The first thing I noticed was the stadium. It was much smaller than the stadiums back home. I had arrived early so I would have a chance to tour the Suncorp Stadium. It is where the Brisbane Broncos will play the visiting Bulldogs. As I approached the building I realized I had afforded myself more than enough time. I walked up to security and showed them my ticket. There was no line at security and I noticed that it flowed freely. Back home it can get a bit crowded at the security line. Upon passing security and entering the building I became aware that I had been deceived. The stadium was bigger. Much bigger. I had been on the shorter side of the massive elongated structure. “She’s was built to be the best stadium in the world” a voice told me. Mark was a Bulldog fan. We struck up conversation as we both stood along a rail overlooking the field. The stadium has been renovated and is a clean and welcoming venue. Indeed justified for a rugby team that has the highest average attendance of any rugby club in the world. That night the stadium would hold over 32,000, not too bad considering Australia is a part of the Commonwealth of England and there was a particular prince getting married that night. I smiled and felt lucky. I’d rather be at a rugby game and I had somehow managed to escape the inescapable.
I had a fantastic time at the game. I thoroughly enjoy rugby. I have become increasingly familiar with it since my arrival in Australia. It is a close second to the most popular sport here. The first is AFL (Australian Football League), a cross between rugby and football (soccer). Back home I have found that there is a divide between NFL football (gridiron) and rugby. You typically like one or the other, primarily gridiron, and justify why it is the better sport at any opportunity. I don’t agree any of that. Nope. I enjoy both of them, greatlynso. They are two different sports entirely, nearly comparable only by the fact that they are both physical hard hitting games and they each have an egg shaped ball. That’s it. Oh wait, I forgot goal posts. They have those too. The game of rugby is fast paced. No commercial time outs and no huddles of play calls. Gridiron is methodical and strategic. Very strategic. In rugby you don’t wear pads. You knock each other off balance by slamming into one another chaotically. In gridiron you wear pads. The plays are calculated. When you watch rugby you get an immediate understanding that it is high intensity and requires toughness over skill. With gridiron the focus is greater on skill than thoughness. Gridiron football is worn with pads so that the players will last the season. It is like a chess game, and who wants to start a game of chess without their rook and knight? I sure don’t. I like the differences between these sports. I like that gridiron has some of the most skillful players in the world with just enough toughness to keep it interesting, but not enough to take the players out of the game. For that fix I turn to rugby, where there is less skillful organisation and more pounding it out at all costs. Wait, am I talking about sport or some of our worlds nations now?