Saturday we went out to Wembley to watch the first ever rugby match at Wembley featuring the Saracens v. Harlequins. Now, I may be a sports nut, but rugby is one of those sports that I am clueless about. After watching the match, I'm still a bit confused but I do understand it better. Even if I do keep using American sports terminology to understand it better. For example, I kept referring to the scrum as the rugby version of a jump ball in basketball.
I have to say from my game day observations, we Americans do team spirit way better than over here. I know that it was neither teams home stadium and it was rugby and not footy but dang, I feel like the Brits could learn a bit from us on supporting your team. I missed the crazy fun fan atmosphere of Beaver Stadium for Penn State football or M&T Bank Stadium for Ravens football. Or the feel you get from watching any of the March Madness games. Where people are clearly so invested in the game that the outcome can, and often does, affect their emotions and mood for the rest of the day.
Pre-game entertainment was nothing like I'd ever seen for a sporting event. Music was first provided by Elvis, Whitney Houston, and Elton John impersonators; they were actually pretty damn good singers even if the song choices were unexpected. Then it was a choir, which was also good but, they also sang slow songs like True Colors by Cyndi Lauper, not what you expect as 'pump up' pre-game music. I'm used to songs like Thunderstruck by AC/DC and songs of that nature. But to each his own I guess. At least it was good music, just unexpected.
The game itself was pretty fun to watch. A good portion of it seemed like I was watching American football, and even some of the scoring was similar. Which is probably why I kept referring to a 'try's a touchdown and a goal kick as a field goal. That actually really helped me to understand the game better. It wasn't as action packed as American football, but still a lot of fun to watch. I'd heard how brutal it could be and boy is is a brutal game. It also made me really excited for autumn and PSU and Ravens football. (Yes, I realize how far away that is... but I miss football...)
Other than finally watching some live sports, I was most excited about going to Wembley for the first time. It truly is as stunning as it looks from the pictures; my pictures don't do it nearly the justice it deserves. I will say, I was surprised to know that it only seats 90,000 as it looks like more. Compare this to Beaver Stadium, which holds over 107,000. From a first glance, I thought Wembley would hold more.
All in all, it was a fun weekend enjoying friends and sport. Hard to not have fun when you also a have a drunk birthday party behind you and a group of men clearly out on a stag party a few rows back dressed as surgeons. Hopefully I make it out to a footy match before I leave London!
That's all for now!