So, here we go again. I watched Game 1 of State of Origin, ’11, and really enjoyed it. Our Bible study went overtime, the night of the 2nd game, and we missed all but the last two minutes and after show stuff. So, I knew that the New South Wales Blues won the second game. And so, we were setting up for a big-time decider game for #3, with it having been about six weeks (I think that’s right) since I saw my first game of rugby league football. Ever. But hey, if you’re going to start watching rugby league, what better way to start than State of Origin… hey? : )
Earlier in the day, I had no set plans for anywhere to watch the game, but was hoping to watch it with a bigger group this time. In the end, I found a house of friends to watch with, and there were a LOT of people there. And it was quite loud, so it was a good thing I had asked all my questions during Game 1, because nobody would’ve been able to hear me during this one. I was, of course, cheering (ooh, caught myself, I almost used a different word there) for the Maroons. Well, cheering in my head, because I’ve never been one for yelling at the TV during sports. Matter of fact, my friends will know that, generally, I hate watching sports on television. I’d much rather play them. And if you’ve ever played a game of Ultimate with my family and I, you know how loud we get.
Anyway… game started, and once more, I’m hooked. You have to pay close attention to keep up, because something is always happening! And the players are amazing! With no helmets or obvious extra padding, they clobber each other again and again and again. And then get up again. I am absolutely in awe of these men. And every time someone scores a try (is that how you say it?), which is what they call a goal, then that team gets a chance to score another two points with a conversion kick. Johnathan Thurston, the halfback for the Queensland Maroons is phenomenal, as far as I can tell, and what do I actually know? What I do know is that he never missed a conversion kick, as well as putting in some awesome plays during the rest of the game.
I’m sorry, Maroon fans, you’ll have to forgive me if I don’t comment on all your star players. I did get the hang of several of their last names, and I did know who Darren Lockyer is, coming into this. As the captain of the winning team, and finishing out his career with a 6th straight win at State of Origin, I know he’s had an amazing career. But I can’t do him justice, knowing as little as I do, so I’m not going to try.
It was Thurston who caught my attention, with his amazing kicking skills, and that awful injury that took him off the field. There were enough instant replays of him injuring his ACL, after he and a teammate collided during a play, to make anyone cringe. But I’m afraid I did have an inner chuckle when the guy driving the golf cart “ambulance” almost didn’t fit behind the steering wheel, before driving Thurston off the field. Shouldn’t they be in better shape, in order to haul the injured players around?
The group I was with contained several NSW Blues fans, so they had a hard time, as the Maroons took the lead early, and never lost their head start. But they took it well, I will say that for them. On the other hand, whenever the Queenslanders scored, the room went nuts, and I nearly got deafened. I will definitely have to watch some more rugby league, though, now that State of Origin is done for the year. I think I also need to get a Queensland Maroons State of Origin shirt to take home with me, too. It’ll go with my Akubra.
And to my friends in the U.S., if you ever get the chance to watch rugby league, whether in the U.S., or an overseas game, online, go for it. It’s fun, easy to follow, and INTERESTING. And that’s more than you can say for some of the sports that Americans like to watch. : ) And by the way, no one has yet explained to me why they call a goal a “try”. Because if they scored, then they didn’t just try, they achieved their aim. They “do or do not”, but there sure are lots of “tries”. Yoda obviously never played rugby.