Sunday, October 23, 2011
It's odd to me when I think upon how the New Zealand All Blacks have not won the Rugby World Cup in 24 years. I always think of them as the greatest rugby team ever. The ones we idolize and strive to emulate. They were the baddest, toughest and most fierce team in the world.
Or maybe that's just because I was always envious of their Haka.
As a young captain on Hawaii Loa College's RFC team, I was new to the sport and relied upon my teammates experience playing throughout their youth in the leagues of the Pacific Rim or at boarding school in England.
But nothing was ever as terrifying as playing in the Hawaii leagues. Big, tough, burly Polynesian men racing to cream this chubby Filipino boy. I admit, I was scared shitless half the time. I came from genteel living. This was maniacal, crazed and utter mayhem - like Lord Of The Flies, without the literal killing.
I knew I was in new element when, during one match, a referee made a call that did not quite agree with a rather solid-looking Fijian. He approached the ref and promptly clocked him on the top of his head with a downward swing of his burly arm. The ref crumpled to the ground, unconscious.
I could hear the smack on the head crisply and clearly, half a pitch away.
Needless to say (or maybe I should underscore it), the player was immediately red carded and banned outright from the sport for life. But that ref looked worse for wear and I certainly was a bit more intimidated by these solidly built men from the South Pacific more than ever.
Today, the All Blacks (my All Blacks) take to the field against France in the World Cup Finals. And as much as I like the cuisine, countryside and cities of France, I like my All Blacks better.
You can guess whose jersey I will be wearing today.