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Rugby League,the sports I have started to love

Aurora Story 02 (320x240)
Rugby league in Philippines

BY AURORA VALENTON, San Narciso,Zambales, Philippines
I was not a fan of Rugby League, nor was I interested in it, not even in the slightest. I didn’t even care about the rugby league game that was about to be held at the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy (PMMA) in my home town in San Narciso.

But one afternoon, last October 18, while I was on my afternoon walk I saw very tall white guys with a red  and black shirts playing or maybe doing their warm ups.  They look cool from afar  and  I wanted to see them up close playing.

Being a ‘not-so-much-of-a-rugby league-fan’ changed when I finally watched an amateur  and a professional rugby league game. It was so damn awesome! I couldn’t remember much of the game, but there were those unforgettable tackles, bumping  and those cool touch-downs . “Oh man, I want to play rugby legue, too.”
On October 19, 2013 an amateur rugby league tournament Zambales 9s was held at PMMA .

I tell you it was awesome, so damn all the kids were amazed with the game.  There was a game between the kids  and they all looked cute . They were  determined to win the game  but afterwards it’s all just a game after all.  They were real sport. They got bumped, some of them fell badly that the game was almost stopped, but they played  on.   With full determination to win, both sides enjoyed the game and at the end, both winners  and losers showed  relieved and proud faces.

The amateur  and  professional rugby league players were entertained by how the kids played the game. They played  seriously yet not forgetting how to enjoy it. Even I was proud of them,  and envious how little they were  but they can play something as rough as rugby league.
Then there were the games between the PMMA, Clark City Crusaders, Cebu City Chiefs, MAAP Kings, MAAP Warriors, Anscor Swires, Don Bosco and TMS. The games played by the PMMA & MAAP teams were the ones that really caught my attention. Everyone was frantic, both teams have their own fans. I had to admit they were awesome  and  both teams made it hard for the opposing team. And  the crowds were all shouting, screaming.

I was confused because all I knew was that they would score once they had put the ball on the goal post but the players keep on running. I don’t even know who’s ‘on-the-lead’. I really don’t know what was going on, but they were really good games. I couldn’t take my eyes off the players who were holding the ball, and then I heard my mom talking with Chris Van Putten one of the PNRL Board members.

I had to admit the game was vicious  and tough, but it was wow . I couldn’t  help but eavesdrop with what they were talking about. Chris explained to my mom how the game goes. What amazed me was the fact that a rugby league player  could  loss 5 kilos with every game. Wow! I have to jog like  one week to be able to lose five kilos. Because the game is really tough, a player can possibly  play it once a week if I can remember it correctly.
With everything I learned, heard , I  watched later the Zambales 9s tournament. I was eager to watch a real live professional rugby league game. It made me think highly of the rugby league players, I was wrong that it was all about the muscles and really good looking players. I found out it was also about team work, strategy, endurance, strength, a will to win  and the love for the sport. The game was vicious yet cool and the players and referees were a real ball of fire.
Finally  on October 21, 2013 at PMMA, I watched “the  real professional rugby league game.”  It was the match between the Philippine Tamaraws vs. Thailand Stars. My wait for the real professional game was all worth it, they both rocked!!! They didn’t disappoint me, nor the crowd . The crowd as well didn’t disappoint the Philippine Tamaraws, because   they cheered loudly and rooted for the team.
The  game was worth watching even with my  throat getting sore and myself almost falling off  the stands as I cheered for the Tamaraws.  I enjoyed watching all the slamming, bumping  and running that excited the crowd as well. Rugby League is Greek to me  and remained  Greek to me, despite help from my friend Harold Aguilo a local Rugby League coach who explained to me what’s happening.
Everyone was so loud specially when the Tamaraws possessed  the ball.  All you can hear was “GO TAMARAWS!!!” “TAMARAWS, TAMARAWS, TAMARAWS!!”  and when the ball was in the possession of the Stars everyone keeps on shouting “DEFENCE! DEFENCE!”.   I, can’t help but shout and  scream, and  with every try of the Tamaraws the crowd went wild. My boyfriend Lorenz Copia was already getting irritated with how loud I and my friends were with myself  probably the loudest.
It was a hot afternoon, but no one cares because the game  became hotter and one could be tempted to say it was more intense than the sun. It was so cool how the players act like everything was fine and  that they don’t feel  badly hurt when about five players would pile on top of them. As they were guarding the ball, they won’t just let go.
The most unforgettable part of the game was when the Thailand stars were real close to the goal post & the Tamaraws were on full defence.

The crowd’s cheering was deafening and appeared to have gone wild.  Everyone kept on shouting “TAMARAWS!!!” “GO TAMARAW!!”  and  “DEFENCE”.  My 11 year old neighbour was so hooked up with the game that she can’t take her eyes from the field. Later on even after week , she still kept  on talking about rugby league  whenever we meet.
At the game the players  gave their best shot. But when  the game was near the end, the crowd was frantic and cheered the Tamaraws, perhaps giving  the players  extra strength, and energy and filled up their fighting spirit. Everyone  who watched  was so proud, it was as if we were the ones who played  and won.

I  have to thank the  Thailand Stars for being a good opponent of the Tamaraws, without them the game wouldn’t be that much enjoyable as it had been. When the MC announced that the Tamaraws were the official winner everyone was so happy, loud  and  wanted to be able to take pictures and have their shirts signed.

Everyone was on the field. Everyone knew that the Tamaraw was the winner because the score was a landslide, yet hearing the MC announced that the Philippine Tamaraws won it was so nice, I even had goosebumps.
Not many of the crowd gave the Thailand Stars much attention, but without the Stars they wouldn’t enjoy the game. So my boyfriend and I went to the place were the Stars were, we took picture with them & congratulated them because they gave us something to enjoy, a very entertaining match to be watched. I guess the Stars run out of the will to win, with everyone shouting “GO TAMARAWS” their fighting spirit were unlike the Tamaraws. All the audience were rooting for the Tamaraws; the PMMA employees & their family, the students & teachers of Magsaysay Memorial College, Zambales Academy & La Paz National High School, & the citizen of San Narciso were on the side of the Tamaraws, no wonder the Stars lost the will to win, yet they did try their best until the end so “HEADS UP FOR THE THAILAND STARS!!!”
Like every soap operas, movie, book that we read, the game had ended  and it was a very heart warming ending. The team shook hands, talked to each other, congratulated each & everyone, & they still have their proud faces to show all the audience win or lose they did their best and that’s what matters the most.. Even though the game was intense & the full body contacts was so “BAM” hard and  rough  and all the body blow was hard  and  I know it hurts so much, with all their muscles slamming with the muscles of the opponent team, both team were a real sport.

Rugby League don’t require you to be tall or anything, because even the small players were a real big part of the team. Rugby League needs determination, a real good stamina, a real good body that can endure all the blows  and heart that beats for the team & for the game.

To players,  all that matters is one enjoys what one is doing. At the end of every game one will always remember that it’s just a game and one had to be sportsmanlike.  Until now I can still hear the PMMA employees’ kids talk about the game,  and I am waiting for  six  more months to watch another game/

I hope this won’t be the last time the Tamaraws would bring us a very entertaining game here at PMMA’s Grandstand. For me Thailand Stars & Philippine Tamaraws  were both winners in a sense as both teams really rocked us all who were t the grandstand.

But I still I could not help shouting,  “Go Tamaraw!!!”