Monday, September 26, 2011

Star-Spangled Banner- Francis Scott Key

There is a little sporting event called the Rugby World Cup taking place in New Zealand at the moment. I know it’s football season in the states, but here, there is SO much zeal for rugby. It’s everywhere, and it’s a huge deal.
Fans from around the world have come to cheer their team on. I didn’t realize that rugby had such a dedicated following. Think about it this way: New Zealand is to Rugby as USA is to Football… although Rugby might have a more dedicated following here. Seriously.
Anyway, the USA has a rugby team! (who knew?) They are called the Eagles, and I had the privilege of watching them play in Wellington! Last Friday night, I met Gabrielle and several of her friends downtown to cheer on the Eagles! I'd been looking forward to this game for weeks. We had inflatable USA noisemakers, American flags, facepaint, red-white-blue clothes: the works. And the best part? We weren’t alone.
THOUSANDS of people were dressed in red white and blue. American flags could be seen in most bars and restaurants as we walked to the stadium. People would sporadically start chanting “USA! USA! USA!”

The reason for such widespread support?
The US was playing New Zealand’s rival team: Australia. I would say that 60% of the US supporters had nothing to do with the USA before this game, but a common saying in New Zealand is, “I support two teams, the All Blacks and anyone playing Australia.” Needless to say, there was widespread support for the US Eagles.
I was so excited for the game, and my emotions came spilling out when our national anthem was played before the game. It’s a rare experience: living in a foreign land, seeing thousands of US flags flying, and hearing your national anthem played before a global audience.
I typically don’t sing along to the national anthem, but that night was different. I was different. I sang it as loudly as I could, and I didn't care that I wasn't hitting all the notes!  Since being in New Zealand, what I have missed most are the people that I love, but that night, under the stadium lights, I missed AMERICA. and I was so proud to be American.

I wish I could end the story there, and believe me, I am tempted to...
but sadly, the Americans lost to the Australians 67-5… ie We got Killed.
I learned a good lesson in humility that night, haha, but more importantly I was reminded that there’s no place like home.
America, I love you!
U.S.A!   U.S.A!   U.S.A!  :)

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