Last week was the third week of the Super 14. My beloved Highlanders had yet to register a win as they were desparately unlucky to lose the first two games (when it comes to luck all Highlanders fans know we have only two kinds: bad and none at all).
So it was with hope in our hearts and a jaunty bounce in our step that we went along to see the Highlanders play the Waratahs in Sydney last Friday night. The Highlanders were wearing their fetching new alternate strip:
and we settled down with our overpriced beverages and soggy pies to enjoy the game. But sadly there was absolutely nothing to enjoy there - the Highlanders played like they were afraid of the ball and the Waratahs ran right over us.
So of course there was much ranting about how they should pay us to bloody watch them, and how hard is it to win anyway? and rash statements about never watching them again. Honestly, Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch is so on the money for over-the-top fans it's scary.
And this weekend rolls around and we're playing the Crusaders. The Crusaders! The reigning champions! Who have won the title seven times! And we're second-last on the table! OK, so we managed to pull out a win against them last year but that was due to last round ennui on their part and some sort of Mephistophelean deal on ours.
And my god, what a game. Nil-all at halftime, nil-all after an hour, then we won the game 6-0. It's the lowest score in the history of the Super 14 - and incidentally the first time the Crusaders have been held scoreless - but you know what? We beat the Crusaders and that's all the record books will say.
I'm choosing to see this win tonight as the starting play of our inevitable and glorious finals victory, etc. Highlanders fans are forced to live in a world of delusion and fantasy, and sometimes it's almost worth it.