Monday, September 14, 2009

The Rugby League Challenge Cup

I think that I've only mentioned my little gambling addiction here on one previous occasion, because when I had dinner with LWW it was one of the things that we talked about. I'm a member of a gambling syndicate, and just over two weeks ago, all the members of the syndicate that I belong to receive the following email from one of the gambling web sites that we use:

Hi Chaps,

The reason for the mail is basically that I have some hospitality planned at Wembley this weekend for the final of the Challenge Cup, and I would be delighted if you would like to join me on the day? I am not sure if Rugby League is your cup of tea but this promises to be a great day out.

Can you please let me know ASAP as these will go very quickly and I have to work on a first come first served basis.

All the very best,


Even though I've never been particularly interested in Rugby League, none the less I'm interested to go to see the cup final. The big finals of any type of sport always have a good atmosphere, so even if one doesn't follow the sport, as W said in his email it should be a good day out. Of course, it would also be nice to see the other guys in my gambling syndicate, but before I can contact any of them one of them sends me the following email:

I'm not available, and if I was, he's quite right, rugby league isn't my cup of tea at all; this is a prestige event though. Have you any interest in sweaty muscular young men wrestling with one another?

Well indeed, apart from the good atmosphere at such an event, there's also the homo-erotic aspect :-). Although all the other guys in my gambling syndicate are straight, needless to say they all know that I'm not!

It turns out that none of the other guys can make it, but I decide that it would be fun to go along anyway. When my host W from the gambling web site realises that I'm the only guy in the syndicate that's going to be able to go, he sends me another email to tell me that I can bring a friend if I want. So I send boyfriend T a txt msg:

Hey boyfriend, one of the web sites that my gambling syndicate uses has invited me to the Rugby League cup final next Saturday. I can bring a friend too, so do you want to come with me? We might have to pretend to be straight and talk about sport and cars LOL, but there'll be lots of hospitality, i.e. food and drink :-). Some British guys would probably kill for this opportunity! Anyway, let me know ASAP, GB xxx

Unfortunately with our impending holiday to Greece, boyfriend T has too much to do, so it's just going to be me after all.

In the UK, Rugby League is a sport that's predominately played in the north of England. So on the day, I get various emails and txt msgs from the other guys in my gambling syndicate, which would be interpreted as racist if one could regard people who live in that part of the UK as a separate race:

Make sure you take a flat cap and a black pudding to Wembley today, that way you'll be indistinguishable from all the other northern rugby league supporters.


If there's a lull in the conversation I'd try talking about whippets, or pigeon racing.

But of course they don't mean any harm, it's just the same kind of playground humour that teases me by asking me whether I'm interested in "sweaty muscular young men wrestling with one another"!

On the day, while I'm in a taxi on my way to the event, I start wondering what to do if any of the guys that I meet at the event ask me if I'm married. In my txt msg to boyfriend T, I was thinking that at such an event we'd have to play straight, but with a bit of thought I realise that that would be wrong. The only reason to play straight is so that the straight guys won't feel uncomfortable! But in fact it's important for gay guys to come out whenever they can, so that the population at large can see that we're no different from anyone else, and that gay guys are everywhere. So I promise myself that I won't pretend to be straight.

Within half an hour, I've met my host W and we're making our way up the escalators inside Wembley and into a smart room where lunch is being served.

"So are there many people in our party?" I ask W.

"There'll just be six of us today :-)," replies W, "and you're the third to arrive."

Soon I'm chatting to W and his other two guests about sports and gambling. It turns out that apart from W, none of us are big Rugby League fans, but like me they've all just come along for the occasion and a good day out. As we continue to chat, it seems highly unlikely that anyone will ask me about my personal background. A bit later, when the match starts, luckily one of these guys knows the rules well and is able to explain exactly what's going on.

"It's quite exciting, isn't it :-)," I remark casually after about 20 minutes.

"Actually I think they designed the Rugby League rules to try and keep the game moving," he replies, "so it's deliberately designed to be as exciting as possible!"

We have a few more drinks during the interval, and then during the second half, I find myself sitting next to W. However, after about ten minutes, W suddenly asks me the key question:

"Are you married, GB?"

So, here it is after all. What on earth do I say? All the other guys that we're with are watching the match, and with the noise of the crowd, only W will be able to hear my reply.

"Actually, I split up from my long term partner last year," I reply slowly.

I know that using the word 'partner' should raise the possibility in his mind that I'm gay. Straight guys would naturally say wife, or girlfriend, or fiancé! But summoning up the courage that I promised myself, I decide that I can't leave it there.

"But I've got a new boyfriend now :-)," I continue.

For the next ten minutes W is silent. Perhaps he doesn't know any gay guys and is stunned to realise that he's sitting next to one! So I start to make a bit of conversation about the match and soon he's chatting with me like before.

At the end of the match, one W's other guests makes a comment about the two teams:

"Warrington played well, they made Huddersfield look like a bunch of poofters!"

More playground humour, just like I get from the guys in my gambling syndicate. W looks at me slightly nervously, wondering what I'll make of the comment but I just smile :-). I hate political correctness, so it doesn't matter to me what language people use!


Sir Wobin said...

Clearly your mates have never seen poofters play rugby! They're just as competative as other rugby teams.

It's a great game to watch at league level. What did you think of the players GB?

Cody in CT said...

Gee--a banker who likes to gamble. You could probably get a job on Wall Street.

Jay said...

Or in planning the next recession! Ahaha

I'm glad you took a stand in something you believe in.


MadeInScotland said...

well, call you Derren Brown.

Should we have dinner again? Your shout I think this time-email me!


Anonymous said...

You're right there Sir Wobin.

Good work on not playing secrets GB and sounds like you had a fun day out.

I wonder how different it is in the UK but in Aust - rugby league is always mired in scandal. Every so often someone is busted for sexual assault, domestic violence, peeing in the street, public assault. All of that has really tarnished the game and it is hard to appreciate the game for what it is when the players and others involved seem to be such a bunch of *^%&s.

Fortunately there are no shortage of ball sports so one can turn to AFL or Rugby Union or the rising star here - soccer.

GB said...

Well, LWW, the players were all incredibly heterosexual looking. Very rough and dominating! Do you like your men like that?

But then I'd have to work in New York, Cody, so I think I'll pass on that one :-).

Did you get my email MadeInScotland? If you sent a reply I didn't get it.

I'm not aware of any scandal associated with Rugby League in the UK, mm, quite the reverse in fact. It's always the soccer players who're making the headlines for the wrong reasons. I reckon both types of Rugby have a pretty solid image here.

GB xxx

close encounters said...

impressive identity assertion as always, GB !

btw, do you think W went silent because he was interested in you ?

mm, Rugby Union is the one that's in trouble over here lately ...

GB said...

No close encounters, LOL, I don' think he was interested in me at all. W is very straight, I think he was just shocked!

GB xxx