I grew up in a family that never really valued sport as a worthy pursuit. The closest I got to appreciating rugby league in primary school was collecting and swapping footy cards by playing "tips", "tops" and "faar-ies".
Hence it's with some bemusement I confess I attended my first ever rugby league match recently. As a spectator with little emotional involvement with either team playing, I found myself observing the entire football game ritual as some form of anthropological insight into human tendencies to engage and revel in tribalism.
The fans. They wore their team jerseys, they carried their flags, they flocked to the stadium in cars and on foot. Even I, the neutral bystander, could sense the excitement and anticipation.
The football field was smaller than I expected. Somehow it seems so much bigger when you watch them grunt and bulldoze their way down the field on your living room TV.
And the story of the game. It was written all over the spectators' faces. The roar when a goal was scored, the anguish when one was conceded. A few impassioned calls of support to players. A couple of light-hearted heckles from a jovial crowd. I admit I felt a twinge of envy. I wanted to be a passenger on the rollercoaster ride of the die-hard sports fan, feeling joy and sorrow with my brothers and sisters.
Then suddenly I remembered it was time for dinner.
We have the Punter to thank for this gem of an idea. Instead of joining the 20-minute queue for food, not only missing parts of the game but also paying exhorbitant money for the privilege, we brought our own hot dogs for DIY assembly.
The trick? Cook your hot dog frankfurters at home and then pack them in tight in a wide-mouthed thermos. Fill to the top with boiling water, screw on the lid and voila! Piping hot hot dogs at your convenience.
In addition to hot dog buns, we packed tomato sauce, American mustard and grated cheese. Make sure you bring a skewer so you can get the frankfurters out of the thermos.
Oh it was good. Soft fluffy bun, steaming hot frankfurters with soft squidgy middles, the sustenance of cheese and fat happy squiggles of mustard and tomato sauce. There was joy in every mouthful, and sorrow when I realised it was all eaten.
Because I know I belong to a tribe. I've found my people.
We all barrack for food.
That's my team.
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7/25/2009 12:51:00 a.m.