Confessions of a rugby union traitor
“Bless me Father for I have sinned grievously and habitually for the last 30 years. My sin is infidelity.”
“Yes, Father, I have been unfaithful on many, many occasions since 1982 to . . . the game of rugby union.”
From: Eljay Finally Goes to Confession.
Let me say this at the outset, I was always a rugby union man to my bootstraps. It was imprinted, burned into my genes.
Both grandfathers survived the horrors of Gallipoli and the Somme – and my father survived WW2 – solely for me to be born in order for me to play rugby union.
I gave them all reason to duck well and live long, you see. Until 1982, mention rugby league to me and I would usually yawn.
I had moved to Sydney from Melbourne earlier that year. As the middle of the year approached I began seeing Channel Nine’s promos for this league thing called State of Origin.
I got sucked in of course and, spellbound with amazement, watched the entire first biff-and-blood series. I have been hooked on it ever since.
And of course I supported Queensland – have you not read Eljay’s Theory of Rabid Underdoggery? I then moved up there in ’86 and soaked up even more of the Queensland Origin culture.
Only Origin; I could not give a fish’s tit about the club games – well, apart from the Broncos.
In preparing to revisit my faithlessness, State of Origin 1 last Wednesday night, I experienced my second ‘State of Emergency’ here in Darwin where I am a privileged and indulged guest of my sister and family.
Nothing stupid about me; it is lovely and warm up here and the washing dries in a trice, unlike back home in Adelaide at the moment where it hangs limp and damp on the line for two days begging for sunlight.
Just as an aside, state of Emergency 1 was when I set all of my underpants on fire last week; I had them drying on the gas firescreen at what I thought was a safe distance from the fire.
I was out in the alcove when I heard the fire alarm shrieking. Raced in and there to my horror were my five pairs of underpants – in flames! I have only six pairs of underpants; the sixth are a pair of defrocked bloomers from 2004; the elastic’s shot – I need to wear a belt to hold them up. I wear them only in emergencies.
Nothing worse than walking down the street and feeling them slide down under my derriere. They can be surreptitiously hitched up only when there is no-one on the footpath behind me because I have to slide my hand down the inside back of my jeans, reach way down to capture them and then pull them up.
This makes me walk lurchy for a few steps.
So, I was preparing for last Wednesday night. By ‘preparing’ I am talking about seriously important issues: what jumper to wear; what alcohol to drink and what food to cook.
And by cooking I mean corned beef, cabbage, honeyed carrots and whipped potatoes all aided and abetted by my old mother’s amazing sweet mustard sauce.
Frankly, this sauce has been the secret source of the Maroon’s superiority these past few years; nobody knows that.
But then tragedy threatened to strike. My sister’s reasonably new digital Tefal pressure cooker was on the blink; the prospect of a corned beefless game loomed – a disaster for the Maroons.
I would have to bear the entire weight of blame for the inevitable loss on my poor shoulders. I called Harvey Norman only to find the warranty had expired.
In increasing panic, I then called Tefal direct and spoke with a sympathetic customer service guy. He understood the seriousness of the situation – not least when I started weeping and jabbering – and instructed me to take the cooker straight out to Harvey Norman on the Stuart Highway south of Darwin.
When I arrived, a customer service woman was waiting for me. She took the old Tefal and gave me a gleaming brand new one.
Brand new, all wrapped in plastic, manual and a recipe book with 100 ways to Tefal your tucker.
Long and short of it was that I fed nine people, including two gutted NSW supporters, with some of the finest 2 kg of corned beef ever delivered up for human consumption and, most importantly, a triumphant Maroons team continued on its winning way as a result.
I believe I went to bed in a delirium of happiness afterwards but, in all truth, I cannot remember.
NB: (a) I am working on a new book: Eljay’s Mysterious World of Underpantry and (b) remember that corned beef is strictly for Origin while German-style braised goat in red wine is only for Wallaby games.
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