Day 144 of 366: Blog Challenge 2012
Something happens to people on the morning of the State of Origin Football Match (don’t panic I will explain this later for those who know nothing of all this).
There is an energy in the air. Even people who do not like football begin to sit up and take notice! And people who have been friends for years – but come from different States in Australia – suddenly become rivals. Okay okay, it’s time I explained for the non-locals amongst us. Well, let’s try at least.
Where do I begin to explain the meaning of State of Origin Rugby League Football? The history of this match is fraught with emotion and loyalty… to one state or the other:
QUEENSLAND v. NEW SOUTH WALES
Often referred to as “The Clash” because each team has at stake (if they lose) the ire of the people of the State they represent! You have no idea how far some people go with this folks, no idea at all. Let me explain.
The Origins of the Origin
Once upon a time, out of six states and two territories, there were only two states that played and loved Rugby League Football: Queensland (Qld) and New South Wales (NSW). The rest? Who cared about the rest! Victoria perhaps was (and still is) one-eyed and dedicated Australian Rules Football (Aussie Rules) FANATICS (and I mean FANATICS).
The rest of the States never seemed to care. Well, perhaps South Australia was pro-Aussie Rules. And so life went on like this for years and years. Now, here’s the thing. NSW was THE superior place to play Rugby League. Poor little backwater Qld was not sophisticated enough in those days (prior to 1980s) to matter. Half our Rugby league greats moved to the Big Time Sydney League as soon as they were considered worthy (or good enough) to play there.
In those days, Qld played NSW every season and guess what? Because all our Qld greats were playing in the respected (so-called) “National” League, they had to play for that state (NSW) and our poor underdog leftovers who played for the backwater weaker Qld League were thrashed. How many years did us Queenlanders hang our heads in shame as we were thrashed, beaten or destroyed? Too many folks.
Anger mounted … and mounted … and mounted. Well, one day, righteous anger got the better of some old players who thought it was time for things to change. One such person was a man known as “The Great Artie Beetson” and he and his mates decided that a special game would be held but this time:
The players originally from Qld would play the players originally from NSW.
STATE OF ORIGIN WAS BORN! The first game was played on the 8th July 1980. Artie Beetson led those proud Queendslanders out onto Lang Park and a roar so loud rang out around the suburb of Red Hill that it deafened the neighborhood. It was to be the best of three matches played every fortnight for six weeks. The first State of Origin Series had begun!
Now that the years have passed, guess who are getting thrashed these days? Certainly NOT Queensland! To be fair though, the state of football in Australia has altered considerably since those days and now the National Rugby League (NRL) is played over most of Australian states with even a team from New Zealand taking part.
But the State of Origin game is still as tough. Still as emotional. Still as competitive. Names have now been added:
THE BLUES (NSW) v THE MAROONS (QLD).
The Cockroaches (NSW) v. The Cane Toads (QLD).
Oh folks, it can get ugly around this time. I could tell some awful tales. So now I hope you can all understand the depth of emotion that the very words: STATE OF ORIGIN evoke in those of us who know the history which has been passed from generation to generation. Perhaps some of the younger ones do not even know why it is so fierce? Well, listen and learn!
And in closing, let me just say that our own NSW born resident, in the form of my husband Geoff, did not declare his hand for many years, not caring about any of it, until one fateful day in 1990 when he announced: “I am barracking for New South Wales everyone.” And he had the cheek to say it to us three Queenslanders (the kids and me) who were watching at the time. It is a wonder he is still alive to tell the tale!
However, to be fair, State of Origin is about which state you come from and he does hail from NSW so we must let him have his day. Now this year, Qld has won six series in a row folks so NSW is going to be very very hungry for a win tonight and it could all turn ugly! Let’s see what happens.
I think I can – as a Queenslander – be gracious enough to let NSW – aka the Cockroaches – win this series. Oh, I cannot believe I wrote that! However, I can’t take it back now. Poor old Blues, they must now know how us battlers used to feel when this sort of thing happened to us? So today, feeling magnanimous after a nice day out with girlfriends, I can help them feel good and allow them a win … just this time? Good for competition perhaps?
Hang on a minute … have I gone completely mad?!
LET THE GAME BEGIN!!