Friday, October 3, 2008

A hive of activity for an evening of worship

The day is almost upon us; the hour is almost here.

In scarcely forty-four hours, Tony Archer's starting whistle will blow, and Manly and Melbourne will go head-to-head for glory in the 2008 NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium.

We might be still two days out, but this morning it was buzzing like a stirred-up hive at the stadium. Groundspeople, caterers, sound technicians, advertisers - everyone seemed to be swept up in the flurry of activity.

What happens here on Sunday evening will be about as near to worship as it gets for most Australians (possibly only to be topped by a visit to the Cascade Brewery).

Standing the middle of this bustle this morning, it was hard to believe: all this is for a crowd that will yell for eighty minutes at a bunch of blokes in studded boots chasing each other (and a ball) around a patch of turf. And most Sydneysiders call that 'transcendence'.

I think I'm slowly getting a sense of why they call it the 'hallowed turf' - because on Sunday evening, for 83,000 Australians, it will be holy ground. I doubt I'll be watching the game, but being here, even with the stadium empty, I can glimpse something of the magnitude.

And it makes me glad my acts of homage aren't spent on football; I think that will be vindicated by Monday morning. Centuries of humans revelling in 'sporting glory' still have not convinced me that this 'corporate worship' makes sense of life's big questions.

But I do imagine it will be roaring good fun.

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