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Thirteen reasons why I love rugby league

maximus182 Roar Guru

By maximus182, maximus182 is a Roar Guru

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    I continually find myself lost in the Australian summer. Whether it’s the holidays, the Christmas period or school/Uni break, I have always felt that I am missing something in the warmer months.

    It’s like I drift away from the reality of a week and the day-to-day grind. I’m not in a rhythm or routine. I tend to get drunk a lot and lose my sense of purpose or direction.

    This happens because my ‘normal’ life is from round 1 to grand final day. The appetite-whetters that are the All-Stars game and trial matches start to satisfy me, and the end-of-season internationals simply take the drink from my hands for another year.

    The articles written through the off-season and any news of a player switch remind me there is still a drink in the fridge for next year, but life is just not the same.

    So in summer, what is it I miss about rugby league?

    Is it because I was simply born into the culture of loving league, or because I watched with my dad, and made him kick sky-high bombs to me in the front yard?

    The say rugby league is a soap opera, well then my addiction to this soapy is like that of a stay-at-home middle aged woman.

    Why do I miss it so much?

    1. Rabbits Warren

    His voice is a comforting reminder that all is well in this life. I would compare him to how a religious person may view their priest.

    Honestly, is there a better sports caller in Australia? He is a living legend and I don’t know how I will handle watching the first season after he says goodbye.

    2. The ex-greats

    Players are constantly reminded in today’s game to ‘prepare for life after football’. Because all too often in the past, players become depressed and lost without the game.

    Some players though will just never be able to give it away. Take Allan Langer, he owns from what I hear a very well run restaurant on the Sunshine Coast.

    He could be sipping XXXX overlooking the pacific for the rest of his days. But that’s not for Alfie. He craves the team environment and is still on the paddock running the drinks.

    Andrew Johns, Tommy Raudonikis, Ronnie Palmer. These guys will die hanging around the game. They are well respected figures in the game that reporters always love to hit up for a quote when something’s ‘going down’, and the ex-greats rightfully love to have a dig, a say or a spray.

    3. The players and plays

    The athletically-gifted, the naturally-talented, the characters, the never-give-er-up-ers. The passes, the runs, the plays, the kicks, the tries and my favourite, the dummy. They produce some magical stuff.

    4. The funny things

    A lot of things happen in a game of rugby league, and thanks to segments like ‘stuff you may have missed’ and the increased coverage of the game, we get to see them. Post try celebrations, funny signs, the crazy fans, the spilt beers, the ‘Hindy’, the weird and wacky, it all happens.

    5. The banter

    Does anything beat turning up to work on a Monday knowing your team has beaten your mate’s? The cocky confidence your mate had on the Friday that his team had the game in the bag is replaced by the look of a glum loser.

    Monday (or Tuesday thanks to MNF) also brings a new week, a renewel of belief, and a new team next week to take on. Debates about who the better players are, or what would be the best team if you could pick any players, are now settled over Supercoach games.

    In the last decade the introduction of this American pastime has brought new life to lunch-time gas-bags.

    6. The common bond

    The ability to become engulfed in a mate-making talk with the random bloke you meet at the train station, pub or shops.

    7. The pies and beers and/or Cokes

    When you’ve got these bad boys in your hands, you know you’re at a rugby league game. Local games, or at the stadiums, nothing beats a mouse-coffin or two.

    8. Atmosphere

    You can sometimes smell it, and it often stinks. No that’s just the overflowing portaloos’ on Kogarah hill. The tension, buzz and noises at a game far outweigh sitting on the couch.

    There’s always that one bloke about three rows back who yells abuse at the players and ref’s all game. Absolutely no consideration for the hordes of youngsters sitting around him. Great stuff.

    9. Geographical separation of teams

    Honestly, how boring would it be watching all the teams play at one or two stadiums? Tribal allegiances are built through the geographical separation of teams.

    We would never see the beautiful background of Wollongong beach, the legendary Leichardt Oval hill, the roar of the panther at Penrith.

    The thrill of a trekking adventure to the opposition’s stadium is all part of the game day experience that makes the NRL so good.

    10. State of Origin

    It’s a whole different game, culture and experience. But importantly, it breaks up the season and refreshes your interest. It’s basically halfway through the season and if your team is running crap before it, you tend to focus more on Origin.

    Once it’s over you re-assess and begin to look at how many you need to win to make the finals and march on in the thrill of the chase.

    11. Friday Night Football

    If your week has been a boiler or a blast, knowing there’s a couple of games on the box to go with your beers and pizza will always put a smile on your dial.

    12. Press conferences

    Last year I started watching these pretty closely. I love how coaches slyly drop remarks about certain players knowing full well the player will get a blast in the papers.

    Des, Wayne, Bellyache, Elliot, Ricky, Carty…You can be guaranteed one of them will slip out something outrageous in question-time.

    13. Faith and Hope

    The belief, no matter how confident or faint it may be, that your team can win the comp. They say ‘rugby league is a funny game’, and it’s because miracles can, and do, happen.

    Finally, watch this video to see what I mean.

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • January 16th 2013 @ 8:18am
      oikee said | January 16th 2013 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      Thought i was reading my life story for a minute. Well said Max, loved it mate and i am chumping at the bit for the season to start. Bring it.
      I like number 8, last time i sat at Suncorp had me in stitches. Some guy was doing the commentry for the Broncos players.
      EG;- Get back and fill the hole Teo, good boy, hold ya line, dont rush up, (they scored) oh you useless sod. Your hopeless Teo.
      Gee i laughed. 🙂
      We were sitting right on the boundary, the only time he shut up was to high-five the cheergirls when they come past.

      • Roar Guru

        January 18th 2013 @ 9:13pm
        maximus182 said | January 18th 2013 @ 9:13pm | ! Report

        Cheers mate, you’ve got to love the random bloke 3 rows back… ! =)

    • January 16th 2013 @ 9:52am
      Steve said | January 16th 2013 @ 9:52am | ! Report

      You may need to get out more.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/the-roar/id327174726?mt=8].

      • Roar Guru

        January 18th 2013 @ 9:14pm
        maximus182 said | January 18th 2013 @ 9:14pm | ! Report

        Well worth the comment Steve, Cheers.

    • January 16th 2013 @ 12:51pm
      Bearfax said | January 16th 2013 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

      Only 13 reasons? You mustnt be trying very hard.

      • Roar Guru

        January 18th 2013 @ 9:15pm
        maximus182 said | January 18th 2013 @ 9:15pm | ! Report

        I originally titled this piece ‘Thirteen for 13’… As in 13 reasons for 2013, but the editors obviously didn’t like it…

    • Roar Guru

      January 16th 2013 @ 12:58pm
      The Barry said | January 16th 2013 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

      Friday Night Footy is the highlight for me. Even when the semis are on I feel like something is missing from my life as I realise on the train ride home that there’s no FNF tonight or for the next 5 months.

      Love Rabs.

      Press conferences can be surprisingly entertaining. Reading the same quotes in the paper can be like watching the paint dry but when you see the expression on the coaches face, the crooked smile, the roll of the eyebrows there’s a lot more going on that what is just said.

      Great article.

      • Roar Guru

        January 18th 2013 @ 9:18pm
        maximus182 said | January 18th 2013 @ 9:18pm | ! Report

        Mate Fridays are the best… You’re right about the facial expressions etc. Thanks Barry, I have no idea on how to write properly but just like jotting down some thoughts!

    • January 16th 2013 @ 8:29pm
      nayfo said | January 16th 2013 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

      damn you for ramming home my same problems, i continually get the shakes which i call nrl withdrawal syndrome and i cant stop searching news feeds on Google for any latest developments on the upcoming season. i cant wait for the footy to start up im sick to death of the cricket and the a-league can suck my balls. great column well said

      • Roar Guru

        January 18th 2013 @ 9:19pm
        maximus182 said | January 18th 2013 @ 9:19pm | ! Report

        Haha loving the syndrome!. Yerh I’m the same dude, thanks heaps!

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