On Saturday, England took on the Republic of South Africa for the Rugby World Cup. Some of the boys took a little vacation to catch the game in an appropriate environment.
Ye Olde Tyme Lion's Pub (or YOTLP) bristled with excitement. The English rugby team, 2006's reigning World Cup champions, had defied the odds (and their own talent) to return to the apex of the sport's competition. Anyone who paid any attention was out tonight, pint in hand, ready for a repeat championship.
Wilford the bartender set a pint of Carling on the rail, accepted payment and turned to the cash register. "Excuse me," squeaked a voice. Wilford turned around to greet what he was sure to be an under-age customer (blasted 17-year olds!). But when he turned, all he saw were the throngs of spectators turned toward giant televisions.
"Excuse me, down here!" Wilford took off his monocle, wiped it quickly, replaced it and leaned over the bar. Just below bar-level stood a 30-year old man. My word, what a short chap! thought Wilford the bartender. "Four Kronenbergs please!"
Nick Punto passed out the beer as he returned to the table. "Thanks," said Lew Ford. "Thanks, eh," said Justin Morneau. Johan Santana inclined his head in acceptance. Rugby analysts bantered on the televisions, each one acting like a mirror, making head-level of the pub a reflection of itself 360 degrees around. Four men in baseball uniforms sat facing the largest screen of all on the side wall.
"This should be exciting," said Justin as the teams entered the first scrum of the evening.
"Yeah," agreed Lew, whose Twins jersey was no longer MLB approved. Since he opted for free agency, he'd created his own synthetic fiber and had now manufactured at least three alternate jerseys for each team in Major League Baseball. And the AAA affiliates. Each uniform was constructed of recycled dungeon maps from all the times he'd been Dungeon Master during his weekly D&D tournaments hosted in his basement. He laughed joyfully as an English player took Bryan Habana for a ride through the air before slamming him to the turf. "DON'T BE A TOSSER, ROLL YOUR BOWLS!!!" he shouted.
"Lew, that's cricket," said Nick.
"What?" Lew was sure he'd studied up on the appropriate cheers for the appropriate sport.
"Yeah dude, that's definitely cricket," concurred Justin.
"Si," said Johan.
"So...I can't say boy them's some sticky wickets?"
Johan shook his head slowly. "No."
"So...I can't say nice sweep?"
"Not even I might be a tail ender but Nicky's the rabbit?"
Once more the stoic Venezuelan shook his head. "No."
"What do you mean I'm the," Punto put quotation marks in the air, "rabbit?"
"Usted nunca sabrá, Mendoza," replied Johan.
"That's cold, eh," said Justin, shaking his head but concentrating on the game. "England's about to tie it up at three. Who is this Jonny Wilkinson anyway?"
Wilkinson lined up and kicked the ball and, straight and true, passed between the uprights to tie the game. "He's like Joe Mauer," said Lew. "And if the Brits can't land a try, he's their only hope against Percy. That guy's a scoring machine." While Ford may not have studied the correct game's terminology you had to hand it to him--he knew his players!
As the half wound down and it had become clear that South Africa was going into the half with a 9-3 lead, Wilford the bartender came around. "Those up-and-unders aren't working, are they boys?" Punto, Morneau and Santana just stared back.
"Not much open-field play," replied Lew when it became clear that a combination of beer and lack of knowledge wasn't helping his former teammates. "England is going to pay for all those penalties."
"OI!! DID YOU JUST INSULT THE QUEEN?!?" A bystander had overheard and clearly taken offense. "I over'eard you and clearly, YANK, am taking offense!"
"England podría utilizar una ofensa pequeña en este momento," said Johan, putting a hand on Justin's shoulder to avoid him standing up and causing trouble. The drunk Brit was a chav, but that didn't mean they were looking for a fight!
"Wot?" The young English lad clearly wasn't bilingual. (Neither is the author.)
"Listen, Wilford," squeaked Punto once more, "how about four more beers and another one for our friend here?" Wilford the bartender cleaned his monocle, scanned over the four strangely dressed Americans and waddled back to the bar.
"Oi, cheehs mates," grinned the chav. "'oo Yanks ahn't too bad, aye." All four stared back at the stranger, nodded and smiled without understanding what he'd said, and turned back to the television.
"El lleva demasiado joyas."
"I hate it when he does that," said Punto to Morneau and Ford. "He speaks English, we all speak English, but he still speaks Spanish." Santana smiled, enjoying the frustration he was imposing on his teammates.
Mark Cueta opened the second half with a blast for the Brits, nearly scoring a try. As loud as the pub was when they thought he'd scored, the jeers were just as boisterous when the officials called him in touch (out of bounds). Again the bar erupted as yet another penalty was called on England, and it didn't get better when they lost another lineout. RSA hadn't lost a lineout or a scrum the entire night. The tide of the game was slowly but surely swinging toward South Africa.
"Looks like this game is all but over boys," said a dejected Nick Punto. Even though none of them were really familiar with the game, it was easy to empathize with the crowd. After all, they'd been part of disappointing performances before. "What should we do after this?"
"I think we all need some cheering up," said Lew. "So what I think we should do is this--hear me out: I've been tracking player stats and applying attributes, and I think I could plug them into my D&D program. We could stay up late, create rugby characters into my online gaming community, and see how they do!"
"That's an absolutely horrendous idea," said Justin, knocking back the last of his Kronenberg. "How about we go find a Jimmy Johns, I'm starved. England got Jimmy Johns?"
"Creo que no," said Johan.
"Sounds like a 'no'," sighed Punto. "Maybe we can go buy some sympathy cards and send them to the English rugby team?"
"That sounds good, I like that," smiled Justin. He was Canadian, after all, which meant he was predisposed to be friendly. He'd already landed the jet after both pilots had decided to take naps, and he'd also pulled two rails of steel together to keep the Underground moving freely. But he was due.
Santana checked his watch. "We've got four hours to get it done; our flight back to the states leaves in seven hours." Now he speaks English? (Thank goodness I was tired of translating for him!)
On their way out of YOTLP, the chav stopped them with a huge smile on his face. Swaying back and forth, hardly able to stand, he shouted "Cheehs fo' the Kronenberg boys, it's my favourite!"
All four Twins (or former Twins) left the pub confused, wondering exactly how they could tell that the chav spoke the word 'favorite' with a superfluous 'U'.