In an ever-changing world where instant gratification rules and fake news tells us everything we don't need to know, there is an oasis on hand every year at this time where we can crouch and hold and let the crazy world stand still for a while, well for the weekend anyway.

I'm talking about the farewell to summer and the welcoming in of autumnal beauty and even more beautiful than that, big fat feijoas and weekend club footy.

Ah, for the sweet smell of changing room liniment and the reassuring shrill of the referee's whistle.

Goal posts have had a lick of fresh paint and the freshly mown field has lines well inked, and by halftime so are the supporters. All part of the religion we know as club rugby.


What a garden of pure 100m of pure green grass delight. "Where have you been for so long my mighty blue and blacks of Maramatanga Park?" I felt myself asking the hallowed turf of where I worship rugby, and I am sure it is no different for any other club rugby supporter in the Bay.

As you hit the sunset years of life you count life in seasons, some do it in summers and, for many of us following our favourite footy team, club rugby is the measurer of old age.

It's a timeout like no other and this last weekend was the kick off for 17 wonderful weeks of club rugby.

Week one is always memorable with familiar faces back on the sideline cheering and swearing at anyone who will listen but mostly at the ref.

"He's been doing it all day ref!" is an oldy but a goldy call from the sideline, quickly countered with a "so have I and I've got the whistle," from the man in the middle.

Right across the land of the long white try line, mums and dads and dedicated followers of footy head down to their local rugby club to dine on hot chips and cold drinks, all served up on a platter of warm club rugby spirits.

Nothing matters on a Saturday afternoon at 2.45pm and for the next couple of hours, the rest of the world can shut up shop.

The selfish can spend more miserable money on themselves and the wounds of the week suffered by the same old pale male stale $10 Tauranga crust power customers are healed by the balm of knowing the common unity of a caring community will always win the big battles.

For one sacred day, the scary "Commander in Beef" of the far from United States can go play with his own Easter eggs, and even though he may supposedly be in charge of the Oval Office - if there is anyone left there who hasn't been fired or hired by the Ruskies, he will never be in charge of the oval ball that bounces up and down the footy paddock of Aotearoa New Zealand.

We may not have made it on to the shortlist for Barack's banquet or dined on a fresh feed of South Island whitebait but the Hui Aranga fundraising hangi down at the clubrooms yesterday was fit for a king and a queen, let alone an also-ran President, who I must say was like all blessings in life, you don't know how good they are until they have gone and Obama for me was the best president by far in my lifetime.

In fact, comparing Obama to Commander in Beef - with a personality the size of England's first test innings at Eden Park, is akin to comparing Steven Hawking to Jumbo the Clown, although the real Jumbo had a great memory for the facts and never had to fake it to make it.

So fellow followers of weekend club rugby, we crouch and we hold, and wait for another weekly crisis to hit our headlines. Hopefully, it will come and go like winter itself, who waits knocking at the door with a veritable feast of weekend footy.

And at end of the first day of club rugby, besides it being night time, it is time to give thanks for the small things in life that matter most. We take in the tackle pads and flag posts and take out the empties from a thirsty crowd and two teams who left it all on the field.

We thank the ref and the ladies for the kai, then draw the raffle and wander off home to our warm whare - if we are lucky enough to have one this winter.

Win draw or lose, it doesn't matter too much to me. Yeah, nah, it does really. What does matter is Monday tastes a lot sweeter with a weekend of club rugby under the belt. Tommy Kapai Wilson is a local writer and best-selling author.