Lens-Artists #242: New Experiences

Rugby football is a game I can’t claim absolutely to understand in all its niceties, if you know what I mean. I can follow the broad, general principles, of course. I mean to say, I know that the main scheme is to work the ball down the field somehow and deposit it over the line at the other end and that, in order to squalch this programme, each side is allowed to put in a certain amount of assault and battery and do things to its fellow man which, if done elsewhere, would result in 14 days without the option, coupled with some strong remarks from the Bench.

—P. G. Wodehouse Very Good, Jeeves (1930)

This week, Anne Sandler has selected a great challenge. She invites us to share a new experience. For her, it was traveling to Australia and spending time with Leanne Cole. How wonderful is that?

My totally new experience may surprise some of you. It’s rugby. Yes, rugby. Like many Americans, I know very little about this game, which has been popular for decades in many countries around the world. It’s a relatively new sport, started in England in 1823, so they say, when William Webb Ellis was playing football (aka soccer in American lingo). Webb supposedly decided to grab the ball and run with it–literally, thereby creating a new game with new rules.

The game, which has evolved over time, is deceptively simple. The objective: carry the ball over the opponent’s goal line and touch it to the ground to score. That sounds easy, but now add this complication: to move the ball forward, the ball is passed backwards. In other words, a player can kick the ball in a forward direction, but the team-mates must be behind the ball to kick it. Therefore, team work is essential to move the ball towards the goal line.

Rich, who loves the game and was eager to share it with me, coached me on the basics before we joined the crowds in Padova and Florence. The action is intense, sometimes confusing, and very physical. Here are some impressions and visual memories of game.

In Florence, the matches begin with a parade of the flags–performed by the Bandierai degli Uffizi. Each banner displays the symbols of medieval Florence.

The action starts with a kick and continues for hours. The players wear very little protection and run many miles during the match. Here is an Italian player in mid-kick.

In this match, the Italian team played Australia. To everyone’s surprise, Italy came out strong and stayed strong in the 6 Nations Championship.

It’s a very physical sport. Players have honed their strength and stamina. As you can see, they wear very little protective gear, so injuries are common. Here, an injured player is helped off the field.

At the same time, it’s clear that civility and comradery between the players and the teams are valued and encouraged. After the game, the teams share a meal together.

At this game, the Australian team was stunned by their loss to Italy. A defeated Aussie player walks barefoot to the locker room. What happened to his socks? He gave them to a fan as a memento of this historic match.

I’ll enjoy reading about your new experiences for Anne’s challenge this week. In the next few days, I’ll be catching up with your posts after spending precious days with Dutch and American relatives whom I haven’t seen for a long time. It’s been a whirlwind of trips, meals and experiences and many wonderful memories. Some of them may end up in my future posts.

Looking back, I enjoyed your visions of Spring in last week’s challenge led by Sofia. You shared wonderful glimpses of early spring flowers that hint of the warm weather to come. Be sure to visit Donna Holland’s Wind Kisses site next Saturday, April 1, also known as April Fool’s Day in some parts of the world. Rumor has it that Donna might have a trick or two up her sleeve.

Until then, have a week filled with plenty of sunshine, fun, and inspiration.

If you’re new to Lens-Artists and would like to participate, click here for more info on our weekly challenges. 

47 replies »

    • Hi Anne! Well, I am not sure it’s less brutal, but …. It’s a game of strategy. But I know nothing about that! It’s a long learning curve. I am starting to read the posts for your challenge. Once again, a great topic. Have a good rest of the week. No floods or earthquakes, please!


      • Thanks again Patti. It started raining again and will continue until Friday. I don’t think it’s raining hard enough to cause flooding. The good thing about living in Sacramento County==we don’t have earthquakes. Coming from the Bay Area, I’m not missing them. I’m glad you’re busy enjoying family and friends.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I’m so sorry, Brian!! We saw the match against Fiji and Australia. Both were so exciting. I’m sorry Oz lost! We had never seen a player give away parts of his uniform as souvenirs. So, the fan will wear them! Now, I understand. Thanks for the explanation.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I don’t really follow rugby much (football, aka soccer, is more my thing) and I’ve never been to a match but I do watch from time to time. You’ve captured the spirit of the game really well and got some great shots!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great interpretation to a New Experience. Rugby is definitely uncommon in the US. Interesting though, isn’t it? I enjoyed watching a rec league in college and while I was always up for flag foot ball or frisbee etc…. Ruby was not one to join. lol. The photos were fantastic, and you did a great job as explaining what we should look for. I always love when the teams have good camaraderie on both sides.

    Stinky socks? I guess a true fan won’t even wash them. lol. Interesting and fun this week!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t have any knowledge about Rugby other than my uncle is n Scotland lost his two front teeth playing and my cousins young boys play and love it! Great photos! Funny you mentioned the socks… one of my friends sons collects odd memorabilia from baseball games he goes to here in Tampa. He’s got socks, towels, a shoe, etc… He loves all of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. On our cruise, I had my first opportunity to watch some rugby matches on the tv in our cabin and in the bars around the ship. It didn’t take me long to learn the very basics, enough at least to understand what was happening. I will be looking to see if I can find some of these matches online when we return home.

    Liked by 1 person

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