PLEASE don’t hate me, but I didn’t cry at the rugby. If you don’t know what match I’m talking about, I assume you’ll glance over to page nine now.
If you do, I may be running the risk of chastisement. I’ve been to diet classes and “oinked” at for putting on weight then given a pig badge, so I’m used to staring adversity in the face.
So, here it is again for the hard of understanding: I didn’t cry at the rugby.
But I did care about last Saturday’s result. Sort of.
Rugby, for me, isn’t a game or rules, regulations, trophies and touchline traumas.
It’s not even about national pride.
I mean, if you’ve got it, 15 chunky-thighed fellas running around fuelled by that fabled elixir dragons’ breath isn’t going to bang it even further home.
It’s simply a talking point, just something I usually like to do on a weekend, an excuse to eat cheese and chive dip as I can mark it up as a special occasion.
I don’t want to be, and never could be – let’s face it – the 16th man.
As a mature woman, I don’t play games (ahem).
I have sensitive bits and bobs; I chaff, and can’t understand why anyone of sane mind would willingly hurl themselves belly first over a white line when nobody is chasing them when the intelligent thing to do would be to plonk the ball down and just quietly and smugly walk away.
And don’t talk to me about how they play for 80 minutes and still manage to keep their long socks up. (Mine were down 10 minutes after leaving the house during my school days.)
I can’t imagine ever knowing the dance of the victor in the spoils of sporting war.
The moves are illusory and fickle, with too much left to chance despite what the pundits might claim.
I mean, come on – how can you control where the ball should fall?
I can’t even control my fringe.
Rugby looks a bit too much like hard, messy, dirty work to me, a game which inspires passion and divides opinion.
If it was set to music and the shirt numbers glistened, Strictly come Dancing would have nothing on it.
But – and here’s the rub – I was really looking forward to watching Wales in the final of the Rugby World Cup.
I’ve got quite attached to the likes of Sam Warburton and Adam Jones, the latter for his curls and the former because I bet Mam W is so, so proud of her big, big baby.
I don’t know why who wears the number eight (or is it 10?) jersey is so important, the difference between a prop, a wing and a prayer, or if the captain’s sending-off in the semis was legal or in fact officially worse than Hurricane Katrina.
I think if I came face to face with Warren Gatland and Shaun Edwards (oh, do keep up with who’s who) I’d either turn to stone with fear or finally run that mythical mile. In the other direction. Approachable, happy chaps, full of the joys of spring, they ain’t. They’ve got demeanours which could curdle milk.
Being the antithesis of a joiner-inner, the idea of a team anything brings me out in hives.
Yet there’s something so primal and simply Disney-singalong to us all, as a nation of sofa surfers, willing the boys in red to do their best. I’ll stop short of putting myself on the field with them by claiming “we” were robbed, “we” should have won, “we were the best looking on the day”.
I don’t know about you, but I was in the house watching it on the telly, smelling of honeysuckle shower gel and not that heady mix of eau de roughy toughy.
After it was all over and done bar the shouting, my mother went over the road to ask the local sparky to put in her new cooker.
“come in, Soph,” said his wife. “We’re just watching the rugby.”
“no I won’t come in,” sighed my mother. “I’ve just come to ask Mike to do me a favour.”
At which point, a beaming Mike came to the door in his red underpants, wearing a daffodil hat and draped in a dragon flag.
“sorry to interrupt, Mike,” said Mam Jones. “But I had to take my mind off the rugby…” (splutter, cough, wail).
At which point Mike’s daff well and truly drooped.
“oh don’t tell me that!” he shrieked.
“We Sky Plus-ed it as I was on a late shift last night and I’ve only just turned it on!”
As I said, I didn’t cry at the rugby. But Mike did.
Then my mother.
But today’s another day. and it could be a very good one.
Because WE aren’t playing this morning. THEY are.