This was a very sad weekend for much of the south Pacific and it is a safe bet that very few Canadians have the slightest idea why that might be. Should you happen to be interested, here it ls:
I will save discussions of the Australian Football League, Rugby League and Cricket League (the three biggest sports leagues here) for when Kate and I actually go to see some games live. As for beach volleyball, it is alive and well here (as you might imagine) and I will write a post about that soon, but not yet.
Today it is all about Rugby Union, or what I have always know as just ‘rugby’ (this is their ‘international hockey’). This weekend, both the Wallabies (Australia) and the All Blacks (New Zealand, seems like every national team, sport and geneder, goes by a different mascot here) were eliminated in the quarter finals of the Rugby World Cup by England (10-12) and France (18-20) respectively. The games were both upsets, with the top two world ranked teams sent packing. Both games had very tight and emotional finishes. On Saturday night a 40 yard kick that would have won it for Australia sailed slightly wide with just minutes left. On Sunday New Zealand (favoured to win the whole tournie) was up 13-0 before demonstrating a textbook-perfect choke act that the country will be recovering from for years. The title 'at least we didn't choke!' was on the back cover of the Brizbane Courier Mail today, this was presumably a way to help ease the pain. There were very few dry eyes among Australian sports fans today, and not one in New Zealand. Next weekend, England will meet France in a semi-final that nobody could have predicted.
The reason I care enough about this stuff to write about it here is that it it has reminded me of just how AWESOME sport is. And although it is very different here on the surface, it’s all the same underneath. People everywhere have a need to feel competitive; to risk losing in exchange for the chance of winning... it's basic Darwin stuff. It doesn't matter whether you're playing or watching, there's nothing quite like a game on the line... especially one that really matters. It gave me chills this weekend.
If you don't care about any of that... here's a picture of Kate on the cool fountain-thingy we found on the campus of Bond University. Bond is big fancy private school on the Gold Coast with a pretty sick campus (and some beach courts, we were there for a little tournie - 1,2 barbecue - if you don't know what that means, don't worry). We are definitely having fun here.
Let me finish with some general education: a few months ago I learned that this and this are the two top sports in Ireland, bigger even than soccer. You may not have ever heard of either of them.