I have an uneasy and somewhat resentful relationship with rugby - the result of too many cold and boring Saturdays spent feeling obliged to watch my teenage boyfriend play when I would rather have been messing about with horses all day with my friend Suzanne (I did, eventually, come to my senses), too many after-match functions spent being ignored, too many evenings focused on rugby mates (not mine) one of whom once asked me the question "Pinkies or brownies?" to which I, years later, thought of answering with "One of each" and have been kicking myself ever since. Also, so much coverage in the news, usually so boring... but right now the All Blacks are in Chicago, preparing to play the USA Eagles tomorrow.
Chicago! Currently my FAVOURITE city, still vivid in my memory - I was there, for the second time this year, just over a week ago , and it's full of good stuff. Because of that, I'm - unprecedentedly - watching the sports news on TV and reading the sports section of the newspaper, just so I can catch glimpses of Trump Tower, or read references to Soldier Field, and remember being there SO RECENTLY. This is a first, people!
I won't, of course, watch the game tomorrow. No point. It'll be a massacre. That's actually what it passed through my mind to blurt out to the businessman innocuously standing inside the bus shelter on Michigan Ave on my last morning in the city as I whisked past, eyeing up the button on its wall. I was THIS CLOSE to nipping inside, pressing it to trigger the recorded haka, and then delivering my prediction: "It's going to be a massacre!"
But then I remembered who I am, and guessed who he was [innocuous salaryman, focused on, probably, some computery or personal problem and very far from realising he was standing next to a mid-haka photo of Richie McCaw and Dan - um, not Parker... Carter! (thanks, Google)] and the moment passed with no connection. That's ok by me. It's only rugby, after all.