I come from a racing car-loving, cricket-playing Qld family where rugby really didn't get a look in. Hubby was more of an AFL freak & I made sure sport-watching TV time was limited only to that one sport for fear of going mad. Having said that, who am I to turn away the chance to represent my hubbies company at the All Blacks vs Wales game in Dunedin? I'm telling you, it had nothing to do with the lure of a child-free weekend in a gorgeous city, all expenses paid (wink, wink).
Now this rugby representing thingy was the whole shebang. Pre match dinner, coach to & from the stadium, hob-nobbing with head honchos of sponsoring companies & ex players alike & then a post match function. We're talking hours of pretending that you give a damn about the sport!
So it got me thinking that someone out there may be as ignorant as I am about the sport & may benefit of learning from my mistakes, or near mistakes!
Tip 1 - Research the game. Now I'm not talking read up on all the player stats etc but just do the basics like find out who they're playing & what colour that team are dressed in. This was my mistake number one. I turned up to the NZ vs Wales game in a bright red dress... Wales is red. How to stand out in a crowd of serious All Black supporters!
Tip 2 - Learn the lingo. I must admit I failed at this one too. It's not a 'goal'. It's a 'try' (I think). You could probably learn a few other terms to slip into conversation but I'm actually going by my lifes lesson of 'If you say "hola" to a Spaniard you're going to look like a nong when he rattles off in spanish and you can't understand'.
Tip 3 - Respect the tall old men. They may look like some doddery old grandpa who somehow snuck through security but 9 times out of 10 it's likely that they're some ex All Black great.
Tip 4 - Take your iphone. This kinda runs on from the above tip. When you're shown to your seat & you haven't the foggiest of the names on either side of you, do a quick google search! Or do a facebook call for help - although my friends were hopeless at coming to my rescue! Colin Mead & Richie Guy are quite 'up there' in the rugby world & it would've helped to know that they were revered players in their time!
Tip 5 - Take your ipod. Now this only came to me during the game when I glanced around at people in the crowd (not 'audience') & noticed ipods. I'm assuming they're listening to the game but oh how i could have enjoyed listening to my fave music. Note to self though... you'd probably want to try to avoid singing out loud or jiggling in your seat.
Tip 6 - Keep your arms down. If you're in a hob-nobbing section, the chances are you probably can't get away with doing the mexican wave with the rest of the stadium. I was dismayed that I couldn't join in the almighty wave of raising of arms & throwing of drink bottles that is the mexican wave :( The old bloke beside me looked a little disgusted with the whole thing.
Tip 7 - Know when to clap. Here's where the old guys next to you come in handy. Watch them ... when they clap, you clap. When they stand, you stand. If you're feeling game you may sneak in a few "oooohhhhs" & "aaaaahhhs" etc.
Tip 8 - Remember, teams swap sides at half time. Enough said.
And last but not least, make sure you pack the right clothes (no jeans) & shoes. Ten minutes before we were to leave I realised I had packed two odd high-heel boots (one brown & one black but both for the right foot). Off to the game I went with my nice Wales-red dress, black tights & black sequined high-tops (ie kinda like the original Converse but covered with sparkles)!
And the highlight of my night... I got to chat to the CEO of telecom. Yes, that's a little left field but I'm loving his TV ad at the moment (you can see it here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwhXRxGlOcQ)!!! That guy can act better than many Shortland Street actors ;)
Twas a great night all in all. Totally bearable & I'd definitely do it again!
Would love to hear your impostor faux pas if you have any too :)
ps Below are a few black & white handcrafted creations that you can deck your kids out in at the next All Black game!