All Black and Red All Over

        This is getting a bit ridiculous: each new activity seems to inspire a dozen ideas for different adventures. Today's expensive, rewarding expedition is canyoning. Basically, it's the hikes and swims my family and I enjoy at Seven Tubs and Rickett's Glen taken to the extreme. We're not just hiking trails and dipping into the occasional pool. Instead, we're decked in full wetsuits, helmets, and climbing harnesses made specifically for canyoning complete with carabiners and some descending device that I think is called a figure 8. as we rappel (called "abseiling" here) down / through ginormous waterfalls. Aside from it being a bit chilly even with the wetsuits, this is just about as close to an ideal activity as I can imagine. From Rickett's Glen's many falls to accessing otherwise secluded beaches by the Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road, my mind's reeling with the possibilities if I get my own canyoning gear and gain proficiency.
        I played rugby for not even one full semester during college, and that was more than long enough for me to learn that it's one painful sport. Within minutes of my first time in my first game, I managed to chip multiple teeth. Think American football but without the pads. I can't recall meeting a single rugby player without at least 1 concussion.
        I bring this up because rugby is an obsession here. Especially lately: New Zealand's All Blacks have beaten the English-Irish Lions in a series of several games here. People take their rugby so seriously that enough Brits are here for the games to significantly increase the hostel prices. For me, one of the bigger mysteries of the universe is why fans of a sport where men are regularly kicked in the head with metal spikes interact so peacefully that the only crime-related headline they've drawn is praise from a local police chief for their good behavior. Keep in mind that we're talking about the same England whose soccer thugs got so violent that the country was actually suspended from some international league. Before we start drinking too heavily, one of my newfound English buddies explains it like "rugby is a hooligan's sport watched by gentlemen, and foodball is a gentleman's sport watched by hooligans." Compared to this same guy later diving chest-first onto the cement and me climbing and running into various streetside items towards the conclusion of our drunken night, this explanation almost makes sense:)

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