Scotland v. Italy
Saturday was Italy v. Scotland, and a complete whirlwind of kilts, face paint, muddy rain boots, and bagpipes. I had flashbacks of childhood tailgating at UCONN games with the Wrinn clan (except Uncle Mike’s burgers were way better than what I bought here!). The Scottish pride was contagious, and my friends and I couldn’t help but joining in on the fun.
Despite being here for nearly a month, the match made me feel, for the first time, like I was truly in Scotland. (It was also the first time I could legally stand in a beer tent line). At the same time, while it felt so “Scottish,” the atmosphere reminded me so much of home. It was fun to see how team pride looks the same even across the pond. It was an absolutely freezing day, but most of the Scottish men wore kilts. I had assumed that the Italian fans would hate it, because it was so cold, but they were also joining in on the fun.
The beginning of the match felt like the Quidditch World Cup from Harry Potter–lots of waving flags, face paint, and screaming fans. The Scots came out first to dozens of bagpipes, a ginormous flag, and the national anthem (which was the most beautiful thing I have heard in a while). The Italians had just as much pride. Despite not knowing much about rugby, we befriended the family in front of us–a mom, dad, and two young boys–who were very keen on explaining the game to us. (Even though we got some disparaging looks from the 5-year-old). Basically, we just made sure that we cheered every time they did.
It was so weird to watch a sports event that didn’t stop every 10 seconds or have commentary! Surprisingly, though, it was really nice to enjoy the game from start to finish. The lack of commentary wasn’t missed, either, especially since the crowd made it very obvious whether the play was good or bad.
It was an exciting game because Scotland got a major lead pretty early on. The Scottish team is notorious for not being very good, but the excitement in the stadium would never lead you to think that. We (I think I can include myself in it by now!) had a 20 point lead up until the last half, when Italy started to get their act together, but Scotland still won by a marvelous 35-10. It was the perfect day to be in Scotland and wearing the flag on my face!
Funnily, I had some errands to run after the game, so we attracted some funny looks. News of the Scots victory spread pretty quickly, so walking down the Royal Mile felt like what Times Square must have felt like after WWII was over. Bagpipers were in full fashion, storefronts were open, and there was a lot of Scottish pride.
Murray Field hosted a lot of characters, including this group of Welsh men. We met them in line at the beer tent, and despite talking to them for a while, still have no idea why they were all together (notice the older gentleman along with the university students). There was also a woman dressed completely in purple tartan, the gladiators (from above), some Italians wearing clown wigs, and lots of men with the Loch Ness Monster on their heads. All in all, it was a very Scottish afternoon, and one of the best I have had here so far!