‘Tag rugby is, like, speed dating for South Dublin people’
Time for the Rossmeister to show this LinkedIn team what actual rugby is
I walk into the bedroom to find Sorcha standing in front of the full-length mirror in her tennis gear. “I’m going to be late tonight,” she goes. “I’ve got rugby after work.”
You can call me petty but I decide I can’t let that go.
I’m there, “You mean you’ve got tag rugby after work, Sorcha.”
She rolls her eyes and goes, “Rugby, tag rugby – what’s the actual difference, Ross?”
And I can feel my body suddenly shaking.
I’m there, “Put it this way, Sorcha – if you were playing actual rugby tonight, you wouldn’t be wearing the same clothes you wear for the Glenageary Lawn Tennis Club’s annual Mother and Daughter Doubles Championship.”
She goes, “Oh my God, Ross, are you crying?”
“If I am crying, it’s because what you said is an insult to anyone who’s ever played the actual game. Can you imagine if that window was open and Luke Fitzgerald happened to be in the gorden?”
“Why would Luke Fitzgerald be in our gorden?”
“I’m using Luke Fitzgerald as an example. Ask him the difference between rugby and tag rugby. Yeah, he wouldn’t be long telling you.”
“If you’re suggesting that one is serious and the other is less serious, then you couldn’t be more wrong. Tonight’s match is a real grudge match.”
“Why, who are you playing?”
“Jesus, if Luke found out that I was even having this discussion with you . . .”
“There’s a goy playing for them who used to work for LinkedIn. He was actually on Steve’s special projects team until he moved to Facebook for more money.”
“I’m sorry,” I go, “I’m cutting this conversation dead.”
I go to walk out of the room and that’s when Sorcha says the most hurtful thing she could possibly say to me. She goes, “Maybe the reason you don’t like me playing rugby is because I’m a woman.”
That ends up hurting me deeply. It’s a well-known fact that I was one of the earliest and most enthusiastic supporters of women’s rugby. I’ve been friends with Fiona Coghlan since we were, like, 15 and I used to let her use me as a tackle bag until she hit me so hord in Herbert Pork one night that I was sure I felt my liver move and she had to drive me to Vincent’s for an X-ray.
What Sorcha said ends up bothering me for the entire day – to the point where even Honor is worried about me.
“What the fock is your problem?” she goes. “You’ve had a face on you all day.”
She’ll be flirting her orse off right now – probably with that Steve guy who she’s always talking about
I’m there, “Thanks, Honor. Yeah, no, it’s just something your old dear said to me. I told her that tag rugby wasn’t a proper sport and she accused me of basically sexism.”
Honor laughs. She goes, “You know why she’s being so defensive, don’t you?”
I’m like, “Er, no.”
“Because tag rugby is, like, speed dating for South Dublin people.”
“Er, I thought everyone knew that? Oh, yeah, she’ll be flirting her orse off right now – probably with that Steve guy who she’s always talking about.”
“He’s her team leader, Honor – that’s the only reason she’s always talking about him.”
“She’ll be wearing her tight-fitting tennis gear, batting her eyelids at him, asking him to show her how to hold the ball.”
I suddenly stand up. I’m like, “Get your brothers and put them in the cor.”
She goes, “Where are we going?” with a big smile on her face.
And I’m there, “Morley Pork.”
Half an hour later, we’re in, like I said, Morley Pork and we’re standing on the touchline watching a match – if you want to use that word – between LinkedIn and Facebook.
“This is some bullshit!” little Brian shouts. And even though that’s kind of his catchphrase, in this case his analysis happens to be spot-on. It’s basically a bunch of workmates throwing a ball around against another bunch of workmates.
But this Steve dude is taking it so seriously. He’s, like, running circles around everyone, skipping tackles and scoring tries at will, then clapping his hands together and going, “Come on, LinkedIn – let’s let these goys know they’re in a match.”
They’re not in a match.
Honor goes, “Oh my God, he’s an amazing rugby player, isn’t he?” and I know she’s only saying it to wind me up.
Every time she finds herself with the ball in her hands, she gets rid of it like it’s incriminating evidence
I’m there, “It’s not rugby, Honor. I rest my case.”
“Look at the way Mom keeps looking at him! She’s making it so obvious that she likes him!”
But that’s not what I’m seeing at all. As I’m looking at Sorcha, in her white shorts and her brand new Stan Smiths, all I can think is, she is the worst tag rugby player I’ve ever seen in my life.
Seriously, every time she finds herself with the ball in her hands, she gets rid of it like it’s incriminating evidence. And while I love my wife very, very much, this is one of those rare occasions when I look at her and think, “Jesus, Rossmeister, what have you married?”
Anyway, Steve is obviously regretting asking her to play, because at one point he passes the ball to her and she basically screams and throws it to one of the girls on the Facebook team, who then scores a try. And the dude lets rip at her. He’s like, “Jesus Christ, Sore Chah, it’s not Pass the Parcel!”
Thirty seconds later, he has the ball in his hands and he’s weaving his way through the opposition. And that’s when I notice that I’ve entered the field of play and I’m running straight for the dude. He turns his head and sees me, but I’m moving like a runaway train and he doesn’t have time to do anything except brace himself for the impact.
I hit him hord around the waist and all the air leaves him like a balloon bursting. He ends up hitting the deck – and spilling the ball, needless to say. I stand up and I look down at him, his eyes spinning like two Magic Eight Balls. He’s wheezing like a man with a sixty-cigarettes-a-day habit.
Like Ronan, basically.
Sorcha goes, “Oh! My God!” really laying on the dramatics. “What was that?”
And I’m like, “That, Sorcha, is what they call rugby.”