25 rounds, 192 games, #Origin on a Sunday, and a September Grand Final.
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The symmetrical oval shape of the rubber ball rests on a modern plastic device designed to elevate it from the turf on which it sits. Carefully prepared and nurtured grass, sprouting from the hallowed earth below.
Expanding out in its vibrant green in all directions, interrupted only by the occasional advertisement or perfectly measured line. Offset beautifully by four plastic posts, evenly spaced and extending at a 90 degree angle. Only to be dwarfed by their big brothers, giant concrete posts which are held together by an infinitely meaningful crossbar.
Interrupted only by a scattering of figures in varying pose, anchored in the turf by metal spikes protruding from synthetics. Surrounding a foot which extends in muscular curves to a fine physique, protected and represented by coloured material distinguishing their cause.
Identified by the curves of their face, which shows concentration. Intensity. Fear. Aggression. Eyes that show hunger and determination, often glistened by the heartbreak of defeat or the agony of pain. A window into the warrior within that fights exhaustion and presses on, sometimes calling upon instinct, often expectations, and always belief.
Eyes which always return to the focal point, the rubber ball which never remains still for long. Often cradled by an equally determined individual, sharing the burden of some men, opposing the rest. Guided by a select few who control the complex dance, interrupting the groan and cuss with an occasional high-pitched whistle.
All beautifully framed by well decorated planes of metal on all sides, combining to create a remarkable composition of lines and colour. The benign, calm state offered by the posts and ground perfectly complemented by the flurry of activity stirred by the athletic figures within. Seemingly random, yet deeply crucial and well observed movements.
Observed by thousands of figures outside the frame, all returning their gaze back to that same oval ball. Each and every one enchanted by the scene before them, themselves unknowingly adding to the rich tapestry. Unburdened by the weight of expectation of those below, replaced instead by the immense emotion brought on by outcome. Figures which share little of the impressive strength and athleticism of their heroes, made up for in abundance by enthusiasm.
Their eyes telling a different story to the athletes, filled with unbridled passion and immeasurable hope for their cause. Their emotions filling the air with cheers of joy and jeers of hate. Heard clearly and importantly by those figures below, providing inspiration. Meaning. Fuel for their battle.
All of which unfolds over a predetermined period of time. A mere slice in their lives; filled with countless moments where a unique myriad of lines, colours and emotions all come together in what can only be described as one thing.
A magnificent work of art.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to the finest art gallery in the world. Grander than the Louvre in Paris, finer than the National Gallery of London, more inspirational than the Uffizi Gallery of Florence.
This, folks, is Rugby League. The greatest and most prolific provider of endearing art that I have ever known. Formidable in its beauty, eternal in its provision.
Admired by tens of thousands on a weekly basis, our game is a thing of beauty which is appreciated far and wide. But it's easy to glaze over the fine details - with such an abundance of works for us to admire and drink in so regularly, it's almost impossible to admire each moment for its genuine beauty.
This author implores all of the like-minded art lovers across the land to take a moment to appreciate the finer things in our game. Every second of every match provides a snapshot as magnificent as the finest artwork across the globe. Impossible to capture with even the most cutting edge technology, brilliant artist or both combined; container of beauty and feelings which can be analysed and appreciated with unparalleled detail.
They might detail moments of heartbreak and victory; pain and determination, comradery and bravery; expectation and relief.
Over five thousand of these seconds occur every game. Thirty-five thousand seconds every weekend in our national game alone - perhaps a million in one season. Our national competition dates back almost one hundred years.
And there's thousands more works of art to come this very weekend. Head out to a game, and be sure to take a moment to admire what you see before you.
A true work of art.
Posted in the 'The Front Row' Forum Sevens Competition. To view the full competition, click here.
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