There was more rugby tonight. I tell ya’, this Rugby World Cup is huge! Tonight was England vs. France to determine who goes to the championship. My flat-mates and a few others decided to go to The Sports Cafe (that was really the name of the place) to watch the game/match because it’s really big and there are a ton of TVs. The place is 4 levels with flat screens and projection screens EVERYWHERE. I mean, where I stood, just looking forward I saw 3 TVs clearly. But with the number of people who showed up to watch, I was glad to have so many viewing options (though no seating options as all the seats were taken long before we arrived at 7:30ish). The place was absolutely packed with English and French folks…and the trash-talking began as soon as they showed the first team on the screens! When they showed someone in blue, the French folks cheered “allez les bleu” and the English folks boo-ed! I straddled the fence, standing on a dividing line between a gang of English folk on my left, and faithful French supporters to my right and behind me.
Let me try to explain how big this RWC is. Hmmm…imagine that NCAA March Madness is only every 4 years and instead of college teams playing against one another, the best players from each of the 50 states play in teams comprised of other great players from their state. So it’s no longer a matter of rooting for the team that’s in your city, you root for the team of men who potentially came from exactly where you’re from. Now, imagine this for countries rather than states. Incredible.
It’s a great time to be in Europe! The national pride is crazy. At the beginning of the game when the national anthems were played, it was deafening. EVERYBODY SANG!! I felt like I was in a movie. First was “God Save the Queen”
God save our gracious Queen,
Long live our noble Queen,
God save the Queen:
Send her victorious,
Happy and glorious,
Long to reign over us:
God save the Queen.
Then was, “La Marseillaise”
Allons, enfants de la Patrie,
Le jour de gloire est arrive,
Contre nous de la tyrannie
L’etendard sanglant est leve,
L’etendard sanglant est leve.
Entendez-vous, dans le campagnes,
Mugir ces feroces soldats?
Ils viennent jusque dans no bras,
Egorger nos fils, nos compagnes.
Aux armes, citoyens! Formez vos bataillons! Marchons! Marchons!
Qu’un sang impur abreuve nos sillons!
Apparently these 2 teams played in August. I dunno…But just imagine hundreds of drunken (and still drinking) men shouting these songs out at the top of their lungs. HILARIOUS!!
It was a good game. France was winning until about the 74 minute mark when Johnny Wilkinson kicked the goal that gave England the lead. Then he kicked another to solidify the win, although he did miss some key kicks early. England won. Poor Isabelle and Yvonne got drenched in beer when the final whistle for the game was blown. People forgot they were holding pints and threw their arms up, cheering and hugging, dousing bystanders with lager and ale. It’s Argentina vs. South Africa tomorrow to determine who will go against England next Saturday for the final RWC 2007 game, to be played next Saturday night! I’ll be in Scotland (yippee!!), but I’m sure we’ll be able to find a pub there. What will I do without this world cup? My new goal (unrelated to school) is to make it to the RWC 2011, wherever it will be. I guarantee it!
A few more things…
They call the French rugby player named Sebastian Chabal “The Beast”! I wonder why…
English folks sing “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” during and after rugby games. No English person could give me a real explanation of why. The reasons I found on the net don’t really make me feel better about them singing it for a game.