Hong Kong Sevens

Getting Lin on the act

PUBLISHED : Friday, 23 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 23 March, 2012, 12:00am

America's ears may be bleeding with the Linsanity of the Jeremy Lin puns, but hey, this is Hong Kong, and he's Taiwanese, so he's one of us, right? If the NBA star who no one saw coming attended the Sevens as a spectator he'd be welcomed with open arms - the very same arms of 40,000 rugby fans that, as has become traditional, will be outstretched and opened wide in synchronicity with Delilah on Sunday afternoon.Ok, so Lin's in Toronto today playing for the New York Knicks against the Raptors so you can put away your NBA shirts and forget the buzz cut, but it's time to get out the puns, because you have to be part of the Lincrowd. Comedian Fred Allen once said 'Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns, he should be drawn and quoted'. So we're drawing on the Linsanity with a Linspired Sevens survival guide. Like Jeremy, our Sevens broke through stereotypes and succeeded against the odds. Here's how to have unLinited fun, according to ROBBY NIMMO:

Lingo #1: It's important to know how to say Hong Kong stadium in the local Lin-go, (Dai Kau Cheung).

Lingo #2: Ask your Hong Kong host or hotel concierge to write your address in Cantonese so you can get to Parkview ('Gweilos in the mist') without going via Stanley, and to Kennedy Town without straying to Kowloon, aka 'The Dark Side'.

Linoleum: If your friend is handling the pavement like a dog on linoleum, it's time to stop pouring them drinks and pour them into a taxi home.

Linseed and flax seed: Supposed to be good on your Burcher Muesli and freshly squeezed orange juice for breakfast the morning after a big day. Or you could just go for the fry up and a Coke chaser instead. Thankfully, the Sevens is only once a year. Drink plenty ... of non-alcoholic drinks to survive it.

Linkin Park: One of the many great bands you might hear as part of the awesome repertoire of Sevens songs.

Lin-Up: The Lin-Up for the South Stand on a Saturday is not for the faint hearted as it snakes around the stadium, with a waiting time up to four hours. Remember, when you get in there, the Lin-Up for the toilet is just as long and the smell tends to Linger in the afternoon.

Linstitution: Yes, the Wellington Sevens is trying to get in on the act for the dress-up extroverts. And the sevens players say the changing rooms are pretty fancy in Dubai. But let's face it, there's nothing on the planet like the Hong Kong Sevens. The other tournaments are mere Linitations. Our Linfatuation with this event will never fade.

Linterview: Part of the uniqueness of the Sevens is asking too many questions of the people in the seats around you and spouting too much rugby blather. However, out of this, lifelong friendships are forged, and business networks struck up. And yes, even love has been found in and around the stadium, so Linstigate a conversation with those around you.

Linfringements: Biffo at the stadium is not cool, neither is peeing in a jug or streaking across the pitch. Overly Lintimate behaviour will be met with chants of 'Take it Lindoors'. Don't be the loud noisy gweilo (Westerner) terrifying poor unsuspecting MTR passengers by Linflicting your repertoire of Sevens songs on them on the way home. Save the singing for the stadium, or hum a few bars IN the bars.

Linguine: Wearing an outfit to the Sevens as substantial as spaghetti might not be a good idea, given that the temperature can be anywhere from 14 to 40 degrees Celsius. Have a variety of outfits and layers at the ready. Raincoat to sunhat and sunblock, the Sevens weather is as much of a guessing game as who will win.

Linking up: Can't be separated from your iPhone, Whatsapp or Blackberry? Try to live the Sevens through your eyes, and in the moment, not through your technology. In the early 1990s, there was a homespun Sevens song about what a poseur you were if you talked on the phone at the stadium. Those were the days when mobile phones were house bricks, with alien antennae. These days, mobile phones might not look like the one Rob Lowe carried in Wayne's World, (where he charmed Tia Carrere - AKA Cassandra Wong - by saying 'I can tell your accent is from around Kowloon Bay'). However, you will still look as cheesy as he did in the movie if you talk on yours throughout the games.

Lineage: The Hong Kong Sevens was one of the first international sevens, and it's an event that has experienced the greatest form of flattery, imitation. The chance to showcase rugby to the world (and the IOC) over nearly four decades must surely have Linfluenced the decision to make rugby sevens an Olympic sport.

Linsurance: Wet wipes. Check. Plastic mac for random spills and thrills. Check. Change of outfit, or the money to buy a new sevens rugby jersey. Check. The laundry bill and need for wardrobe changes can blow out the sevens. Even if you're not playing out on the pitch, clothes have a way of getting ripped, ruined and ridiculously dirty, so make sure you have a body-covering back-up plan.

Linsults: Remember what your mother said: 'If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all'. There's rugby banter, and there's rugby rude. Keep the linsults to a minimum and use your Lintellect when it comes to put downs. If you go too far, someone might tell you to Shut The Folding Umbrella no matter what the weather.

Lintensity: For much of these three days there's some truth to all the dismissive talk of throwing in a little rugby with the alcohol-soaked, cross-dressing debauchery that constitutes our event. But come the twilight of Sunday when the march past and Sweet Caroline are behind us, suddenly a switch is flipped and the game on the field takes on all the ferocity and commitment of any top-class sporting competition.

Now, on with the rugby, and may the best team Lin ...