Jenny is absolutely mad for sport. Specifically, she's a huge Rugby League (note: not Rugby Union) supporter. Her team of choice? Harlequin Rugby League. She's a huge fan. This year she did something she's been considering for ages. She became the Home Sponsor for #14, Julien Rinaldi. What does this mean? Well, she gets her name read out any time he scores. Her name is printed in the programme. She gets his jersey after the season. And she and a guest get to attend one game in the Executive Box. Saturday was her day. And the guest? Me! We drove over to London in the morning, stopping off first at her Aunt and Uncle's house. They'd graciously agreed to host us for the evening, so we wouldn't have to drive home after the match. (Especially nice, since I'd just have had to drive back the next day to collect my mother from the airport!) After a brief visit with them, we drove to the stadium: Twickenham Stoop. We got there with loads of time to spare. In fact, we were there 45 minutes before they opened the gates, and another while before they would have let us in the gate we were 'supposed' to go through. So we ended up walking around the stadium to the far side, just to walk back around to the near side. Never mind. It was a lovely day. Jenny also invited another friend, Matthew, to attend with us. He's a major St Helen's supporter, and as the Harlequins were facing off against St Helen's, it was perfect. So the 3 of us went together.
Before the match got underway, we were served a lovely buffet lunch/dinner thing (tea? I don't know. It was served at 4.30. You make the appropriate lexical selection.) We were assigned seats around tables. Matthew sat on my left, Jenny on my right, and on her right? The Harlequin's own #7, Danny Orr. Jenny was over the moon about getting to sit next to him. He was not playing due to hamstring difficulties, so had been asked to join us in the Executive Box before the match.
The match itself was really quite amazing. I'd never seen a Rugby anything (Union or League), so didn't really know what to expect. It was fantastic. Unlike American Football, the play moved so quickly. A 40 minute half actually took 40 minutes. In fact, even when someone was injured, they only sent someone onto the pitch to patch them up. They didn't stop play! Unless, of course, there was a major injury. And when there was a change of possession of the ball, it took seconds, not minutes. Very cool. I absolutely preferred it to American Football.
Unfortunately, the match was against St Helen's. And they wiped the pitch with us.
We lost. <------ 54 to 0!
After the match Jenny and I went down to the pitch and took a photo under the Try Posts. (Yes, American Football 'Touchdown' is called 'Try' in Rugby League. Don't ask why, it's too complicated. However, like a Touchdown, it's worth multiple points (6 in this case). And you get a shot at a follow up kick that's worth 2.) My brain's hurting trying to figure that all out.)
Then we made our way across to the Jester Bar, the bar for the exclusive use of the box seat holders and the players and families. It was really kind of fun, because there were only a few people there. And the other fun thing was, the players were really friendly. It's a bit like how Sports Heroes were 50/60 years ago. Yeah, sure, people know who they are, but not the SuperStar positions that Football or Basketball players hold. This was much more fun. They'd even stop and chat with the kids playing on the pitch between the locker room and the bar.
At the Bar, Jenny hit the jackpot. She met both the Team Captain, Mark McLinden and her hero, Julien Rinaldi.
All in all, a most excellent day out. Thanks, Jenny!