Unfortunately I was not told about this beforehand, or I would have taken part. We had seen an article about wearing a superhero costume in order to try to beat a world record of people wearing superhero costumes, and we thought that was just a fun, one-time event meant to increase crowd participation. It appears, though, that the superhero world record attempt plan blossomed out of the natural tendency of British rugby fans to dress up in whatever they have handy. We saw superheroes, yes, but we also saw “Where’s Waldo’s”, cowboys, bananas, doctors, priests and men in robes for no apparent reason.
What made this such a spectacle for us college students, who aren’t unused to the sight of costumes, was the fact that many of them were being worn by 40+ year olds. It wasn’t just the teenagers dressing up.
The rugby tournament we attended was the London Sevens tournament. This means that each team plays with just seven players and for a shorter period. This worked out quite well for us, allowing us to see a variety of teams and never getting boring. The U.S. won its first match of the day, and then lost to CANADA in the semi-finals. I was worried after watching the British fans boo and taunt the Australian team during their match, that we would see the same reaction. Luckily we did not receive the same greeting, and we gained some Australian supporters as well who, as you can see in the photo on the left, got rather animated during our match against our neighbors to the North.
Once the U.S. lost, I had to choose another team to support. I picked Fiji—- who believe it or not, dominated. The rest of my group seemed to join right in with the English fans, chanting and singing right along with them. I guess this was a safe bet as we were on their home turf. There were plenty of Scottish, New Zealanders, Australian, Welsh and other fans present as well, though.
I would not compare rugby fans here to football, basketball or baseball fans in the states. They belong in a league of their own. For instance, English fans inexplicably would sing “Swing low, sweet chariot” whenever their team played. Even stranger: the fans brought in their own instruments and formed makeshift bands. Every once in a while, a group of what I think were New Zealanders would just strike up a tune. It blew our minds that people were able to carry trumpets and drums into the stadium. We loved it!
Today we went to St. Paul’s Cathedral— most widely known for being the setting for the “Feed the birds” scene in Mary Poppins. This shows you the effect Disney has on our lives, because it should be better known for the fact that a church has stood on this site since 604 AD— a rather impressive figure.
The exercise was especially necessary after our lunch. Our breakfast and dinner take place in the college’s cafeteria, but lunches are up to us to find. And since we are living in a rather affluent area, we have trouble finding reasonable meals and typically end up just at the supermarket. Today was Monday, though. We had been waiting for Monday to come for days because on Mondays at this Dutch restaurant, they serve £5 pancakes. And as the waitress warned us, these “aren’t like American pancakes.” They are soooo much bigger and better. The largest plates I have ever seen + the best choices for ingredients= the best pancake of my life. As my friend from Texas, Jordan, put it “I guess everything isn’t bigger in Texas.”