Two very popular sports here in South Africa that we don’t see a lot of in the United States are cricket and rugby. We went to our first ever cricket match a few weeks ago. It was a blast! We went to day three of a five day match. Yep, you read that right. Don’t worry, they break for food and sleep.
This past weekend, we decided it was time to attend our first rugby match! Rugby has elements of American football and soccer, which I love and watch frequently, but I still don’t at all understand this new game. They spend a lot of time buried on top of one another fighting over the ball and kicking it to the other end of the field. I’m not sure if I can get on board with this, but hey, I felt the same way about baseball at first. I need to watch more so I can get a better handle on this. Usually, going to games really helps me solidify my understanding of the sport, but we missed half of this game. Why you ask?
We bought our tickets online the day before. We new it would be a popular game: it was Cape Town vs. Johannesburg. Unfortunately our only option for ticket collection was to pick it up at will call, but this wasn’t such a big deal, we’d done this at lots of past sporting events.
We’d spent the day at a few different beaches (we saw wild baboons AND penguins in one day! AH!), and got home about an hour before the match. On our drive home, we saw that the area surrounding the stadium was already packed full of people walking and trying to park, so we decided to walk instead of drive. It was only about a fifteen minute walk and we got there twenty minutes before the start of the game, er match.
We wandered around for a few minutes looking for a “will call” or “ticket pickup” sign with no luck. Eventually we found ourselves in a gigantic line- it wrapped around a corner of the stadium. I verified with a couple of people working there (reality: I pestered every person in some sort of uniform) that this was indeed the line to pick up tickets, since there were no signs or any other indication this was where we should be.
We thought we must have misread the start of the game- maybe the stadium opened at 5:05? But 5:05 rolled around, when we were about half way through the line of all lines, and they were announcing the players. Eventually, we were let into the base of a staircase which led up to a small office, where one person, on one computer, was printing off the tickets for each person who had purchased online individually. One single person was looking up and printing off tickets well over a thousand people, and they only started about a half hour before the game. This was some very poor planning on their part.
My best guess is that they weren’t expecting this kind of turn out. Everyone around us was incredibly upset and when we got up to the office, a woman who I assume was a manager was getting chewed out by people livid that they’d missed half the game because they didn’t have the option to print their tickets at home. After working as a manager in a restaurant, I have a lot of sympathy for people getting yelled at who are the only ones who can be held responsible for an out of control situation. Watching that episode chilled my own temper and sense of injustice way down, and we were finally in our seats a few minutes before half time. It helped that this wasn’t a match we were invested in. I can’t imagine what that scene would have been like if it was a Ducks game.
After that debacle, it was incredibly fun to be at a game that had the energy of a football game. I desperately miss going to Ducks games every weekend during the fall! Rugby had all of that passion and excitement, and I was into it. Even though I couldn’t quite track what was happening, the Cape Town Stormers were up by 15 points for most of the game, and that was enough for me.
All the photos in this post were taken by Fiance. Thanks, Fiance!