The Un-Ascot

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago we donned some finer threads and headed out in (some) style to catch some horse racing at Ascot. Well, this afternoon, we again had another sport adventure, but this time it was in sweats, jeans and fleeces, and it wasn't to watch some horses run around; instead, it was to watch some rather large men slobber-knock one another during attempts of getting an oblong-shaped ball across a line and down to the ground.

That's right... we went to our first rugby match. (And just in case there are any rugby aficionados reading this, it was a rugby union game.)

Luckily for us, there's a top-tier professional rugby team right here in Twickenham, so catching today's match was pretty easy. It just so happened that today's game was not a traditional league game between the local team (the Harlequins) and one of its league rivals; instead, it was against a team from Italy as part of an international "cup" competition. (Because of the lack of rival team and fans, I wonder if the "energy" in the stadium was a little less than normal for a "Quins" home game. The stadium seats about 14,800 and there were just over 9,000 in attendance.)

I've been watching some rugby on TV since I've been here, and enough of a grasp of the rules to go and see a game live and kinda understand what's going on (unlike cricket... I've seen that a couple times on TV and have no idea what that game's about.) And gaining a basic grasp is pretty easy: the guy with the ball gets tackled, sometimes hard. Sometimes he passed the ball before being tackled; and if he does pass it, it should be a lateral. (I've come to learn that there's more to it than that -- like there are rules that apply to the tackler and tacklee once the tackle is complete -- but honestly, not much more.)

I won't regale you with game highlights 'cause frankly I don't know enough about the players to do so (that, and I can't suspect there actually is a rugby aficionado reading this.) I can report that one of the Quins had a hat trick, and that the Quins put an absolute thumping on their Italian counterparts, winning 55-17. I can also report that it was fun enough for the 3 of us to consider going see another match sometime, which I think is a great outcome, too.

(Pictures: The Twickenham Stoop (stadium); some rugby fans.)

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