the "home" team to win the World Cup. Tonight I donned my blue and red jersey (yes, I have Rugby apparel), and I cheered our points and boo'd the other teams'. I was there, alongside every Englishman in the World, cheering on Jonny Wilkinson and his team. It would be like... MacGuyver coming up against the ultimate bad guy, or someone equally iconic (Captain America? The X-Men? Stephen Colbert?) competing against the final boss. It was electric...
Anyway, the World Cup. So England has managed to make a few really awesome comebacks in the last few games. We defeated the French team in the semifinals last weekend (when I was in North Bristol - I remember exactly where I was at the time...) and now we were in the World Cup vs. South Africa.
I'll spare you a lot of the mid-game details (mostly because all I see when I watch the game are the ridiculously attractive men running back and forth trying to score) - but in the end, England lost. We were crushed, in fact. There were no smiles on our faces (or Jonny Wilkinson's!) and it felt as if we had just lost some World War or something... that we were about the be subjected to domination under the auspices of a South African dictator... I really don't know if I'm explaining it well, all I know is how I feel. And I feel as if I've been trampled on.
Tonight, "we" suffered a crushing defeat... But never fear! The Rugby season is hardly over! There are other tournaments, other series and other matches that England (and Jonny Wilkinson -- if you haven't figured it out yet - he's the attractive star ;-D) will compete in.
I will continue to wear my England jerseys, and I will continue to support the "home" team - even long after I have returned to the States. I have found a sport I think I can latch onto ;)
Matt, do you get Rugby on your HD Sports channels?