The onset of Spring means a lot of things to a lot of people – that long awaited Summer holiday is just around the corner, new born lambs are in the fields and Easter eggs in the shops. Unfortunately, nowadays Spring has a much more sinister significance – yes, the demonic, immoral and child corrupting game of rugby league kicks off again.
Once more Hessle Road beach becomes a Mecca for joyous hordes of senile OAPs, lonely itinerants and repeat offenders who are let out of their institutions to resume their courses of aversion therapy. Of course, some rugby fans are outwardly normal.
They hold down jobs and appear to lead socially acceptable lives, but behind this facade of suburban civility there is hidden an illicit pleasure that by comparison, makes cross dressing, cat molesting transsexuals appear to be model citizens.
It is of course that inexplicable urge to dress up as some sort of grotesque parody of a Christmas tree. A size 32 shirt dragged over a beer gut the size of China and decorated with scarves hanging from every aperture and orifice.
These apparently respectable people also indulge in strange masonic rituals such as talking very loudly about things that they know nothing about i.e. football, or staggering down to the Bullyvard attempting to drink 12 pints of milk stout whilst simultaneously wolfing down a quadruple helping of pattie, peas and chips.
Of course for us sane people who follow God’s own sport, the attraction of egg chasing has long been a mystery. Where is the pleasure in watching overweight, nightclubbing before a match alcoholics pound each other into dust? Equally mysterious is what motivates the players? Why do they run 50 yards with an egg trapped under their shoulder, getting kicked and slapped every step of the way, only to throw the egg back to where they started in the first place?
Possibly I am being very naive here, after all Hull is a rugby town isn’t it? I mean the popularity of eggchasing is phenomenal. When the Tadpoles played their first season in the Super League their crowds were almost comparable to City’s at the bottom of the 4th Division. Of course I do realise that the crowds at the Bullyvard would be much bigger, if only it wasn’t such a long trek to get to home matches. Personally, I think that it is disgusting that the council don’t lay on a fleet of taxis to take the fans the long distance from their beach huts to the ground at the end of the street.
Nevertheless, despite the difficulties of following their team, there are literally millions of loyal RL supporters in Hull, and they all go to Wembley every year – of course the team doesn’t but, what the hell, it’s a day out isn’t it?
Perhaps the greatest attraction of the pastime (sorry, I can’t bring myself to call it a sport) is the wonderful family atmosphere that it promotes. Whole generations of families turn up together and laugh heartily as two 50 stone prop forwards gouge each others eyes out, whilst a seven foot Antipodal convict kicks a tiny hooker in the ‘nads. Super wholesome family entertainment which of course carries on after the match. Granddad shows his young grandson the correct way to squeeze an opponent’s scrotum when making a tackle, whilst mother proudly watches the boy’s father kick the crap out of a 13 year old away supporter.
But, try as I might, I just cannot enjoy a game of rugby. I realise that in the eyes of some (admittedly very few) that makes me a social inadequate (look, I said social not sexual), but I will just have to carry on watching the sport that the Almighty created for the purification of his disciples’ souls.
Watching the mighty Tigers safe in the knowledge that everyone around me is a kindred spirit and happy that Winter will soon return. Ah, the joys of matches under floodlights, rain dripping into your Bovril, and best of all – no fucking rugby league.