What Combines Vegas, Halloween, Mardi Gras, 16 Countries And Thousands Of Fans?
Combine fervent athleticism, fan devotion, representatives from 16 nations and a heady mix of Halloween and Mardis Gras, and you get the HSBC Sevens World Series. It swept through Las Vegas over the weekend. On The Strip, we saw folks with scarves draped over their shoulders, burly men with beers chanting songs you couldn't understand and an exceptional display of fancy dress and original creations worn by adventurous men and a large number of imaginative women.
Maybe it's something about 14 men crashing into each other that brings out the fever, but the thousands who turned up at the Sam Boyd Stadium were super friendly, very supportive and everyone had a great time.
We covered some of the rules of the game in our previous VegasChatter report. If you missed the event, you can start prepping your face paints and outfits for next year. This annual face-off is gaining steam as a sporting occasion not to be missed.
While every country had their own supporters (shout-out to the awesome Samoan contingent), obviously, Team USA was on the majority of the audience's mind. After being knocked out in a great game against Australia, USA retreated to a group huddle, then went right back out to the stands to meet the fans, shake hands and sign autographs. Very classy. And, something you saw all weekend. Fan and player interaction was everywhere.
This proved very popular with many of the female attendees. And, our gallery (find it below) is clearly tilted in favor of the ladies who came out to support their teams. Well, they were the most colorful, interesting, brave, and not hard to spot. Really, it was very impressive and they loved seriously watching the game.
As to the dearth of photos of male fans, well, some of them looked like this fellow and few looked like they play solitaire for recreation on the weekend. (Actually this guy was a real gent. A hardcore supporter.)
We also wondered if there is a whole special rugby insider dress code that we're just not hip enough to understand.
The stadium created a fan zone featuring foods from around the nations. Dishes from the Pacific, English fish and chips, French crepes, even Kenyan items. And, more unusual souvenirs than your usual t-shirt. Plus, the music had a global tinge. Reggae hip-hop started the day.
So, even if you are not a fan of rugby, you might become one after a great day out during this contest. The game in this seven-a-side format is soooo fast, if you blink you can miss a change of fortune. Sideline cameramen unfamiliar with rugby were cursing while they changed lenses and missed a big play.
We'd like to take this moment to extend our apologies to the very charming Marilyn who entertained the crowds. Not even a VegasChatter pass could help get her in the VIP area. We tried.
Apparently, you need to know these ladies. We didn't. Fingers crossed for next year.
[Disclosure: VegasChatter received media access to this event.]