Hong Kong Sevens

Dedication’s what you need if you want to be a record breaker

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 March, 2013, 8:44pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 23 March, 2013, 8:47pm

The South Stand was filled by game three… 9:30am… something of a record, and certainly indicative of a certain amount of dedication, if not to drinking all night then at least to getting up in the morning.  In truth, it’s a strange site, the whole of the rest of the stadium was empty, but the South Stand was full.

The South Stand, as we all know, is an institution regardless of the sanitisation that’s taken place over the years, it’s still the party people place, no matter how anal the rules become.

The first big change was in ‘98 after the handover. The British Army used to do the security, these ‘squaddies’ knew how to deal with recalcitrant drunks, they just smiled, and maybe wagged a finger, but the smile was the important weapon in the armoury for defusing any situation.  Security now is slightly different, po-faced jobsworths who’re incapable of distinguishing between high jinks and hooliganism.  A smile goes a long way lads!

Next, out went smoking, closely followed by inflatable toys, which were deemed a safety hazard. Stop the press, man killed by exploding inflatable banana!

Next came the crackdown on streaking. Personally I’ve never had a problem with streakers, a legacy of a certain Erica Roe at Twickenham, many moons ago. Then again, I’m not really a fan of men’s dangly bits so it’s a double-edged sword, If only they could have banned male streakers only.

I think next to go were the U18’s from the South Stand, that was a game changer, but perhaps overdue, for older guys it was disconcerting realising in your drunken stupor the girl you were chatting to, though drunk, was actually still a ‘schoolie.’  That’s if you did realise in time!

Then the famous jug tower two years ago, and suddenly jugs were persona non grata as well, strangely, you no longer see the other type much either, which is a shame.

Did I mention Scotland beat England?

There’s a strange irony that the one thing most likely to lead to misbehavior at the sevens, is also the one thing that ensures a party: beer in copious quantities.

Philosophically, I struggle to come to terms with the sanitisation of life. Life without risk is monochrome, and often the purported bans are mere window dressing to appease a vociferous minority of busy bodies, of which you’ll find many of them in the letters page of SCMP.

I’ve had a broken leg, two broken toes, numerous broken fingers and a double compound fracture of my forearm, as well as stitches numbering in the region of 100, and every single scar tells a story that I love telling, I wouldn’t change a thing, but then folks tell me I’m strange.

When I was young I read Walden, by Henry David Thoreau and then read his essay: “On Civil Disobedience.” If any text contributed to the character I became it was that one.  We all have a duty to ignore petty lawmakers who make petty laws or worse, bad laws, both of which are prevalent here in Hong Kong, in fact most of these politicians here I wouldn’t put them in charge of the remote control for the TV.

Thoreau's central point I suppose was that without civil disobedience, governments become corrupt; fair point, ample evidence abounds.

At the Sevens, don’t moan if someone is standing up in front of you, they’re having a party; you’re sitting on your butt, hardly conducive to joining in. Don’t let other people's high jinks spoil your party, because, that is all that will happen, your own enjoyment is curtailed whilst the happy chaps are oblivious, remember the old adage, the best way to avoid the neighbours complaining when your having a noisy party … is to invite them!

So go on, walk on the grass, smoke where you shouldn’t, play frisbee and ballgames on the beach, dare to swim outside the shark net, run when told to walk, cross when the red man is showing and in general thumb your nose at jobsworths who’ll seek to turn you into a robotic rule-loving German.

Tomorrow, smuggle in some nice juicy oranges, laced with straight vodka, sneak into the South Stand when it’s full, bring an inflatable toy, or better still a toy battery controlled helicopter … with a camera. And if you feel the need to strip ladies, it’s only one night in jail.

Live large, live life, live dangerously but above all, enjoy your weekend!