Friday the Thirteenth and Rugby in Christchurch

Everyone always says that nothing actually happens on this day. Let it be said no more. This past Friday I bought a car with my friends Zach, Brian, and Cari. Twenty minutes and a rugby ticket purchase later it broke.

Disbelief rapidly became depression. On the eve of our greatest triumph – a massive adventure to explore the city of Christchurch and see the All Blacks destroy the Springboks – our transportation evaporated in the blink of an eye and we were (collectively) down NZ$1500. We spent most of the evening sitting in silence. I started binge eating toast with hazelnut spread and went to bed at three.

The moment the date changed, however, so did our luck. On Saturday morning we brought the car to a mechanic and decided to tempt fate and shell out a bit more trying to get to Christchurch. We put ourselves on the waiting list for pretty much every coach bus and hostel waiting list in the city. Around noon we got calls from the mechanic, bus company, and New Excelsior hostel in quick succession. Long story short, the car is getting fixed for cheap and we sprinted twenty blocks from the bus stop to Jade Stadium just in time for the…

Haka!

New Zealand was just awarded the right to host the Rugby World Cup in 2011. I think the organizers were simply terrified of them. Most other teams are; the All Blacks are often considered the best squad in the world. And they do the Haka.

I quite enjoyed the rugby match – it’s absolutely brutal (think American football played at the speed of basketball without pads or helmets) and I would never play, but observing it was phenomenal. Needless to say, the All Blacks gave the South African Springboks a sound thrashing and took the Freedom Cup. But the fans seemed to downplay of their team’s performance as lackluster; they’re hungry for the World Cup title and apparently won’t even settle for Saturday night’s 33-6 score against the formidable South Africans.

After the game we went out on the town… or not. Actually, we made it about two blocks from our hostel before the desperation and debauchery on every street corner sent us scurrying for cover. Christchurch had a vibe similar to that of Auckland – the whole place was crawling with utterly obliterated young girls in designer clothes and too much makeup being (rather willingly) harassed by equally drunk forty five year-old men. Not cool or fun. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that various sexually transmitted diseases breed in Christchurch puddles. It really makes me appreciate Dunedin and Middlebury, which actually feel somewhat… I don’t know, as if the rules of law and morality have some semblance of meaning.

But even the cesspool that is the Christchurch nightlife can’t shake the New Zealandness of the place. On Sunday morning we began exploring just outside the city and took a gondola ride to a ridge overlooking Lyttleton Harbor on the Banks Peninsula – a dramatic landform comprised of the slopes and craters of two ancient volcanoes. Gorgeous, as always. We tramped for hours and even climbed some sheer rock faces, taking plenty of pictures with Zach’s camera. Have a look at Flickr to see some of the better ones!

Anyhow, I’ve rambled for long enough. The point is that we managed to turn an extremely depressing scenario around – primarily because every day must end, even Friday the thirteenth.

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~ by Jack on July 16, 2007.

One Response to “Friday the Thirteenth and Rugby in Christchurch”

  1. Congrats on turning around such a distressing moment. It’s so great that it has become quite terrific since then.

    What an amzing “you tube”! Do you happen to know if that “haka” was before the game started, at half-time or between plays?

    I love that kind of strange bonding experience for a team. It seems so weird from the outside, but I think it’s very different when you are the ones doing it. I wish I had the guts to do it with teams I have coached or been a part of. Maybe it will be a goal for future ones.

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