I will fair dinkum follow most sports but as I have got older and slightly grumpier, I rarely travel too far to watch a game of live sport.
Yes, a certain three-year-old daughter and a busy wife running her own business also contribute to this, but the thought of catching a train to Homebush to watch the Wallabies or the likes just doesn’t appeal like the comfort of the old recliner and a few cold ones until I nod off in the said chair at around half 9.
There are exceptions to this, of course, such as the Socceroos vs Uruguay on that fateful November 2005 night, but to be honest, the risk vs reward is just not there for me, especially when it comes to a game of rugby.
Oh yes, as one gets wiser, you know that the best value for live sport can be found often in the backyard in the Shute Shield.
I come from a football (the round ball that is) background but played one year of rugby in the mighty 13As XV at Epping Boys High, so I’m no rugby aficionado, however, I do remember my old man taking me to games in the 80s when the Rats of Warringah and the Galloping Greens dominated the comp with the likes of David Knox, Warwick Waugh and Lloyd Walker gracing the pitches.
As I lived in the local area at the time, I also recall sitting in the grandstand at TG Milner watching the Woods go around with their famous meat pies in hand and a can of solo to wash it down with. As a result, those boyhood memories etched a soft spot in my heart for the Sydney Club Rugby scene.
Carrying these thoughts with me, I walked down to the iconic Coogee Oval on the weekend to see my now local team, Randwick, take on Eastwood where I had the privilege of watching one of the best games of club rugby I had been to where the Woodies triumphed 43-41 over the Wicks.
It was a bloody great feeling rocking up with a mate with the winter sun shining on our backs. Upon entry, we waited for no more than a minute to buy decently priced, cold beer before settling into our seats within earshot being of the crunching tackles and scrums of second grade followed by the sounds of the first XV’s studs hitting the concrete en route to the turf.
What you also see at these games are the club stalwarts such as Adam Freier still running around on the park, the supporters with their faded bottle green retro jerseys from years past mingling (ahem…I mean social distancing) enjoying the odd amber ale and more often than not, watching a damn fine game of rugger in the process.
If you do get a bludger of a game, then the people watching and the sense of community will make you feel that your money spent has been worthwhile. Plus walking home from the ground is a big plus.
Another casual observation was that it seems that the referee gave the pea in the whistle more of a rest compared to Super Rugby games and internationals, contributing to the flow of the game.
All in all, it is a fantastic arvo out and I recommend it to any sports lovers.
Back in my 20s, it used to be a footy game and then a night out on the town. Today it is a ticket to a Wicks game, home to the couch with remote in hand and then zzzzzz.
I’ll be back for more before the season is out.