They are the stuff borne of nightmares.
They are more terrifying than Donald Trump’s hair, Mike Tyson’s mind, and season three of Are You Afraid of the Dark?
They are the New Zealand All Blacks, and they’re coming for you.
Well, okay, maybe not you specifically, since you don’t play on a national rugby team. But if, in another life, you find yourself as a member of the Australia Wallabies or the South Africa Springboks, then you’ll be more screwed than Sarah Palin in a Katie Couric interview.
And how do I know that the All Blacks are the embodiment of Bane, Charles Manson, and Hades, or that their parents are the Hulk and a harem of banshees? Because even though I’m (purportedly) a rugby-loathin’ “Amurrican,” the All Blacks’ moniker rang a familiar refrain in my mind.
Still, this rampage squad was mostly rumor and hearsay before I arrived Down Under. Tales of demon-possessed New Zealanders and their haka, some will.i.am-inspired dance routine or something, were all I knew of these terrors from the South Pacific.
So it was without hesitation that I bought a Wallabies jacket in August — not only was it comfortable, but hey, I got it on sale, which my Mom would be proud to hear.
And now, two months later, I rue that day, trembling in fear that the All Blacks will find me out.
Because I finally saw what they could do to anyone who stood in their way. Last month, the Wallabies, All Blacks, and Springboks were all competing for the Tri Nations Cup, an annual competition for a big shiny trophy. Set outside the typical international competition, the tournament began in 1996, although the contests between Australia and the sheep-shaggers, er, New Zealand — oh man, I hope they don’t read this column — started in 1903. Ever since, the rivalries between the three nations have grown quicker than John McCain’s nose, and as any rugby player can attest, so have the friendships.
But friendliness and camaraderie come after the tournament, when the on-field blood, sweat, and tears — the latter often coming from the Wallabies and the Springboks — dissipate and the beer flows through the night. It’s the midst of the competition, when the hearts are pumping and the eyes are focused, that won’t get Barney singing anytime soon.