On Saturday 16th November I attended my first live sports game. It was a Killik Cup rugby match played at Twickenham and while the day was cold the players were on fire, making for a close match between Barbarians and Fiji.
The Barbarians team is made up of members from different clubs. They all sport the same black and white striped uniform, but they wear their club socks. Still excited from the Rugby World Cup, it was interesting to see faces from South Africa in the Barbarians team. Makazole Mapimpi who scored a try for South Africa in the World Cup finals scored another at Twickenham, bringing the scores between Fiji and Barbarians close but not close enough.
Fiji held on to their slight lead from the end of the first half of the game. By this time I had decided that live sport might not be for me without the help of more alcohol. As much as I enjoyed the game and my company, hearing about the lives of the men behind me was not exactly what I paid for. Nonetheless, it is what I was forced to listen to. It’s too bad one of the gents lost £100 on a bet that Barbarians would win!
However, being in a lively and (somewhat) engaged crowd was a great experience. The chants of ‘beast’ echoing through the stands every time Tendai Mtawarira touched the ball, and the intense 5-minute Mexican-wave kept me in just enough good humour to enjoy my time without getting angry at the chatty men sat behind us.
Fiji were set for a solid win when John Dyer scored a sudden skilful try, bringing their lead to 33-17. Many subs were called on and among the players called off were Mtawarira, who left the pitch to the sound of ‘Beast!’ reverberating through the stands as a farewell.
The game finished with the scores at 31-33 to Fiji.