338. “Irish Sangria” And More Rugby Trivia Than I Could Ever Need

After a wee wander round the Castillo beachfront, and the usual extremely late Spanish dinner, I got back to my hotel room fairly late. I had to be out of there at 5am, so I thought I’d best go double check I could actually check out at that time. It turned out reception was closed and wouldn’t be open until 10am the next day, but the bar was open, so I popped in to see what I should do.

At the bar, I was met with a rather bored Irish bartender who had spent the day dealing with a lot of difficult Italians who pretended not to speak English as he repeatedly informed them the bar was not, in fact, a BYO establishment. By gosh was he excited to find a fellow speaker of the mother tongue! Either that or he was a serious Chatty Cathy. Whilst trying to work out where to put my key in the morning, he insisted I try his latest cocktail innovation – “Irish Sangria.” Well I can definitely tell you that Sangria, banana liquer and whiskey are not going to be winning any awards any time soon, but it was a bit of a laugh and who am I to say no to free cocktails? Despite fiddling with the proportions according to my feedback it didn’t really get any better unfortunately, but it was a bit of a laugh whilst I maxed out my free wifi time.

Just as I was about to leave, one of the regulars came in, an old, alcoholic Welshman named Bruce, who turned out to be a very accomplished conversation trapper. The bartender mentioned I was from New Zealand and he was off out of the starting gates on the biggest rant about rugby and the All Blacks. I mean I know we all love the All Blacks in NZ, but by God I could not be less interested in hearing a play by play of the All Blacks vs Wales on the 31st of October 1972. Just as I’d got past politely listening and was ready to interject and make my departure, he begun to recite a poem about the game! It was actually quite amusing, and I was amazed that he knew this poem about the one time Wales beat the mighty All Blacks by heart. Though he was of the opinion he could only recite the poem whilst under the influence (I think that’s one of those things alcoholics say to make everyone laugh so they can justify their drinking), I got him to say it a second time so I could write it down because it was acutally quite entertaining. Or maybe it was just the Irish Sangria.

“It was a cold and windy day and a week that had seen some rain
When all roads lead to Stradey park with the all blacks there again.
They came down from the valleys they came from far and wide,
They were 20,000 in that ground and me and I outside.

Shops were closed like Sunday and the morn was cold and still
And those who chose who stay away were either dead or ill.
But those who went to Stradey will remember till they die.
How New Zealand were defeated and how the pubs ran dry.

For the beer flowed at Stradey , pumped down from Felinfoel,
And the hands that held the glasses high were strong from steal and coal.
And the air was filled with singing and I saw a grown man cry.
Not because we had won the game, but because the pub’s run dry.

Then dawned the morning after, on empty factories.
For we were still at Stradey, bloodshot absentees.
But we all had doctors papers and they all read just the same.
We all had scarlet fever, and we’d caught it at the game.

And when I’m old and my hair turns grey, and they put me in a chair,
I can tell my Grandchildren, that their Datcu was there.”

9-3 By Max Boyce, as recited by Bruce the drunk Welshman in Fuerteventura.

When I looked up from my computer after recording it, the bartender and the chef were dancing the YMCA on the bar. Supposedly they used to work at a bar where if YMCA came on all bartenders had to drop everything and climb up on the bar and do the dance. That was a good signal it was time for bed!
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157. American Football

I really wasn’t expecting it, but my first ever american football watching experience was in Denmark of all plcaes! My host brother is really in to his American Football, so we went to watch one of his games. He plays for the ‘Horsens Stallions’ with a number of his schoolmates, the team ranging in age from 16-19. With that age group and probably that fact that it is a Danish team, they were a lot smaller than the players you see on TV in the States! Being from a fiercly proud rugby nation (go the All Blacks) it was pretty much impossible for me not to make continual comparisons to a game of rugby.

First, and most notable, is all the gear they wear. To me it really seems superfluous and kindof makes me laugh. The ref seems to stop them all the minute they get close as well, so it reallymakes me feel like they are being pussies! Second, with all their plastic armour and helmets, throughout the whole game you hear this continual clackity clack of plastic hitting plastic! Third, in a game of rugby you can’t throw the ball forward, so players push ahead in a line as much as they can whilst passing the ball backwards. In american football, while I’m sure there are tactics and patterns and whatnot, to a rugby watchign newby like me, they seem to just scatter in every possible direction and it looks all very chaotic.

Finally, probably due to their helmets and armour, and I assume no rules prohibiting who you can tackle, they seem to just tackle/headbutt/knock down any old person, as they wish. Being schoolboys half the time it seemed that were just doing it for the hell of it too.

I’m sure it is tactical in many ways, but to me it just seemed like a whole bunch of boys running off in opposite directions and headbutting eachother. I also still maintain they need to harden up and get rid of their armour. Sorry America, but I’m still a rugby girl.

128. Teaching and Learning National Sports

It all started whilst watching a game of Handball. A huge deal in Denmark, and I made a casual comment that it reminds me of Netball, the sport I play in New Zealand. The conversation then turned to discussing the rules with my host mum, with a view to finding out whether it would be easy to teach one of the kid’s classes at school, i.e. explain the rules to a bunch of Danish ten year olds. The conclusion was no, not really. Netball is all about sticking to the myriad rules. A fast paced game, the ball changes hands between teams very quickly as players are routinely caught out on breaking the rules. Pretty tricky to explain with my lack of Danish and their lack of English we decided!

So next we were onto the possibility of teaching them Back Yard Cricket. Back yard cricket rules are simple, fun and fast paced. Unlike the full game, which bizarrely enough can go on for 5 days. Snore. Whilst looking up videos to demonstrate, I came across “that” cricket game. The most famous game in NZ history. That every kiwi knows about, even if, like me, they still don’t understand the rules because every time a kind gentleman takes it upon himself to explain them, I can’t help but zone out. Sorry Cricket fans. It’s a lost cause. Nonetheless I am still just as offended as any kiwi by this horrible display of bad sportsmanship! And probably because the offence was committed by an Australian.

Whilst sharing this important historical event, and all the drama surrounding other such sport related events in Kiwi history, like the Springbok Tour (1981 was obviously a contentious year in NZ sport), we were interrupted by a certain 10 year old’s crusade to convince the family to get a pet rabbit. (It reminded me of when my younger sister wanted a pet rabbit and my father made her fill out an application form and despite a very valiant effort, he couldn’t keep a straight face while she very seriously filled it out, attempting to prove that mum and dad wouldn’t wind up looking after it. Too funny). This lead to MY education on what is obviously Denmark’s most important sport: Bunny Show Jumping.

Apparently I caused a wee spot of offence by laughing through the entire video.