Back in June, when Brian was already in Scotland and I was waiting for my visa in Houston he made arrangements for a big birthday surprise for me. He bought the tickets, invited friends and made a loose plan for a fun weekend in Edinburgh.
My birthday is in October.
Brian has about a two day maximum capacity for keeping secrets.
He was too excited to keep it to himself, so I found out way back before the 4th of July that he was going to take me to my first rugby game. And not just any rugby game, but a big sold out rugby game between team Scotland and the New Zealand All Blacks.
Even I, who have never watched a rugby game in my life, knew who the All Blacks were! We’ve all seen that video, eh? The Haka War Dance?
You can watch it here, and see Scotland’s response:
Oh, I was so excited for this game! And I had to wait over four months for it.
The weekend finally rolled around and it was all in place. We took a quick train up to Edinburgh, stayed the weekend in a fantastic apartment right off the Royal Mile, our friends came up to join us and we were ready to party!
Saturday night was for pub crawling, and we crawled like champs. Four rounds of tequila and quite a few other random drinks later, we dragged ourselves back to the flat and enjoyed a late night drunken chat until after two in the morning. I love nights like that, when everybody clicks just right and everything is fun.
I also love that the game didn’t start until 2:30 in the afternoon on Sunday, so we had lots of time to sleep late, drink a few pots of coffee and eat a good breakfast before we had to face the day.
And before we knew it, it was game time.
There was excitement in the air! The kids were waving their colors, the parents were lining up at the beer tent, the hot dogs and burgers were flying off the shelves!
The stadium was a sea of blue and white with overwhelming support for team Scotland, but there were a few black shirts mixed in.
Brian and I hedged our bets. He wore a Scotland shirt, and I wore a New Zealand shirt. We cheered for both teams. The pre-game hooplah got rolling, the seats filled up and the anticipation was building. There’s nothing like the sound of bagpipes to get your blood pumping!
And it’s just not a pro game without pyrotechnics.
Soon, the players were all on the field and the Haka Dance began. Bring it on!
All that was left was to wait for the game ball, and who should bring it out? None other than Scotland’s greatest Olympic athlete himself, Sir Chris Hoy.
Tension was building. Athletes were pumped up and ready to kill.
Ball in place, teams staring each other down, crowd watching every move, and BOOM! The canon went off and it was game time!
And then it was GAME ON!
I’ll let the photos tell the story from here. The violent, often bloody, bone crushing, head smashing, body sacrificing story.
Every one of those guys is huge, and built like a tank, but the extremely tall one with the bushy blonde hair? Number 4? He made the rest look like dwarves. The boy is HUGE.
For nearly two hours we watched Scotland fight hard, and New Zealand stomp them anyway. The All Blacks won 51-22.
We really didn’t care who won, the fun part was watching the game. As violent and aggressive as it was, every single person played well and there was an overwhelming spirit of good-natured rivalry and sport at its finest.
And I’m hooked. I would be totally thrilled to see another game. Who’s with me?