Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Hong Kong Sevens

This year I was lucky enough to go to the Hong Kong Sevens, the largest (and only) international sporting event that takes place annually in Hong Kong over two days and three nights of debauchery and drunken revelry.
Basically, the tournament consists of rugby teams from all over the world, coming together to play in a round robin series of shortened matches, with 7 men or women per team (instead of the usual 15).  The US did a great job, coming in fifth this year.  Fiji won again for the second time in a row.
I went with a friend of mine whose office has a nice box and reserved seating.  We went on Friday night, the first night, which is relatively more tame (supposedly) than the weekend days and nights.
The matches are held in Hong Kong stadium in Causeway Bay, and expats and locals alike do not blink twice at the ridiculous display of grown adults dressed in full costume lining up at 6:30 am to get into the south stands (a rowdy (and, frankly, dangerous!) area designated for the full-day nonstop drinking crowd), or the random groups of drunken men and women running around in a stupor in the full light of day, or the complete lack of taxis and horrific traffic that plagues the entire north side of Hong Kong island the entire weekend.

That said, the enthusiasm in the stadium is hard to ignore, and it is even harder not to be excited when you get in under the bright lights.  The energy is infectious.
And rugby players are shockingly fit.  I had a good view into their warm up pit.
I sat outside to watch the US team play against Portugal (beating them handily, woo hoo!) before venturing back into the air conditioned box to eat dinner and sip wine and chat with my friend's friends and co-workers.
The south stand (packed to the brim) is at the far end of the field in my picture above.  Before leaving, I got a glimpse of a New Zealand All Black outside of the box, who stood at least (or what felt like) two feet above me.

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