Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dubai 7s!

It's been a while!

I have many excuses (I was lazy, I was busy, etc, etc), but I won't force you to listen to them.  Instead, I wanted to tell you about my trip to Dubai 7s at the beginning of December.

In a word: FUN!

I love the Dubai 7s. I've gone every year for the past four years. I'm not one to miss rugby tournaments, but I definitely refuse to miss the Dubai 7s. It is the be all and end all of rugby tournaments in the Middle East.

But let back up and explain it first.

So lets start with what is 7s? 7s rugby is  rugby played with 7 players from each team on the field. It's a big field. It's a game for sprinters (something I am not). It's fast paced, and only lasts 14 minutes.  Like 15s rugby, 7s is played by scoring trys at the goal line of the opposing team, but you have to do it while passing the ball backwards.

Confusing, right? I didn't understand it until I played my first tournament. Now, I feel like a pro (but there's still so many rules I don't know!)



So, in the Middle East we play rugby against our neighbouring countries. This is a regular thing.  What is not a regular thing is the International Teams joining us for a tournament.

At Dubai 7s, we get teams from New Zealand, from Scotland, from Canada (yay!), South Africa, Russia, and so, so, so many more.

There's different tiers of teams. We play in a more social group, so we're not playing against the International teams (who would just destroy us), but it is a big deal.

And until this current Dubai 7s, the Kuwait ladies rugby team had never won a game at the Dubai 7s. Never! We'd come close, losing by a try here or there, but we'd never actually won a game.

Well this year, we changed all that.

Sure, we started out by losing our first two games (I'm skimming over those because I hate losing). And then we played our third game...and lost by a try.

Same old.

But with rugby, just because you lose your pool it doesn't mean you're tournament is over. Instead, we got dropped down into a lower group to compete for what's called the plate (basically, the consolation final).

And finally it happened. At 9 am(!) we played against a team from Doha. And we fought, and fought, and fought (despite injuries and tiredness), until we won. I don't even know the score anymore, and I can't even remember what else had happened in that game.  All I know is I wanted to win so badly, and I played as hard as I could, even though my legs were screaming at me to stop running.

We had won our first game EVER at Dubai 7s.  AND we were through to the finals.

(Wow, this post got long - and I'm pretty sure it's confusing to anyone who knows nothing about rugby).

So the finals came. I tried to ignore the pain in my legs (and my thumb! I sprained it.). I was later told it looked like I was running through mud through the entire game. But I sucked it up, along with the six other players.

And for once, everything was going our way. Our opponents couldn't seem to pull things together. They dropped ball after ball and got penalty after penalty. It didn't take long for their teamwork to dissolve, while others only strengthened.

We spent the entire game in their half. Just pushing our way forwards, trying to find an opening.

We found it.

One try. The same measly one try we had lost by earlier. This time, it was ours.

We actually didn't just win our first game at Dubai 7s, we won a trophy. Our names were called over the loudspeaker (to thousands upon thousands of fans...who probably didn't notice-but hey, we did), and we celebrated.

It was an amazing end to a tournament. There were other highlights...like the freak rainstorm that caused it to pour INSIDE our hotel room, and there were the costumes, and the socializing, but the highlight was definitely that moment. The moment where we got to throw our hands up, and yell because we had won our first tournament.

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