Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The missing piece

Mouth watering home food. Check. Meeting a bunch of friends. Check. Hitting the road for a very enjoyable road trip. Check. Visiting family and having an excellent time. Check. Weddings to attend. Check. Good old fashioned non stop Kerala showers for company. Check. Rest & relaxation. Check. I had all the ingredients for the perfect holiday but there was still something missing that inexorably gnawed away at me that kept it from being the quintessential week long holiday.

That was until I stopped flipping channels when my eyes spotted a repeat telecast of a match from the ongoing rugby world cup. Now I’m no expert on the intricacies of the sport but I have been watching rugby for years and do understand and rather enjoy watching these matches. Actually modern day gladiatorial combat is how I prefer looking at it. Rugby combines the physicality aspect that a MMA fan looks for and the teamwork and skills that make soccer so popular. Plus there is no hiding behind layers of protective padding like cricketers do. I’m a big fan of MMA and soccer and find cricketers to be wusses. Which means I fit the bill when it comes to the requirements for being a rugby fan.

And so over the next few days I was glued to the tele whenever they aired the matches. Unlike cricket, the underdog story is very much alive in rugby as countries that were not in the esteemed top few list challenged the established order and put up a fight in every match that I watched except one. Now I know all 3 readers must be grimacing thinking it is a blood thirsty sport with men built like mountains crashing into each other while chasing a ball that isn’t even round. Misconception at its finest.

Rugby matches can actually be beautiful. Of course you do get the odd scrappy game and the occassional stomach churning tackle but more often than not there is a sublime grace that isn’t usually associated with large men who you would assume have the nimbleness of tractors if you were to see them off a rugby field. Besides which other sport lets you say words like Crouch, Touch, Pause and Engage before two groups of men rush into each other as part of a scrum (as pictured above) ? As an added bonus almost every team had a member with an atrociously long flowing beard. And I like long flowing beards.

Final piece of the perfect holiday puzzle. Check.