Today is the one-month mark of my stay here in Australia. It has flown by, but it also feels like I have been here forever. It doesn’t seem right that this is my fourth week of classes. I’m getting a feel for what the professors here expect out of their students, although I still need to occasionally check the campus map to make sure I’m going to the right building for class. I haven’t had any major assignments due yet, but they are quickly beginning to appear on the horizon.
The highlight of my past two weeks was, without a question, attending the Australia Wallabies vs. New Zealand All Blacks rugby match. The two squads were competing for the Bledisloe Cup. In order for Australia to win back the cup, they would have to beat New Zealand twice, once in Sydney and then back in Auckland. The match in Sydney took place at Olympic Stadium. We all wanted to get to the venue with plenty of time, so we left about two hours before kickoff. It’s a good thing that we did, because it was quite a trek to get to that part of the city. We had to jump on a bus and train that were both about 45 minutes. We ended up arriving about 30 minutes before kickoff and I could feel the excitement as soon as the stadium appeared. The atmosphere was indescribable. It felt like the entire stadium was about to take the field against the All Blacks, not just the 15 rugby players.
After about a 10-minute walk around the stadium, we found our section and began our journey to the top row. Once we scaled the monster staircase to the top of the stadium, we entered the rugby palace. I was in awe of the lighting, the field, and the fans. The entire stadium was a sea of yellow, filled with die-hard Wallabies fans anxious for the game to begin. About five minutes before kick-off, both teams met at midfield for New Zealand’s traditional Hakka. I have watched videos of the Hakka my whole life, but seeing it in person was a whole different experience. Even though it was difficult to see any details on the All Black players from our nose bleed seats, the chant was amplified throughout the stadiums speakers. Once the All Blacks completed their Hakka, both teams were prepared to go to battle.
The game was back and forth the entire game, which made for great trash talking between Australians and Kiwis. The Wallabies scored a late try to take the lead late, and when the final whistle blew, the stadium erupted. It was the first time in four years the Wallabies defeated the All Blacks. It was unbelievable. Even though, going to an All Blacks game was on my study abroad bucket list, the Wallabies’ victory made the experience unforgettable.
Until Next Time,