Walk into a sports bar in Sweden and ask if they have rugby. The barman will tell you to wait a minute while he checks with the chef.
The Uppsala Rugby Football Club showed the final at their clubhouse come English pub. I made the effort to wake up at 8am, feed myself, put on a green jersey and walk the 700m to their premises. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to watch any of the previous matches, as I was just too preoccupied with not giving a shit. Thirty grown men chasing an ostrich egg around a football pitch has never evoked emotions or caused me to groan like a sexually frustrated water buffalo, dragging its member through a thorn bush. Experts on the topic have informed me that only real men watch rugby.
However, the antelope made it to the finals against a team of south-Pacific islanders wearing white. So I went, because that’s what real men do, and I feel a desperate need to be accepted into this culture of real-mannery. I sat on my arse for eighty minutes, staring at a projector screen, while men in Japan had an aggressive orgy in an open field. I could feel the testosterone flowing through my veins!
The game is easy to follow and the rules are simple. The man who catches the egg, gets cuddles. These poor chaps have been away from home for so long that they put life and limb on the line, for the sake of some masculine affection.
Amongst the audience in the clubhouse were people from all over the world. Their origins often identifiable by jerseys, accents or choice of shitty English ale. One flamboyant spectator could obviously sense that the entire room was curious as to his heritage. After banging on the ceiling beams and shouting “Die Bokke gaan julle naai!” for the fourteenth time, we still were not quite certain which team he was supporting. Sensing our confusion and common need for an answer to the burning question of his birthplace, the gentleman was considerate enough to drop subtle hints, “Suid Afrika!” Allowing us to figure it out ourselves, saving us the embarrassment of having to ask and ensuring a good night’s sleep.