Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Lions Tour


Longtime readers of the Operation Highlander blog will remember that in November, Gus and I went to a rugby game in Edinburgh. Rugby is a game that's far more interesting than soccer/"football", which in turn is almost as boring as War and Society in Renaissance Europe 1450-1620 by J.R. Hale - almost. A few weeks ago, my buddy CN Queequeg invited me to join him and a buddy of his - whom I'd actually had a bit of a row with during a televised rugby match earlier in the year - to watch the rugger at a local pub. What does that entail? Some yelling, some chatter, some food, and plenty of pints.

The British & Irish Lions are a team of the best players from England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Every twelve years, they tour Australia. We've been at the Illicit Still for the last three Saturdays, and the Lions have won every match that we've watched - although the 22 June match against the Qantas Wallabies of Brisbane involved great play by the Lions in the first half, and just plain sloppiness in the second, resulting in a narrow 23 to 21 victory for the Lions. In fact, the game came down to an eleventh hour penalty kick by Wallaby Kurtley Beale, and the Lions only won because he missed the kick. (Of course, the Lions had already been denied a thrilling goal when the scoring player - Sam Warburton, if I remember correctly - was ruled to have touched the boundary line before getting the ball across the line.) Thus far, the Lions have only lost one match during the tour despite a concerted effort by the various Australian teams.

In all honesty, the whole thing has been a bit odd. I haven't traditionally enjoyed sports, but I rediscovered baseball in 2006 when a friend dragged me to a minor league game in California, and I discovered hockey when I was living on the East Coast. I've been interested in rugby for a few years now, and it's been a lot of fun to enjoy it down at the pub with the lads. My uncle is a part-time sportscaster, so he in particular has found it entertaining to watch me learn to enjoy sports of any kind - even though I still think that the two sports he announces for, basketball and football, are really lame. I guess there's no accounting for taste, though.

I also walked to a rugby shop on George Street, a few blocks from the Gurkha Kitchen and that first George VI post box, in an attempt to get a Lions jersey, but they'd closed ten minutes before, so I'll have to try again another day. Oh, and by the way, the folks on the ship in that commercial up top? Those are the Lions and their management staff! Here is a "making of" clip.


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