A Post About Rugby (No, Really)

If you had told me two weeks ago I would be writing a blog post about rugby I would have told you you were mad. I am not a ruby fan. I never watch it. I know the ball is oval, that you need to score a try to earn points and that you can earn more points by kicking a goal. I know that the big huddle of men on the field is called a scrum. But that’s it. Up until yesterday, I didn’t even know that the first five eight is a position, not the first man who’s over 5’8. 🙂

This is unheard of for a NZ’er. Especially during the World Cup. What world cup you ask? Well, the Rugby World Cup. It’s kind of a big deal here because we’ve been hosting it (no, not me personally though I could use the $100 million or so revenue that’s apparently been generated). Plus the fact that we are a really tiny country and rugby is just about the only team sport we can compete on the world stage and stand a good chance of actually winning. Which we did on Sunday night.

Now, as I said, I never watch rugby but it was difficult to get away from the final game since we were in it and we were supposed to walk all over poor, old France. In actual fact, France nearly walked all over us. I could not watch the game. Jackie, who actively dislikes rugby, could not watch it because I was too damn nervous. In fact, it was ridiculous how invested I was in this game. I played computer games while trying to ignore the howls from the living room, my little heart leaping every time there was a cheer.

What’s this got to do with writing? Hang on, I’m getting there. Anyway, we finally won. By one point. And I was watching the commentary afterwards and hearing what they were saying and thinking, wow, this game is a little like writing for publication. The same nervousness (as you wait on a submission), the same grim determination to hang on when everything looks like another big rejection, the same sense of helplessness when the other team score….
And then the commentary started talking about this one, particular All Black. Two weeks earlier, Stephen Donald had been watching the cup on TV, having a beer and doing a spot of whitebaiting (fish, if you don’t know what whitebait are). He wasn’t in the Cup squad and had been told pretty firmly he wouldn’t be either. And yet two weeks before the big final, due to injuries concerning other players, he got a couple of calls on his mobile – which he didn’t answer because he was too busy with his whitebait. Eventually when he did, the news was that he had been called up onto the squad. Then on the night, after more injuries, and he was called onto the field. Then he kicked the goal that earned us the Cup. From zero to hero in two weeks.

The commentary afterwards talked a lot about Stephen Donald. About how, when you think it’s all over, when the country has forgotten you, opportunities can come along and you can suddenly find yourself right in the middle of it again. That these opportunities come when you least expect them to. Apparently sport is full of these moments, but, from what I hear from other writers, writing is like this too. That right when you least expect it, when you’ve got your hundredth rejection, something comes round the corner that you never thought would happen.

I hope that’s the case. Because right now, I’m feeling a little like Stephen Donald. I’m sitting on my couch with my beer (no whitebait though cos I hate fish. Okay and replace the beer with a martini, cos I don’t like that either!). I’m watching the Cup on telly and cheering everyone else on, wishing I was there too and wondering if I’ve missed my chance. I hope not cos unlike Stephen Donald, I have been training really, really hard. And one thing’s for certain – if the call ever comes, I won’t be too busy fishing to answer it. 🙂

15 thoughts on “A Post About Rugby (No, Really)”

  1. I hope the call does come for you soon – there is nothing like it.

    Then you’ll be awake for days – too much adrenalin to sleep.

  2. Excellent post Jackie. I watched the game from Southampton,UK and learnt the meaning of nervous energy, unable to sit down in that extremely tense last 10 mins. (i always get like that in the big union and league games.) I also get like that when I open my email to see a publishers reply. I too am waiting for my Stephen Donald/Piri Weepu moment. Good luck to us both. Kia kaha. x m

  3. Bron – lol! I hope so too (though not about the not sleeping part. I already find sleeping hard!).

    Mel – Thanks Mel. Yes, I couldn’t believe how nervous I was, especially I don’t watch rugby at all. Must have been infected by the mood of the country. Not sure I want Piri Weepu moment considering the three kicks he missed!
    But lets hope we get the Stephen Donald moment eh? Fingers crossed. Kia kaha back to you.

  4. I didn’t watch the game, but I really enjoyed your post. There is such a sense of anticipation, nervous tension, during big sport matches. I’m a fan of watching swimming, particularly when the Olympics is on, due to that Come-on-you-can-do-it hype. You tied it in wonderfully with writing. I keep coming back to your blog because you always give me the pep talk I need! Keep going. If I don’t, I’ll never know what I could have become. And you’ll get that call, Jackie. And no amount of video games will stop you from answering it!

  5. Firstly Jackie – you know FAR more about rugby than I do!!!

    Secondly – I had chills reading Stephen Donald’s story, which I hadn’t heard yet, so thanks for sharing.

    I guess this also shows that dreams coming true really are a combo of both hard work, talent AND luck! There was an element of luck in this hero status coming true for him and there’s also an element of luck in the publishing game. But just like if you keep playing Lotto with the same numbers, one day they are likely to come up… I think you get the message.

    You rock and you will get there! xox

  6. Love your take on it, Jackie! (psst, i’m not a rugby fan either *ducks from stray rugby balls aimed at head*!)
    Keep kicking those goals, i mean submitting and you will get there!

  7. loved this. It sums up EXACTLY. how I feel when I get ‘the’ email. will it wont it…
    and as for Stephen/Piri… whew.(i love rugby, know hardly anything about it, get weepy when we sing Flower of Scotland, chills when you do the haka and as for those thighs………)
    and nail biting moments-Jonny Wilkinson when England won?
    I was in the Ik (Chilly Scotland) and was watching with up to date texts, etc form kids as well, both who have lived in NZ. so we were all blacking like mad. way to go!

  8. Madeline – Oh yes, the Olympics is great eh? Ah the swimmers… Such fabulous physiques…ahem… I’m a fan of the underdog, whoever’s losing, I’ll be supporting them. 🙂 Great that the post gave you some pep. Can I have some when you’ve finished? Lol!

    Rach – it IS an awesome story isn’t it? I just totally identified with it – who can’t I guess. And yeah, though I hope the odds on getting published aren’t as bad as the odds on winning Lotto. Did you know that if you bought one lotto ticket every day for fifty million years, you’d be guaranteed of winning twice?? Hehe. Thanks my lovie. You rock also.

    Alexa – thanks! Though I need some more goal kicking opportunities.

    Kerrin – hehe. I know, it’s akin to sacrilege huh? Yep, hopefully I’ll do better than Weepu with the kicking!

  9. I LOVE this post, Jackie. LOVE it.

    It also makes me think about what different paths people take. And yet, Stephen got himself to the world cup, and he was an even bigger hero, an even bigger inspiration because of the path he ended up on.

    This post makes me feel encouraged. 😀 Brilliant.

  10. My DH is a rugby fanatic – and I must profess a liking for the fit bodies – ehh I mean the game too. Phew it was a close match tho’. NZ deserved to win as France had been poor up until then. I live in Wales and our Welsh boys put up a fantastic match against the French – and with only 14 men. Duh! Now I’m sounding boring – sorry! Anyhoo – I’m with all the others – you WILL be pubbed soon. Promise. Caroline x p.s my word verification is “bless” – how cool is that!

  11. I don’t understand Rugby at all, but your post makes complete sense. Sometimes you get knocked out in the rounds, other times you get further along towards winning. And then one day, your hard work, talent and a dash of good luck come together and you win.

    You’ll win Jackie. You have the talent and you’ve worked hard – you just need that little magical luck to get you there.

    x

  12. Aimee – it needs to come over here cos I haven’t had any for a while. 🙂

    Jo – thank you m’dear. Yep, I do. And from the sounds of those chapters of yours, I reckon your luck is just around the corner!

Comments are closed.