Rabbitohs VS Storm Part II: Big Crowds, Bigger Bunny!

"What can I say?  The fans love me!"

“What can I say? The fans love me!”

Moments after meeting Mario Fenech outside ANZ Stadium, I was practically on cloud nine!  Little did I know that I’d be on cloud, uh, I wanna say nine and-a-half?  Ten, perhaps?  Anyhoo, I went right back to drinking and shmoozing it up with my bunny brethren.  I immediately went around showing everyone the latest autograph addition to my poster.  Normally, I don’t gloat, but how could I not resist?  I mean, I had never had this kind of interaction before with sports fans.  I never felt this kind of camaraderie, and I had been to many tailgating parties and sports bars.  This was a whole nother kind of connection.  Well, to be honest, the fact that I was an American at a footy match made something of a certain interest.  People were going up to me like I was a celebrity.  Normally, the new kid at school gets hazed ruthlessly.  Here. it was the opposite; everyone wanted to either buy me a beer, shake my hand, or autograph my poster.  Why couldn’t college be this close-knit?!

I was introduced to another celebrity of The Burrow: The Rabbitohs Warrior.  Painted in red and green face-paint a la Braveheart, complete with a fake sword, afro, and Rabbitohs jersey.  I actually should say, re-met him since I saw him at the first match against the Roosters.  I was impressed by his fandom, but he was impressed with the fact that I was a big fan who came a long way away just to see the Rabbitohs!

"Rabbitohs fans preparing for battle!"

“Rabbitohs fans preparing for battle!”

After downing a few beers, Bill, Mario, and I headed to McDonalds, or Maccas for some pre-game burgers.  In between bites, I told Bill and Mario that I was a whiz with geography; one of the reasons why I am so avid with travel and tourism.  Mario and Bill began firing off geography questions trying to stump me; as usual, I succeeded!  As if that weren’t enough, I then began showing off my knowledge of Australian history.  I went into a brief, 5 minute piece about the history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  Bill was so impressed, that he began to laugh.  And he didn’t just laugh, he literally laughed up his burger!  It was a satisfying moment, indeed.  To wrap it up, Mario even gave me a nickname: Rain Man.  Well, I do have a great memory, and I do have aspergers, which is a mild form of autism, so, thanks Mario!

Once we made our way into ANZ Stadium, or as I call it, The Warren, I whipped out my ticket, and clutched my poster.  I was determined to see a win, and I was gonna get it!  We made our way to our seats, which incidentally enough, were just a few rows down from The Burrow.  Still, it was so loud, we were practically in their section.  After a few moments of waving to the fans, the loudpseakers began blaring Kashmir by Led Zeppelin.  The suspenseful strains of the iconic 1975 hit made the hairs on my arm stand up; I just knew something was going to go down.  Sure enough, the Melbourne Storm ran out of the tunnels and onto the field; they were met with a boisterous “BOO!” from the fans.

But just when things seems dark, Bill and I heard the sweet-sounding opening beats of “Glory Glory” echoing beautifully throughout the Warren.  And when that begins to play, it can only mean one thing: Reggie’s a-coming!  Once we saw Reggie run out from the tunnels (just like a real rabbit!), it was game time!  I was quite nervous because the Rabbitohs were playing the Melbourne Storm, a team that the Bunnies had not beat all season, let alone since 2004.  Fans were on the edge of their feets, hoping that this would be the night the Bunnies would break their losing streak with Melbourne.

"Wave your flags with pride, you wonderful bunnies!"
“Wave your flags with pride, you wonderful bunnies!”

I spotted Reggie walking along the edge of the seats, shaking hands, or rather, paws, with the fans.  It seemed that the fans, both young and old, went absolutely crazy whenever he walked up to them!  It wasn’t just the kids smiling whenever he stopped to pose for pictures.  As he came to our bay (section), I was determined to finally meet him.  I swiftly came down to the edge of the guard rail that separated us from  the field.  I knelt down on one knee to not obscure  anyone’s view.  That did not stop one irate old woman from shouting, “Get Down!” from behind me in a shrill voice.  If she thought that would deter my efforts, dream on!  The crowd sat down after Melbourne regained control of the ball.  It was there that I stood up, took a deep breath, unraveled my poster, and shouted, “Reggie!”  Right on cue, he pointed to my poster, where it said that I’m American outside, but how I bleed red and green inside.  After pointing me out, he held his fuzzy arms in midair in a sort of triumphant gesture, then applauded.  I reached out my right hand and gave a firm shook.  Not wanting miss this moment, I immediately asked the first person I saw to snap a photo of me embracing Reggie with my iPhone.  Unfortunately, the most I could muster from behind the guard rail was a long high-five.  On top of that, my photographer totally botched my shot when she only captured half of Reggie’s head, and me giving some sort of weird gesture.  Nonetheless, I had just been in the presence of a legend!  In just one night, I met Mario Fenech AND Reggie!  I met not one, but TWO icons of the Rabbitohs!  Here I was, a stranger in a foreign land, and I had already felt like a natural born bunny among Australia’s finest fans!

"Fans love Reggie!"

“Fans love Reggie!”

 

"Reggie Rabbit, strutting his stuff!"

“Reggie Rabbit, strutting his stuff!”

"Shake hands, or rather, paws, with Australia's biggest bunny!"

“Shake hands, or rather, paws, with Australia’s biggest bunny!”

Meeting Reggie: A rite of passage for all Rabbitohs fans!

Meeting Reggie: A rite of passage for all Rabbitohs fans!

TO BE CONTINUED…

In the next part, IT’S GAME TIME!

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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3 Responses to Rabbitohs VS Storm Part II: Big Crowds, Bigger Bunny!

  1. Alisoun Brewster says:

    Did you have fun or what?!!!!!!

  2. scott hunt says:

    Glad you enjoyed yuour time in the Burrow mate – theres no better feeling than hearing Botany Road ring around ANZ – Its a pity we couldnt go the distance this year, heartbreaking in fact to come so close, but the pride of the league is going strong and the rabbitohs time to rise is coming!!

  3. Scott Hobday says:

    mate awesome article and pics. I hope you make it to another game down here one day and I will get myself down there also

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