Rugby? You’ve gotta be (prawn) crackers!

WE took another swig of Tsingtao, spread the plum sauce on the pancake and began munching on another mouthful of crispy duck.

He was an egg chaser, I was a methanol head and we were in the Banana Leaf discussing the merits of ‘our’ chosen sports and why the hell they ticked our boxes.
I told him I’d been dragged kicking and screaming along to a Newcastle Falcons match recently. So determined was I not to be outed as a peanut hugger on national TV (the game was being broadcast live on Sky Sports that evening) that I stood on the terraces in a cream baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses. That wasn’t going to draw any attention to me then.
But anyway I explained to my colleague, as we returned from a third helping of chicken in sweet chili sauce with Singapore noodles, that although I had a very pleasant evening at Kingston Park with some very good friends, as a sporting occasion it didn’t really press any of my buttons.
Newport v the Bears and the Bears v Mildenhall were a different matter however.
At our place on Thursday there was, realistically only one team going to win – and it wasn’t Mildenhall. No last heat decider this time.
But some of the racing was hairs on the back of your neck stuff. The way Josh fought his way past Kessler and Wright in heat nine, the last gasp wins by Ty and James – I could watch that again and again.
And what the occasion had, that I found lacking in the land of men with odd-shaped balls, was passion. Bags of it. I’ve taken to watching the action from the home straight these days and it was crystal clear that this match meant something to everyone around me.
I’m not dissing rugby, honest, as I explained to my colleague as we considered whether to pile up a few more spare ribs or dive into the banana fritters. And I found it difficult to explain the appeal of speedway… err, it’s four blokes on motorbikes going round in circles for just under a minute. Oh, and the’ve got no brakes and the fumes smell nice.
I guess it would be a funny old world if we all liked the same things, but it did get be wondering just what on earth it was that got me hooked on this damn fine sport in the first place…


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