Watching Rugby at the Pub
“I’ll have a pint of Guinness, please,” I say over the boisterous crowd of people who are quickly filling the pub. Mostly everyone is wearing green to cheer on the lads. Three older men line the bar with their pint of black stuff, a family sits in the corner with their kids squealing every so often, and there is not an empty stool to be seen. People are standing throughout the pub eyes fixated on the three different old school flat-screen TVs. It’s not the nicest place, it kind of smells like the inside of a sweaty ball cap, decor of Irish Whiskey and Guinness spread throughout, but it feels right. Ireland vs. England, Six Nations Rugby Match, like the Champions League of Rugby, or so I’ve been told. The Irish man that sits next to me, having met ten minutes prior, starts to give me the 101 of the game. Nothing bonds two people like sharing a pint in a pub.
Rugby reminds me a lot of Hockey in the sense that it’s men that have an immense amount of respect for each other and the game, but when they are between the lines, they put their heart and soul into every second in the trenches. This sport isn’t for the faint-hearted.
I like the two definitions that Urban Dictionary gives Rugby, describes it way better than I could.
“The only sport where 15 guys are sent out to beat the hell out of the other 15 guys. Team with the least concussions wins. There is a point system but don’t tell them that.”
“It is American football minus everything that soccer fans say sucks about American football. It is also soccer minus everything that American football fans say sucks about soccer. It is a compromise that happens to be better than the alternatives. Rugby keeps it's violence on the field unlike soccer and it doesn't apologize for it like the NFL. Furthermore, it’s culture is all inclusive. Ruggers don't care if you are black, white, tall, short, gay, straight, fat, skinny, or even if you just suck at rugby. If you can take the beating you are welcome to play. There are lots of rules but the only one that matters is if you get ejected for fighting you owe the guy you fought a beer.”
It’s been said that sports and music bring together people more than anything else in the world. Sport culture, combined with Irish pub culture is a special experience. I think one of the best things in life people can have is pride in their team. The men on the field represent far more than just the sport. They represent the people of their country, blurring the lines between socio-economic class, to create a community routing on one team sitting side by side with a pint in their hand.
Now if we could just combine tailgating with the pub culture and stadium experience in Europe - a sporting event experience would be unmatched.