Mirror Magazine


That Bradby experience
By Try and Penalty
Ah, the rugby season. A tiring time for players, parents and fans alike. As we are usually rather 'out of it' at most times, the opportunity to 'get with it' arose two weeks back on a cloudy Saturday afternoon.

Capturing some colourful Bradby fashions at the first leg of the Bradby in Colombo was Mirror photographer Dunstan Wickremaratne

The previous Thursday we both had been informed that we were 'going to the Bradby', courtesy of a few friends and family members who thought we needed to 'live a little'. So we decided to study the behavioral aspects of the people at the Bradby. One of us was to sit among 'Hundreds' while the other was awarded tickets at the Grandstand.

The Grandstand journalist (known hereafter as GS) was blessed with a lovely blue seat while the Hundred (known hereafter as 100) had to be content with a rough piece of cement to sit upon! (This resulted in a fight at the Times office the following Monday, but that is another story!)

The first observation made was that many fans wear identical clothing. Colour combinations are limited, since fans tend to concentrate mainly on mixtures of the primary colours. Either blue with yellow (oops, gold) or a striped mixture of red, yellow and blue.

Another eye-opener was the number of infants sporting clothing identical to their parents - an ideally embarrassing situation. There were even little girls proudly sporting short hair, a boys school T-shirt and matching shorts!

Once the game got under way GS with her 'Bradby-knowledge-zero-friends' had stumbled upon a lovely booklet that had been published specifically to celebrate the grand occasion.

It contained various tit bits on the 'Bradbys' of days of yore, and highly personalized caricatures of the players themselves. This in turn contributed much to the evening's entertainment.

At the end of twenty minutes we had learned that there are three methods of scoring marks (oops points!). The try, a goal and a penalty. These are in turn awarded three, five and seven points respectively. We were also informed that a book named 'Rugby for the Dumbest of the Dumb' was also available at a popular book store, but due to the high demand of the season, copies were limited. We had to be happy with the information torn out of knowledgeable fans.

100 did not have it easy, since the crowd she was with comprised of fully-fledged rugby enthusiasts who just couldn't comprehend the stupid questions she asked. GS on the other hand took on a more subtle approach. Eavesdropping on conversations taking place behind, beside and in front of her! Effective to say the least!

Though we didn't learn much of the game's jargon, except for the fact that players forming a tight bunch were dubbed 'the scrum', the language of fans added much colour to the proceedings. Amongst the more original statements was "Machang Hippo enava!" which roughly translated would mean, "Grease, the Hippopotamus is behind you!" or even "Hora-referee send him home" (Hora; noun, meaning thief or robber).

In the Grandstand the yells were slightly different and usually began with "What the ******** is that ****** up to! Now in the good old days, when Tom, Dick and Harry and I used to play we ......", or when the spectators would feel a little less enthusiastic, "Who the ****** taught them to play!"

Something we were unable to comprehend for a long period of time was the fact that suddenly all the spectators would stand up and make gurgling noises. As we had been specifically asked to mingle, we too stood up and made gurgling noises much to our discomfort and the crowd's pleasure.

At the entrance, we were presented with a Rugby Ball shaped cardboard with the school songs boldly stated. Must be so we can join in the singing, we thought - only problem being that the music was not printed!

There was also a constant rephrasing of 'moral support' songs of one school (no doubt painstakingly composed) and singing of deformed versions of it, thus provoking the rival camp to do the same. And when one team looked to emerge victorious the vanquished fans would try to slink away to the background, but were immediately brought to attention again with, "Truly Machang, I think our Basketball Team would have able to crush them!"

Our study completed we made our way back. The long drawn out conclusion being that since this is a rough game that can be completed in a relatively short period of time, it is much more interesting than most other games that drag on for five days. So be it a rough cement step or a Grandstand comfy blue chair, count us in next year too!

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