The World Rugby Cup, love it or hate it, is ON.
I fell in love with my husband as a teenager and accepted without question his participation and addiction to the game of rugby.
Watching him, tall and lean with the ball under his arm flying down the field just ahead of a pursuing hound from hell and dodging another in his path had me on my feet screaming with the rest of them.
Then there were the times he was in the scrum muddy and bleeding.......
I saw him twist in agony with a broken collar bone.
I watched from the side line in hospital as his team mates visited and it was all brave words and high hopes that he would be back on the field before the end of the season. Fortunately his mother ruled for once and sided with the doctor who called for caution, for that season anyway.
As a nephew of the SA rugby captain of the 1950's, Basil Kenyon, my husband, 'himself' had big boots to fill.
He met some of those olden day giants and almost wept when he visited Basil and a couple of the others in their final years and shook their gnarled arthritic fingers ........... old men with rheumy eyes. They still sparkled however as they relived their triumphs.
And now 'himself' is long retired from THE game that millions idolise, rugby.
The elation...... the joy of winning with the deafening roar of the crowd puts young perfectly healthy boys and young men out there on our numerous rugby fields.
But back at home several decades on, I am struggling through a total knee replacement with 'himself'. The pain became such that he had to have the operation or be totally disabled. After a horrible session of physio, the therapist assured him, 'you're going to be as good as new 'ducky'!'
As for me I'm not so sure.
I ache for him as he struggles to climb out of a too low chair that he has been forced to take because there is no other.
Will we ever clamber over the rocks at Spring low tide to gather the mussels that I will smother in a garlic wine cream sauce?
I very much doubt that and he is buying them from Tight Lines Fisheries nowadays.
The taste in the old days was so much better for the fun we had in collecting them.
I have been watching some of the match on this afternoon between Japan against Scotland. Himself loved the game as he munched on some chillie bites he had made during the interval.
I shrivelled when a huge Scot tackled what seemed to be a player half his size.
The crowd was on its feet as he took off down the field to dive onto that grassy hard turf in a victory sprawl, right under the posts. A winner and the crowd went wild - the victorious ones out yelling the boos because they were convinced there was dirty play there.
I had daughters and could watch their netball, badminton and tennis matches with real enthusiasm knowing that we would all be going home unscathed. No son to grit my teeth over as he would have been 'obliged' to play the dreaded rugby.
I physically cringe and hurt for each player as they are bent and buckled in the onslaught of muscled bodies.
I still experience that thrill when good and clever tactics gives a player the ball and I speed with him body and spirit as he takes wings towards those goal posts. I still can be glad and clap and shout for any player that outwits the others.
I admire the discipline of the game. I approve of team sport and love the way they congratulate the guy who finally gets the ball over the try line.
I love the replay of such tries so that I can see and enjoy the way each member team has played their part.
I get so tense when our South African team plays and I sometimes go and water the garden when the tension is building too much.
I have been many times to the big stadiums to watch matches and I've been intoxicated by the overwhelming excitement of the crowd. That is until one day the person sitting next to me was hit by a flying can of illicit beer!
Make no mistake, I enjoy the game especially when the referee has complete control and these 30 men listen to his decisions without question.
But the question I ask is at the end of the day , meaning in these men's lives as they approach middle and old age and face the results of abusing their bodies, IS IT ALL WORTH IT?
It seems to me that 95% of men who played and loved the game shout "YES!"
The fact that we expect a poor turn out on Saturday afternoons in my local bowls club when South Africa Springboks have a match, speaks for itself.
We have learned to import a big screen and finish early to watch the game that often makes us proud.
After the match the experts, beers in hand dissect the match to the point that the women are talking recipes, world events, Sarie's pregnancy - anything else except the rugby match which in our opinions is DONE.
As a South African nation, millions of us will be glued to our screens when we watch the semi finals, certain at this point that 'our boys in their beautiful green and gold' will be making us proud out there on the field in Japan.