For The Love Of Rugby
Two new things happened to me yesterday. First, I watched a rugby game from start to finish and actually concentrated. Then, and this is directly related to the first thing, without which the second wouldn’t have happened, I wrote a rugby story for the television news. That’s right, a proper rugby story with tries and conversions and men being knocked to the ground and the same men roughly grabbing each other’s crotches. Yes, the full shebang.
Easy I hear you say? What are you complaining about? This would be a dream job. Well yes, it would be if one were to say enjoy rugby but for this chickadee who has dutifully avoided all things rugger for nearly half a century, it was a huge ask. I questioned my producer.
“Are you sure you want me to write you a rugby story”, I said, “I don’t even know how it is scored, I have no idea what the rules are, I don’t know any of the players, I don’t even know who’s playing whom”.
Yet, my pleas of ignorance were ignored. Instead I was implored to see it as an opportunity, a chance for me to extend my bow and become more useful to the newsroom.
All right then; a challenge, I do like a challenge. If there is one thing we Bradleys are good at it is never giving up. That is why we run marathons, even though we are not blisteringly fast.
So, here I am late at night at the TVNZ studios in Wellington. I watch the Crusaders vs. England.
I am recording the match onto our computer server and as the game unfolds I edit the bits where either team scores onto a video file. Tries and conversions seem to be the only way they can score, although I do believe there are drop kicks, although none tonight.
At the end of the game, a mere 40 minutes before TVNZ’s Tonight goes to air, I make my way to the edit suite, where the talented Luis, our editor extraordinaire from Venzuela is waiting for the highlight of his evening (ahem).
“Luis, could you please get the best shots of the tries and conversions, while I put the final touches on my script?” I ask.
“What is a conversion?” he says. For a moment the world stands still. OMG, he doesn’t know what a conversion is either. I had only found out myself two hours earlier.
It is time to call in the big guns. That’s right, Sam the cameraman. I hear through the traps that he knows how rugby is scored. Sam kindly sits in the edit suite with me and Luis and we manage to get the story cut and to air on time. I am quietly proud.
I hear nothing for several days (phew, no news is good news in this instance, I reckon), until a return to the newsroom the following week. I intercept a call from one of the sports producers and he says while my story was accurate it was unusual to show every conversion and in fact it would have been unusual to show even one conversion. It was also highly irregular to show when a conversion was missed! Well go figure. I will know for my next assignment as Serious Television Journalist Sportif.