I love pomp and circumstance before sporting events.
Rituals before and during sporting events are important. As a hockey player in high school and college, I would always go into the locker room a little earlier than my teammates to start putting my gear on. I saved putting my helmet on for right before our coach came in for a final pep-talk before the game. Putting on my helmet meant it was go-time, and I was going to play my heart out. I got the same thrill each and every time I stepped onto the ice.
I was exposed to rugby in college, as one of my club hockey teammates and a fellow recreation major had previously played. It always looked like fun, but my teammate was forever recovering from concussions, so I decided playing might not be the greatest idea. I don't remember how I found out about the New Zealand All Blacks, but I remember being impressed by their black uniforms and the speed that they ran down the field.
Watching/listening to the hakas performed by these teams before tests (matches, games) really pump me up. "Haka" is the Maori word for dance, and each haka tells a different story. They are performed before important matches to show the teams intent and to intimidate the opposing team. I sometimes keep the Kamate Haka on Repeat on my iPod before bike races. I'd love to learn it, but I think I might have to start playing rugby for that.
Adidas "Impossible is Nothing" TV Spot - New Zealand All Blacks
2007 Churchill Cup - New Zealand Maori vs. Ireland A - Timatanga Haka
New Zealand All Blacks vs. France - Kamate Haka
Until next time, ride long and keep the rubber-side down.