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Haka: A Sports Story Worth Noting

October 22, 2015

It must be an interesting sports story if it draws my attention in the newspaper.    Joel Stave always draws that attention as does something totally new to me.

Such as the Haka.

In the final moments before Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semifinal, the New Zealand All Blacks will pound their forearms and slap their thighs in unison, bellowing their way through the sport’s proudest ritual, a Maori dance known as the haka.

And while the All Blacks honor their heritage, their opponents from South Africa will take part in another time-honored tradition: just standing there.

Watching 23 burly New Zealanders perform the iconic dance before kickoff is one of rugby’s unwritten rules. The All Blacks, the greatest team ever to play the game, have earned that right over a century of dominance. But should South Africa choose to do more than watch on Saturday, then the 2015 Springboks would enter the small club of teams who have dared to challenge the haka.

A few brave souls have marched toward it. Others have stared it down in an effort to snatch back the haka’s psychological edge. But the All Blacks seem impossible to rattle.

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