Semi tough

We already had plans to go out for dinner with our recent friends Emily and Brian when she called and said “what about going to see the rugby?”

It was the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup, NZ (defending champions) vs France (who beat NZ earlier this year). $20 for upper deck seating that was perfectly fine. We’re in!

For the second time in our quixotic search for good Mexican food here, the supposedly great taco truck we were aiming for was not at its appointed spot. Grrr! We had fried chicken which was ok.

Entering Eden Park was exciting. Even though it’s the biggest and best stadium in the country, it’s also just in a neighborhood a few train stops from home. So it’s like being transported to this magical world of spectacle without any fuss.

Once inside, although we were in the cheap seats, it was fine. The weather held, and even if we couldn’t really see the action at the far end, there’s a giant screen, and we had a closeup on our side.

As a Francophile and a Kiwiphile, it didn’t much matter who won, I’d have something to cheer about either way. I always feel a big stir of pride or patriotism or something when the national anthem is played at sports events… some silly sentimental thing. I still don’t know the words to the NZ national anthem in Te Reo Māori, but it was fun to belt out La Marseillaise.

And the game itself was was thrilling, with the lead going back and forth the whole time. The French fans are always out in force, and the shouts of “Allez les bleus!” sometimes drowned out “Let’s go Black Ferns.” It came down to the last few seconds… up by one point, NZ only won because the French team missed a kick. Whew! And admittedly I’m glad the Black Ferns won.

We play England next weekend in the finals… but tickets were already sold out when I went online to look.

At halftime, I took this picture of the sky looking out over the practice field. Beautiful colors.

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