If you’re looking for a costume party tomorrow in Hong Kong it’s best to go south – the south stands of Hong Kong Stadium that is.
The Hong Kong Sevens – an international rugby tournament – has begun in Causeway Bay.
And while it’s a major sporting event – it’s really a party like no other.
On the field 28 teams from around the world compete on the pitch while ticket holders are throwing back beer, making friends, and having a blast.
The festivities are the rowdiest in south stands, where the outfits are the most outlandish and the fun is punctuated by laughs, dancing, fist pumps and an occasional rugby ball being tossed in the air… away from security’s grabby hands.
NewsWhistle took in the sights today and can’t wait to tell you what many around the world already know: one party plus one costume plus three days of rugby equals the Hong Kong Sevens.
Yeah, we know, the calculation isn’t on the mark. But no one is really keeping score in the stands so why should we do the math?
Welcome to Mardi Gras inside a stadium.
Here’s your guide to the great masquerade:
1. Um, I’m not from Europe or Asia, how is rugby played?
Really? We just told you about one of the best parties and you’re asking us about rules?
The Hong Kong Sevens is a rugby union tournament played with seven people on each side, with each match lasting seven minutes per half.
Think of rugby union as you would American football. Except here there are no pads.
You can also imagine it as a simple game of takeaway.
Just know the team with the oval-shaped ball can only throw a pass behind them while moving forward — and they can keep progressing downfield until they score or lose possession of the ball.
If a player loses the ball (through drop, strip or penalty) it goes to the other team. A tackle doesn’t mean loss of possession as long as the player passes it behind him or her to another teammate.
A try (or running touchdown) is worth five points. A conversion (a post-try bonus kick or a penalty kick) is worth two points. One-point drop kicks rarely happen until the end of big games or so we’ve been told.
Now, how’s that beer tasting?
2. Do you need to wear costumes to attend the Hong Kong Sevens?
No, but remember, this is Hong Kong. Give anyone a reason to put on a costume and people will. Please note: many men in Hong Kong are fascinated by drag and will dress in women’s clothing given the opportunity.
3. Do people really streak at the event?
That’s what we hear, but until we see it ourselves let’s put this in the rumor category… along with the one of people flinging pee.
4. What is the best Hong Kong Sevens advertisement?
Actually, this may be the best advertisement of the year – anywhere, for any product or service.
5. What team should I root for?
While national pride occasionally rears its head during the matches, like many sporting events, no one really seems to care what is happening on the field.
Take for instance what will happen today.
Over 20 matches will be played. The first contest starts at 9 am; the last one kicks off at 7:16 p.m.
That being said… do you care more about that hottie in that tight costume or the winner of the USA-Scotland match at 11:34 a.m.?
6. What will the crowd be doing all day?
Smiling, partying and keeping hydrated.
As one spectator told us: He’ll start with Pimm’s No. 1 at 9 a.m., then follow that up with lager, then change to vodka red bulls, then go back to lager. To change up the pace he may have a beef pie and a hot dog somewhere in between.
A balanced diet, indeed.
7. Who is expected to win this year’s Hong Kong Sevens?
Really? Haven’t you been listening. Grab a big plastic cup of beer and soak in the crowd. The field is just the snack table. Unbutton that shirt and come join us on the dance floor.