Thursday, 19 May 2011

Origin: Die Harder. Josh Dugan Represent.

There's nothing quite like State of Origin for bringing out qualities in people that are normally associated with the chronically insane. Of course, the quietly maniacal, everyday behaviour of Queenslanders already leans toward the insane side of the scale, so you have to make certain allowances for them, but us Southerners are used to this. After all, we've only been doing it since federation.

Seeing huge heaving crowds of hysterical people draped in maroon or blue and foaming at the mouth in excitement and anger and adoration and abject misery all at the same time is something that makes me feel hand-on-my-heart and lump-in-my-throat proud to be Australian. Just watching the whole spectacle of state against state play out in the stands alone makes me well up with pride and love for the place. I assume how I feel at Origin time about Australia is the way Americans feel about America ALL the time. Phew. It's a nice enough sensation, you understand, but I imagine it would get a little mindless. Not to mention exhausting. I know after the whole Origin Extravaganza is over for me I'll be in dire need of a few days respite unwinding in a canvas chair.

...or a hammock

You know how grand finals these days invariably end up being between two teams that you either barely tolerate (the Eels, the Dragons), or flat-out loathe (the Storm, Manly), and just watching them requires moody, excessive drinking to stave off the inevitable feelings of hostility (for the teams that are there) and loneliness (for your team that isn't there)? For all the fanfare, they can be a special kind of hell, made all the more potent by the fact that the colourless void that is the off-season lies right on the other side of the siren. No, you can keep grand finals as far as I'm concerned.

Origin, however, is the real deal. Origin is where it's at.

State versus state. Mate versus mate. These six words alone should be enough to induce chills, or boners, or both, in anyone even remotely interested in league. For the true believers, Australia's most divisive sporting rivalry is just a fucking awesome fiesta of fierce, from go to whoa.

In the bizarre event that this isn't enough to set your excitement-o-meter to shudder, there's also the very real promise of fuck-off-fantastic brawls. Not your average, garden variety bar-room punch up either. No. Origin delivers the very best in all-in-brawl entertainment, live and (largely) unregulated. At any given moment the loosely leashed forces of any given player could (and most probably will) flame into violent action. Basically, there will be blood.

Listen for the Origin bell people, it tolls for thee. Defy it at your peril.

If this doesn't trigger a rush of blood to the head and a swelling of the heart then you may need to take a good hard look at yourself. For real.

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