CHICAGO, IL – First things first – it’s not blowing dime-sized hail pellets and wet snow sideways today, like it was yesterday as the All Blacks were “warming” up during their Captains run. Check out our Facebook page for clips of that cold weather fun, which includes some of the ABs running pass patterns, ala the NFL… Team USA had better luck earlier in the day during their run, but it still wasn’t Miami and came after Head Coach Mike Tolkin had his Xavier High School kids spend the morning saying novenas.
Anyway, we’re hearing rumblings from “rugby purists” that sponsors are all evil – or worse – and that the demise or rugby is at hand, and started with AIG on the chest of all All Blacks teams, male and female. Ladies and germs, this is simply not the case. How many of you out there have never been able to watch rugby on TV? Live, free, network, prime-time television, that is. If you’re in the United States, the guess here is that you haven’t. Ever.
And 2 years ago, if we had put out an email/tweet saying that the best team in the world was coming to the United States to play rugby, would you ever in your right mind imagined it would be against Team USA? At at a sold-out Soldier Field? On NBC at 3pm Central Time? On a Saturday in football season?! No. Not a chance.
So, instead of giving sponsors the cold shoulder or “fend” ala the Heisman Trophy (of which the first two winners played rugby), let’s get over it. Let’s appreciate that they might start marching out more rugby for us to watch and go to live. Let’s understand that Team USA’s players, unless they are on the Olympic 7s team (15 players) or playing professionally overseas, must go back to day jobs after their match tours end. Let’s understand that our showing up/watching might just prove, finally, that professional rugby in the United States can and will be a viable financial venture for investors and sponsors to run with. And finally, how about pundits and sites like this one finally getting some means of producing content via something other than pots of coffee, duct tape and failing, over-used computer?! Yeah, us. We have bills, too.
Now, for those of you that say, “Well, this is a one-off if the Eagles get their beaks handed to them,” we say this: WRONG. A sell-out of Soldier Field, filled hotels across the city and NBC coverage already makes this event successful for those investing. And as for us fans? This is necessary step; a necessary evil to see Team USA against the best, on American soil, for all of the USA to finally get it. Americans will see a nation of 4 million come in and wonder how the bleep they beat our boys when Chicago alone has 2.7 million people… This story needs to get out there. So, the score doesn’t matter.
Enjoy the game, enjoy the history of this magnificent event and open your minds up to those that have made it possible. And forgive our using this feel-good moment to segue into having you meet us at Fan Fest at the SnapCall tent. Heck, you can win some cool prizes.