Two Men Binge Drinking at a Party (Photo: Andrew Lichtenstein/CORBIS via Getty Images)

I’m not sorry the orgy of douchebaggery that was the Wellington Sevens is now a kid-friendly event

The Wellington Sevens that took place this weekend was a noticeably less raucous party than tournaments of years gone by. Ruined by the ‘Fun Police’? Emily Writes isn’t buying it. The Sevens is no longer a drunken mess, she says – and that’s a good thing.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but The Fun Police were doing double shifts over the weekend and apparently they’ve ruined the Wellington Sevens. Along with do-gooders, wowsers, and haters. It’s PC Gone Mad I tell you! Hell in a Hambasket!*

If you can’t get so drunk you shit yourself in the street then we have no liberty or freedom. If you can’t sexually harass women while they’re playing at the park with their children or buying their morning coffee then we truly have lost our minds.

Freedom of expression dictates that if you’re a man – and only if you’re a man – you should be allowed to drink your body weight in alcohol and then piss it out on a shop front window after spending half a day watching sport.

Do we really want to be a city that stops packs of drunk men intimidating others in the street? Do we really want that?

It turns out we do. Yesterday’s Sevens finished peacefully and with it the bells signalling the end times tolled. Or that’s apparently what we should believe if we listen to out-of-towners, boomers, and men who are OUTRAGED at this attack on them.

Fun Police

No matter how many horror stories women, queer folks, and anyone who looks even remotely different share with them about the nightmare that was Sevens weekend, it will just not be acknowledged. Those that are insistent that the Sevens was ruined by marauding families desperate to not get harassed while going about their business on the weekend are too wrapped up in their victimhood to believe this was anything other than wowserism.

When my son was four months old, I met a friend in town for a buggy walk along the waterfront. We quickly realised that it was Sevens weekend. Usually we would have both been very aware of this, but it had slipped our minds in the new baby daze. We considered getting straight back to our cars and going home but the weather was stunning. It was 10.30am so we figured it might be too late for people from the Sevens to be coming home and too early for them to already be drunk.

We decided to take the risk and do a short walk along the waterfront. Surely the fact that we were both in maternity leggings and baggy tee shirts pushing buggies would help us? As we rounded the corner a pack of around 20 men staggered toward us, drunk and singing. Immediately they began chanting at us to show our tits. A hilarious chorus of “milk jugs” rang out at us and we were subjected to the usual jokes around saggy tits and “you know they’re not virgins”.

We were both concerned they might knock over the buggies due to their drunkenness so we began walking faster to get away from them – this elicited roars of laughter as a police officer wandered idly by.

This is just one of many stories about the Sevens Weekend that Wellington women and men have. When I worked at a news agency I was rostered on weekends and my shifts started at 5am. During Sevens my husband would drop me to the door and walk to the entrance with me. It was just steps from the car but it was too dangerous for me to walk there alone without potentially being harassed, or worse, by drunk men in the dark dressed as bananas or cowboys.

Once the sun was up and there were more sober people on the street, I went to get a coffee. There I once found a woman on her hands and knees with a bucket of soapy water cleaning the piss off the front of her shop. A friend told me of how he had to clean a human shit from outside his business on Lambton Quay. I’ve talked to many parents who bought dishwashing liquid and bottles of water to wash down slides and playground equipment that has been intentionally pissed on by drunk assholes.

And yet we still have people complaining every year, pining for the good old days when women couldn’t walk through their own city and kids couldn’t play on playground equipment because it was drenched in urine.

Might I suggest, that if you can’t watch sport without getting so drunk you flash your penis at groups of women on the street, that the problem is you? Not the fun police. Not wowsers. Not do-gooders?

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 11.46.24 PM

Can we talk about repercussions of behaviour, since that is almost always left out of this discussion?

If a woman is drunk or in town after dark or wearing something deemed provocative (the list goes on frankly – she can do almost anything and it’ll be used against her) she will almost certainly be blamed by certain sectors of society if she is sexually assaulted or harassed.

Obviously I don’t agree with this moronic way of thinking, but if there was a Venn diagram of those men who think drunk women are to blame for assault and those who think the poor men of the Sevens have been hard done by because they can’t drink 35 Steinlager Pures in six hours, you know there’d be a significant crossover.

How interesting that a woman’s “punishment” for drinking can be rape or other sexual assault. And yet these men are crying into their drinks that their punishment for repeatedly harassing women and/or doing nothing about it when other men do is minor drinking restrictions at a sporting event.

My Facebook feed on the weekend was split evenly between people who don’t live in Wellington bemoaning the Sevens losing its “fun”, “party” atmosphere and people who live in Wellington sharing photos of their children having fun at the Sevens or rejoicing in not being sexually harassed on the street.

The feedback from those who took their kids to the Sevens was that it was wonderful. And with an entry fee of $7 that included food, drink and entertainment, it was finally accessible.

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 11.51.38 PM

I’m not going to pretend I understand Sevens Rugby. But I know my husband loves watching it and he won’t go to the stadium because of drunks. I know he is now excited to take our boys when they’re older. I know he’s pleased that he no longer has to act as an escort for all of the women in his life who had to run errands on Sevens Weekend.

But he introduced me to another reason why it is vital that the Sevens tournament is accessible to families – and that’s around getting kids into sport. If you truly love Sevens Rugby (and it’s not about getting shitfaced and being a knuckle-dragging turd), then you will recognise that its future lies in children falling in love with the game.

Rugby Sevens is an Olympic sport and is played in the Commonwealth Games and Pan American Games. It’s potentially a career for some young child watching – how ironic that until this year, they would not have been safe in the stadium to see it live. How strange that those players being cheered might not have been able to have their own children in attendance to see their efforts.

I have many memories of seeing sporting events as a child. I remember wearing a blue leotard and painting “Go The Doggies” on it in blue glitter to wear to an NRL grand-final. For many parents, going to a sporting event with their children is a time when both can share a passion, or at the very least a child can be introduced to something that makes their parent happy. Why should we let drunks ruin that? Why should we let predatory men ruin that?

Screen Shot 2017-01-29 at 11.53.36 PM

If you love sport you should be doing everything you can to champion making it more of a family event, making it more accessible to all groups. If you want sport to be a domain for men only – solely used as an excuse to drink to black out, fight with other men, and attack and harass women – then by all means, keep whining about the Sevens.

Or better yet, organise your own event. And when you’re all in the stadium let us know so that we can put a lid on the Cake Tin and keep you there forever. You can flash your dicks at each other for months on end until you get it out of your system.

* When working as a journalist I was sent a hand-written letter by someone saying that women-only swim classes were sending the world to “Hell in a hambasket”. It was such a delightful fuck-up of “Hell in a handbasket” that I can’t help but think of it every time I see Old White Men Getting Angry Online.

Emily Writes is editor of The Spinoff Parents. Her book Rants in the Dark is out February 27. Pre-order it here. Follow her on Facebook here.

Follow the Spinoff Parents on Facebook and Twitter.


This content is entirely funded by Flick, New Zealand’s fairest power deal. In the past year, their customers saved $417 on average, which would buy enough nappies for months… and months. Please support us by switching to them right now.

The Spinoff Longform Fund is dedicated to facilitating investigative journalism. Our focus is on supporting in-depth reporting on important New Zealand stories. Your donation will help us sustain this most resource-intensive form of journalism, ensuring that the most complex and important stories still get told.

Related:


The Spinoff is made possible by the generous support of the following organisations.
Please help us by supporting them.