South Sydney Rabbitohs: My very first match…

"Into the Warren, Into the Burrow!"

“Into the Warren, Into the Burrow!”

To be immersed in Australian sports is an experience unlike no other.  It is an atmosphere of sheer, unadulterated joy, accompanied by singing, mass quantities of beer, and the happiest sports fans this side of a Superbowl game.  Americans like to boast that they are a sports-crazy country built on tough-guy athletes, sheer physicality, and rowdy fans.  Having traveled to the land down under for my first rugby league game, I can honestly testify that the Aussies have raised the bar when it comes to sports fanaticism!  And I have found a family of fans in red and green who proudly don a rabbit with pride!  That’s right, a rugby team represented by a rabbit!  Got a problem with that?

"I'm Red, White, and Blue, BUT...  I Bleed Red & Green for South Sydney!"

“I’m Red, White, and Blue, BUT… I Bleed Red & Green for South Sydney!”

In a previous article I wrote about the South Sydney Rabbitohs, I basically wrote about how I grew fond of such a team, despite the fact that I had never been to a game, let alone I was still new to the savage ballet of rugby league.  Admittedly, it was because I was fascinated with the fact that their logo/mascot was a rabbit.  One thing led to another, and I before I knew it, I found myself watching every match, and live tweeting with my new friends in Australia!  Not to mention I was making new friends via social media (I finally found a usefulness for Twitter!).  Recently, I journeyed back to Australia where I became lost in a sea of red and green, not to mention I was given quite the celebrity treatment!

"About to go into battle..."

“About to go into battle…”

As I walked through the turnstyles at Olympic Park train station, I could see the fans congregating left and right.  Before I jumped down the rabbit hole and into The Burrow, I took part in some pre-game festivites.  And by festivities, I meant drinking!  Hey, I’m in Australia, after all!  The Brewery, as it was so aptly named, was where I was introduced to a slew of fans, most of whom I got to know via Twitter and Facebook.  They were all there, in the flesh.  To say that I was starstruck was an understatement; these were some hardcore fans that I had only seen in pictures on Facebook and/or Twitter, and they were all here!  One reason they were excited to see me was that I had designed a poster for the Rabbitohs game, in which I stated that I had traveled over 10,000 miles to see my first rugby match, ever!  Suffice it to say, it was a real ice-breaker, and when I unraveled it, every one pointed me out.  I felt like such a celebrity!  After all, anyone who comes that far for a rugby match, let alone for the Rabbitohs, deserves serious accolades!  I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I felt like the most important fan there!

Football transcends all cultures!  NRL for the American, NFL for the Australian!

Football transcends all cultures! NRL for the American, NFL for the Australian!

One reason my first game was so important was that the Rabbitohs were playing a team called the Sydney Roosters, who were historically, their biggest rivals.  Not to mention this game was the NRL Minor Premiership, which would determine which team would finish high atop the NRL leaderboard with the most wins during the regular season.  Talk about coming to Australia during the right time!

"Bunny Hug!"

“Bunny Hug!”

After knocking back some cold ones and rubbing elbows with the fans, I headed, or rather, hopped into the shining warren, better known as ANZ Stadium!  I held my breath as passed through the turnstyles.  I headed into the exclusive cheering section known only as “The Burrow”.  Just before the game started, in true tradition, the Rabbitohs beloved mascot Reggie led the team out of the tunnel the tune of “Glory Glory to South Sydney”.  The crowd erupted with such glee, that you could not contain the amount of joy expressed on every fan who wore a rabbit on their jersey.  And for the record, Reggie is almost as beloved by the fans as the team.  You would not believe how many fans hang off the edge of the railings just to snap a photo with him or even get a hug.  Then again, everyone loves a rabbit!  Especially an Australian one; case in point, Bunnymund from Rise Of The Guardians.  I rest my case.

Reggie: The BIGGEST star in The Burrow!

Reggie: The BIGGEST star in The Burrow!

Mascots and fans aside, it was the experience of a lifetime!  Much like how the players never stop moving the ball, the fans do not stop singing and cheering, no matter what the score or even if there’s a time-out.  I’ve been to many New York Giants games, and as much as I love my home team and the crowds there, being at a footy match in Australia is a whole nother kind of experience!  I think they may have ruined me for other professional sporting events.  To all of my bunny brethren, allow me to say, “THANK YOU!”  And to all American tourists visiting Sydney, please go and see a Rabbitohs game.  Even if you know little about rugby league, trust me; there is no greater way to make friends down under than through sports.  Especially rugby league!  The Rabbitohs and their fans, much like actual rabbits, are very hard to hate.  So much so, that one fan at the game who was so touched by how far I came, gave me the shirt off his back!  GO BUNNIES!

"It is an honor to be an Australian Bunny!"

“It is an honor to be an Australian Bunny!”

About admin

I am a graduate of Stony Brook University, and I have a degree in History. I am an avid traveler, with an extensive knowledge of geography, a passion for photography, and a knowledge of animals too. I enjoy pop music of the 1980's, fine dining, movies, baseball, basketball, and rugby.
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6 Responses to South Sydney Rabbitohs: My very first match…

  1. Joe Mancusi says:

    Hi Jared,
    Such a pleasure having you here in Sydney amongst the Rabbitohs. Your article is fantastic and Rabbitohs fans that got to know you will never forget that game with you present. Looking forward to your return, and continued tweets. Go Bunnies.

  2. Kylie Macnaughton says:

    Was an absolutely awesome day and night ! Reading it all over again has bought a little tear to my eye ! I love that it was my Husband that gave you the shirt off his back and it was so special to you ! We are Aussies mate and it how we role.
    Hope to see you again next season ! Glory Glory x

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  5. aaaaaaaaaa says:

    Go the doggies

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