Yes, before you ask I am a Kiwi. A.k.a a sheep shagger, a dole bludger, a hobbit or whatever else we are called over the ditch, but I bleed blue. Ever since I was eight years old I have been a huge supporter of the blues; which I guess is weird for a kiwi boy that should only know who the bloody all blacks are. Which for me was true until I met a boy named Steven.
It was the first day at school for the year. It was roll call time, when my name got called “Mulligan” some kids laughed, and then later the teasing started. The main culprit was a boy named Steven who was doing most of the teasing. Steve was the typical looking bully; a big fat kid that enjoyed picking on other kids just because he could. He began to tease me again at lunchtime but by this stage I had had enough. I really let him have it, blooding his nose up pretty good. We were taken to the principal’s office, but we didn’t really get into any trouble as neither of us dobbed on each other.
Steve and I quickly made up and soon became friends. We ended up playing rugby together, he would always ask if I liked the Blues to which I would say “the Auckland Blues?” he would shake his head in disgust, “Oh god no, state of origin! New South Wales mate, ask your mum if you can stay at mine tonight game one is on” Steven said with a smile. It was 1995 and I remember watching in amazement as these two rugged teams unapologetically batted and bruised each other, this was awesome! This was my first glimpse’s of Andrew Johns and Geoff Tovey – who’s half combination that night was amazing, I was hooked! that year the Blues won the series 3-0 and had gained a new fan in the process.
Later that year Steven sadly died in a tragic accident when his mother ran him over while he was on his bike, obviously not seeing him. I ended up being one of his pallbearers at his funeral, as his casket was being lowered I remember making a promise to Steven that I would never miss an Origin match ever again. To this day I have never broken that promise. I will be going out to the local pub tonight to watch game 2, as I do every year. I keep an empty seat next to me for Steven and together we watch the mighty Blues go to work. I bleed Blue.