Take Two

by spaghettipirate

So I was going to write today about how incredibly awesome the game of Rugby is, and how much better it is live than on TV and how only the brave play such an intense sport; but no.

Now if you’re a Francophile, please feel free to skim ahead because the words that follow will not be very nice ones. Consider yourself warned.



Like okay, I had strapped on my two paris of socks and pants and was ready to brave the minus 4 degree weather in the nose-bleed section because honestly a Rugby match is thrilling and as an international match I was sure that it was going to be quite a spectacle.

The stadium is absolutely gorgeous and even though you’re frisked upon entering I was ready to put it all behind me and move on with my life and the game. There was a lively and jovial mood and there were plenty of Irish folk – who have the funniest accents I swear – and everyone was hollering and singing and I was super stoked.

Alas, we had made the one hour trip for naught.

Apparently the field was too iced over and as such dangerous for the players to play. But they couldn’t have told us this 2 days or even 2 hours in advance before trekking out all the way to the edges of Paris? Instead they make us sit and wait until our noses have become ice cubes and butts are frozen to the chairs instead – the crowd hollering abuse at the officials and field as there is some sort of vacuum machine trying to what ostensibly seems ‘warm up’ a 2×2 meter patch of field.

But something is fishy here, because the players were on the field tackling one another quite comfortably and were warming up and they even announced the player line up and everything seemed like it was going according to plan until 5 minutes after the supposed kick off time.

Phillipe was astounded – and even the news anchors today are saying that never in their lived – Phillipe’s plus 40 years of playing and coaching Rugby has he ever or has there ever been such a thing. Rugby players play in the snow and the rain. They do not whine or complain and sometimes they are even freely bleeding and they power through the game. So that the field is ‘frozen over?’ Something doesn’t sit well with me.

Rugby players would be the FIRST to call off the game, and at such an international level game they were happily throwing themselves about the field. But even before that, the French knew that today was a big match with 60K+ spectators, this was a what was supposed to be a well in advance, well planned game.

The fact that they could not have cancelled earlier, or done something to warm up the field is jaw dropping in ineptitude. One little vacuum will not warm up a 100 meter field, no matter how much you wish it so.

But there is something beyond that and it speak to the French views on life and how I have often commented that all it seems to me that I do is spend my life waiting. Although to be fair, the referee who ultimately cancelled the game was English.

There is much egg on the face of the French identity and nationality. It’s down right shameful and while in retrospect I laugh and say “I almost forgot I was in France, but wait, I am,” at the time I was properly upset.

And what of the Irishmen who came in for the weekend to watch what was supposed to be a good game, only to be told to turn around and go home and come back later. The nosebleed section tickets were 65 Euros a piece – luckily we didn’t have to pay, Phillipe’s son Valentine got them free through work – but surely the Irishmen handed over more than simple nosebleed seats to see their national team play. The price of a ticket from Ireland to France, in addition the rugby ticket and ultimately time and anticipation that comes from watching your favorite sport and watching your team play on the national level.

They cannot simply come back in one or three weeks time like I or Phillip can (and surely will); and I hope for what ever is left for the respectability of the FFR (Federation Frances de Rugby) that they reimburse the players.

So I am saddened that tonight I cannot make a properly and exhilarating report on the joy that is a live rugby match. The match will be rescheduled for one week or three week’s time, and surely in what has almost become common place for me, I will be back with my two pairs of sweat pants and foot heating stickers hoping that the weather is not a chilly minus 4 degrees.

Pictures will follow when there actually is a game to be had.