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. 🙂