. . . and other notes on the Wellington Sevens Tourny.
As I sat outside the front gate taking pictures of everyone coming in to watch on Saturday, there was a looped recording playing over the loudspeakers talking about things that were permitted and not permitted in the stadium. I toned it out for a bit, but after a few loops I started paying attention.
Funniest offical announcement I may have ever heard. Here are some excerpts:
“Vehicle boot (trunk) parties are not permitted on the grounds. Neither are naked parties.”
“You may be prohibited entry if you are mashed, smashed or generally off your face on alcohol or illicit drugs.” (I like the ‘may’ part of that, in addition to the language).
“Banned items include — alcohol, flasks, beverages other than water, witchcraft paraphanalia, picnic baskets, large bags. . . especially if they contain illicit drugs, water pistols or anything that looks dangerous. If you’ve got anything dodgy, do yourself a favor and dump it before we catch you.”
“Throwing objects along with drunk and obnoxious fans can be really, really annoying. . . and might just get you evicted.”
The entire weekend has a sense of humor.
I ended up watching a lot of the event on television in a couple local pubs. I couldn’t get tickets, since they were sold out well in advance, but it is a sport that does well on television anyway. A couple of notes from watching on TV.
The TV announcers and sideline reporters were also dressed in costume. The sideline announcers were dressed as a gladiator, a geisha, and a Catholic Cardinal one day. The next day, one of the guys was in a Cinderella outfit.
Between the quick games, the announcers would go over the current betting lines on upcoming games and the betting odds of certain teams to win the entire tournament. Coming from the U.S., I found this particularly amusing (and great). At one point, one of the announcers said to a sideline reporter, “Well I put $50 down on Fiji this morning minus 8 points in this game. What do you think about that wager?”
How little support does the U.S. team get back home? Our team’s official main sponsor, right across the front of our jerseys: Emirates Airlines. The official airline of the United Arab Emirates. We couldn’t even get a U.S. company to sponsor our team. Even Kenyan Airlines was willing to sponsor the Kenyan team (which performed a lot better than we did).
It is not often that I don’t recognize a country. I am pretty good with geography, but one of the participants got me in this event: Niue. Actually, now that I look it up, “Though self governing, Niue is in free association with New Zealand, and thus lacks full sovereignty.” Whew. Perhaps that doesn’t count as non-knowledge for me. . . at least on this particular score.
Speaking of Nuie, one match was Nuie verses Wales (another non-country, now that I think about it). Has there ever been an international match of any two “countries” with less total population? Nuie = 2,000 people. That is not a misprint. 2,000. There were 10-11 people on the team, including substitutes. Plus some coaches and trainers and such. . . and fans. I think they might have just shut the country down for this weekend — there was a pretty good chance that 10% of an entire country’s population was in attendance at this event. Population of Wales = under 3 million. Well, now that I look it up, I didn’t think Wales had that many people.
At one point, as the television cameras panned through the hard-partying crowd, the one annoucer proclaimed: “There are gunna be some headaches in the morning.”
So, of course you want to know how the mighty USA team did, I’m sure. On the second day of the tournament, they have a series of elimination games for all the teams, based on how they did on day one. In the end, they award four trophys. The Cup goes to the winner of the whole thing. The Plate goes to the winnner of the next bracket. The Bowl is below that and the Shield is basically the best of the losers’ bracket.
We won the Shield — USA (population 300 million) over Scotland (population 5 million) 19-12 in the Semi-Finals and then USA just getting by Tongo (population 120,000) 17-14 in the Finals.
here is the link to my other blog on this wild weekend.
|From Wellington Sevens|
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