When the ground shakes, your town falls to bits. So does your sports arena. So in Christchurch their lovely, modern stadium is off-limits. Still there, still carrying sponsors logo, but no one is allowed in. Tragic.
In these parts rugby is particularly important. (More important than to something other people might rank highly. Religion for example.) Then the loss of your playing field is somehow even more distressing.
So we are very happy to get tickets – Cheers Stuart! – for the Christchurch Crusaders first home game for 22 months.
Packed to the rafters in the new “temporary” stadium – built in record time – waving Crusaders flags we ‘welcome’ the Free State Cheetahs on to the pitch. Says the commentator dryly “give thum the rispect they deserve. They’ve had a blaaady long fl-oi-t.” We silently wave our flags as the South Africans run out.
Of course, when the Crusaders run out its utter pandamoneum. Unusually so say our hosts. Rugby is not to be supported frivolously. Not here. (Matches are oft spectated in analytical, chin rubbing fashion and it is a sombre occasion if the home team loses.) On this occasion the organisers have gone all out with mascots, those flame-throwing geysers when a try is scored, Crusader clothed knights on horseback charging round pre-show and – WTF? – cheerleaders.
Happily the Crusaders win and the capacity crowd go home happy.
Small Beers are buzzing from the experience.
Note to self: when introducing offspring to new sports/activities pick a good'un.