Via the NYT, here's a story about the rugby everyone in NZ seems obsessed with. Happily, good friend Jane sent me the link below so I didn't have to do too much research on exactly how it all works. Or how rugby itself is played.
Most great sports events come around once each year; others, like the Olympics and World Cup, a bit less often. But those who enjoy one of the classic rugby matchups must wait 12 years. Good news: This is the year. The British and Irish Lions face off against New Zealand beginning Saturday.
The Lions were first formed in 1888, a superteam consisting of the best players from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Every few years, the team would take the long journey to the Southern Hemisphere to take on Australia, New Zealand or South Africa.
Next, turn up your audio and check out the NZ haka, always a dramatic opening to rugby--and my favorite part--this one from 2011 (click here to view video if reading in email).
The haka is a type of ancient Māori war dance traditionally used on the battlefield, as well as when groups came together in peace. Haka are a fierce display of a tribe's pride, strength and unity. Actions include violent foot-stamping, tongue protrusions and rhythmic body slapping to accompany a loud chant. The words of a haka often poetically describe ancestors and events in the tribe's history.