I am going to be controversial here… I do not like it.
I can hear all the gasps (of two of my three readers – Mum won’t be surprised) all the way from here. It is wrong, right! Sevens is an awesome event and everyone has bucket loads of fun… except me.
If you don’t drink beer or wine, you’re pretty screwed for a start. I never have drunk beer and I am a wine snob. I sneak my voddie in (benefit of being ‘plus size’ is that you wear baggy clothes!), and just top up my little Diet Sprite cans. Genius plan. But….
Then you get there and the BP stand, which is the only one with shade, is packed full of families. I think that’s logical. Kids need the shade. I like kids. Sometimes. An entire stand packed full of them, play fighting and throwing rugby balls around? No thanks.
Off to the DHL stand. Less children. Yay. Less shade. Boo. So, at the hottest part of the day, I am sat on plastic grass covering wooden planks, in direct sunlight watching a game of rugby that no one else around me appears to be paying attention to.
We relocate our group which had separated at taxi stage, and join them further up the stands. There was reportedly shade. It was a lie. There were no children. There were however adults in various stages of inebriation.
I have no problem with people drinking. I find squiffy people quite amusing. What really bothers me is being surrounded by drunk Brits who appear incapable of using a sentence with out the f-bomb or the c-bomb. Even greeting ones friends involves hearty backslapping and obscene name calling. The women at least use names or ‘babe’ at this point, even though their sentences are peppered with everything else.
Why do Brits Abroad have a bad name? Please use this day/weekend as case and point. Although in fairness, it’s not just Brits there. They are just the majority.
Anyway, the day progresses, I get hotter and hotter and eventually stumble into the shade. I gave up on vodka about half an hour after arrival because I am not dumb enough to drink in the searing sun and dehydrate quicker than humanly imaginable. 4 liters of water and no peeing should give you an indication of the state of me, and everyone else around me. I wonder actually if they are sweating the alcohol straight out again? That would be a waste of money.
Anyhoo… I go to the bathrooms of which there are ridiculously few and none had loo roll. (The seasoned expats have a bag stuffed with toilet paper or tissues after experiencing this towards the end of most of the organised events.) They did however have air conditioning so basically no one wanted to leave which made it even busier. After standing and hogging the cool air (advantage of being 6ft tall), I walk out back into the blinding sunlight and heat and think “not a chance” about going back to the stands. I head on round the back to the food area and walk straight into the middle of carnage.
The Strongbow tent was giving out paint packets to smash onto your friends which apparently was the best fun of the day. Also dousing your friend in Strongbow was too.
4pm and people are staggering around like it’s 4am. Already people?! Really?
After half an hour of dodging various lurching Scrabble Pieces and Wonder Women, I head on back to meet my friends. Who, in fairness, had no idea I had been gone so long because they were in a similar state to the rest of the place. Ok, so a couple weren’t but you get my drift.
I take a seat and look around and see various half naked men and women making out, beers getting spilled in all directions, and balancing precariously on the edge of the stairs. Great. Look the other way and two grown chaps are trying to recreate the last play. Not clever. Turn around and see a chick out cold and snoring her heart out. I can’t even see the damn rugby because people are now all standing and shouting across at their friends.
What a shit show.
Time to move again. By this time the sun had thankfully set, and we were starting to cool off. This is when I discovered the error of my ways. There are a bunch of other pitches surrounded by grass and no stands in sight! I knew about them, but had never ventured over to see them. We took our spot in the cold damp grass outside the Bidi Bondi tent and watched some very good women’s and men’s rugby, sevens and full teams.
AND Bidi Bondi served Prosecco! Seriously?! My whole experience had just turned around. I didn’t have any but just knowing it was there made me feel better!
Sadly my friend nearly froze at this point (it gets cold in the middle of nowhere) so we had to return to the stands. Also, we probably should be polite and join the people we arrived with.
It had gotten worse. Men and women fighting and swearing this time. 5 of them. All going for it. But then, just when you thought blood would be drawn, there was a reprieve as one of them started laughing and so they all joined in. Then, the women decided to mount the chaps for a victory dance or something. Right.
The end of the day couldn’t have come any sooner. I know I could have left at any point, but like a dumbass I thought it would get better at some point. Nope.
The taxi queue was only 45 mins (yes, I sincerely mean “only” – it could have been a lot worse), and there was a constant stream of them too. It was very well organised. Possibly the only time I will ever be able to use that sentence for taxis at a Dubai event!
There was one perfect moment of the day though… that would be when my head hit the pillow and I slept for 8hrs straight. I thank you Rugby 7s for being so ridiculous that I was tired and overwhelmed enough to sleep without waking for 8hrs. It was amazing.
I really hope that I never have to go back.