Tuesday, January 31, 2012
A sober Welly Sevens? Good luck
As I mentioned last year, the Wellington Sevens are not exactly tea and crumpets with grandmother.
In fact, the tournament, which is this weekend, is rather raunchy and very, very drunken.
It is perhaps the wildest communal loss of sanity that I've ever been part of. Its two redeeming qualities are: the astonishing creativity of the costumes people wear and, hey, it's a Sevens rugby tournament.
But did I mention it is very, very drunken?
While Amy and I saw a lot of highly amusing antics during the course of our day around the Sevens last year, we both remarked that, if things don't change soon, something bad was going to happen. Something real bad. You can't have that many people that drunk for that long with innocence preserved.
Well, it seems organizers of the tournament get that too.
They have announced that they are offering more than $75,000 in cash incentives to try to entice sevens fans to arrive at the tournament early and sober.
Not only are they after "messy" drunks - who were in evidence everywhere last year. In fact, several people saw themselves on the big screen - and therefore on the screens of folks at home - and promptly droped trou. We saw people falling down stairs and throwing up prolifically.
In addition to cutting down on extreme drunkenness, though, the folks behind the tournament want to try to tempt people to actually show up for the games during the early part of the two-day tournaments, when stands have been close to empty.
In order to get a full stadium before kick-off there will be a series of drawings that people can only claim if they are in their seats - prizes of up to $500 each.
There will also be big money awards for costumes and a fashion show with a $25,000 purse.
All I can say is, "God bless ... and good luck with that."
I'm afraid the culture of the weekend has already been set and it's one of debauched hedonism, of checking out of the mundane and doing precisely what you want for 48 hours. I'm not sure the chance to win $500 for having bum firmly planted in seat just after lunch time is going to do it. But I hope it does, because the mood of the Sevens will become very dark if the partying turns to tragedy.
The American Eagles Sevens team are in town for this year's tournament. They are training hard, meeting Kiwis and not doing any partying at all. The cute dogs in this picture did not, however, belong to the Eagles or the cheerleaders.