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March 29, 2010 | by  | in Opinion |
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So I don’t really like rugby. There, I said it. I find it amusing when the All Blacks lose and the country plunges into a sort of collective depression. There was this one time when my friend made a bet with her then-French boyfriend. I told her, repeatedly, on numerous occasions, like, multiple times that it was a bad idea.

It was the 2007 Rugby World Cup. New Zealand was playing France in the quarter finals. Yeah, yeah, the All Blacks were favourites to win, but we all know they choke. Every single time. The weight of expectation clearly weighs too heavy. And I told my friend this.

It went something along these lines: if New Zealand won, the French boyfriend was to take her out to an expensive French restaurant for dinner. If France won, the reverse applied. I only watched the last 15 minutes of the match. I recall getting out of bed at whatever hideously early hour of the morning with the sole intent of finding out who would be forced to expend $80 on a fancy-pants dinner. Turns out it was my friend’s not-so-lucky day.

I consoled her via text. I was at home on my couch laughing. The boyfriend was jubilant. He was getting free dinner. Oh yeah, and his team won, or something. The lesson: never go to the Black Harp with three French people to watch a Rugby World Cup quarter final between New Zealand and France. Oh, and never bet on the All Blacks to win.

My disaffection for our so-called ‘national game’ stems from my time at a co-ed high school in provincial New Zealand. The First XV was the be all and end all—the pride of the school. Every school assembly would provide the principal an opportunity to applaud the efforts of a relatively small number of boys who ran around a paddock for 80 minutes every weekend chasing a liver-shaped ball. I was one of a few ‘geeks’, you might say, who rolled their eyes and sighed at every mention of the First XV. Sure, they did well. They won stuff. They were good ambassadors for the school. But other people won stuff, achieved stuff and were awesome too.

Rugby does not stand on the high pedestal it once did. The girls in the Salient office are inventing roller derby names. There’s indie kids playing basketball every Wednesday at the Aro Street courts. Debsoc remains one of the most popular clubs at Vic. Is rugby really still our national game?

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Editor for 2010, politics nerd, panda fan and three-time award-winning student journalist.

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