My husband Anthony loves rugby, specifically the All Blacks. If you didn't know this, you either don't know us or you have been living under a rock.
Before a big game, he paces around the room boxing invisible opponents. When he watches the All Blacks, he stands up and yells instructions to his team. I'm sure they have won many a game by listening to his expertise. He leans forward and claps his hands ridiculously fast, these short little claps. When they are doing well, he yells out;
Whey they are losing, he yells at them, telling them the right way to do it. I really wonder how after all his years of expertise coaching from the couch, why don't they listen to his suggestions?
Every four years, an event rolls around that overshadows everything else in the Bush household: The Rugby World Cup.
Anthony eats, drinks, and sleeps rugby at this time. Often he will come up to me with exciting rugby information and I feel my eyes glazing over. This may make me sound like a 'bad wife' but you would too if you heard about it every 3-5 minutes of the day for about 8 weeks.
Back in 2003, Anthony was serving his mission for our church. He was one of those Mormon Missionaries in the white shirts and black badges. He served in Brisbane and The Rugby World Cup happened to take place during one of his two years out serving.
Being a missionary means giving up music, television, money, and a lot of other material things so these boys can truly focus on what they chose to do- serve and teach others about Christ.
For Anthony though, the sacrifice was great as it meant NO WORLD CUP! He would miss his beloved All Blacks fighting for the title of World Cup Champions. He would ask for updates along the way from people he interacted with, but that was about the extent of it.
The semi-finals rolled around and of course the All Blacks made it to this point in the competition. They were playing Australia so Anthony knew it was going to be a tough game from the start. At this point in his mission, he and his current companion were sharing a flat with two other companionships, so there were six of them living together in a flat in Brisbane. One of these other missionaries was from New Zealand also, so he too had a vested interest in this match.
After a long day out, Anthony and his companion arrived home, where he called up a friend who lived in the area in which he was serving. Knowing his friend would be watching the game, he asked where the scores were at with ten minutes remaining in the game.
The news was bleak. It was all over. Australia was clearly going to win, therefore knocking the All Blacks out of the competition.
Anthony and his fellow Kiwi missionary took the news hard. When an All Black fan finds out his team has lost, it isn't just anger or disappointment, it's devastation - trust me, I have seen it first hand. They pass through the stages of grief.
Stage One: Shock and Denial - Silence followed by "What! I can't believe it's happened again!"
Stage Two: Pain and Guilt - "Man, I feel physically sick to my stomach. My chest hurts".
Stage Three: Anger and Bargaining - "That flippin ref sucked! If it wasn't for those rubbish calls we would have made it!"
Stage Four: Depression - "Well, that's another one down the tube. What a waste of four years".
Stage Five: Acceptance - "It's over. It's really over. It's like someone has died. Seriously, like someone has actually died. I can't go to work tomorrow. Where's that ice-cream?"
For Anthony and his fellow Kiwi missionary, the news resulted in them BOTH getting into the shower TOGETHER whilst FULLY CLOTHED and whilst HUGGING, they sung away their sorrows to Dave Dobbyn's "Loyal".
Part of me wishes I had been there to witness this. The other part of me is glad it wasn't, as the idea of a future wedding would have probably been scrapped in that moment.
Years down the track, that die-hard All Black fan still exists in Anthony. He is still yelling at the players when they fumble the ball, still fast-clapping with excitement, and still giving advice to deaf ears, but amidst it all – I stand back and smile.