Monday, November 14, 2005

It is only a game (#1)

I don’t “get” rugby.  I never did and probably never will.  Growing up in Donnybrook left me with no affinity for the sport at all.  I just know when it is best to avoid Kiely’s.  In fact, I don’t get many of the ball sports that regress the average male to a whimpering 10 year old boy.   My boyfriend Tony and I have discussed this comprehension gap quite a few times.  The most animated of these came during Liverpool FC’s “incredible” (his words, not mine) sojourn to the Champions’ League title.  I’ve a very pedantic point of view, I realise.  I just can’t figure how a team that isn’t champions are allowed to play in a “Champion’s Competition”.  That would be like letting men run in the Women’s mini marathon.  (The clue is in the title, chaps.  Dressing up as nuns is no excuse and simply reveals how uncomfortable you are with your own sexuality.)

But back to minority sports like Rugby.  The game itself seems to have been devised by someone with a pathological hatred of entertainment.  The objective, as I see it, seems to be to advance the ball as far into the opponent’s territory as far as possible whilst never passing the ball forward.  Kicking the ball of the park seems to be a particularly commonplace strategy.  At times of confusion, a core of the biggest player’s do a sort of collective show of strength to see which side can push the other back.  Oblivious to the earnest contest, the smallest of the players throws the ball into this “scrum” and awaits its exit from the melee.  Wholesale violence is regularly perpetrated on the opposition (and it seems to be, in some cases on one’s colleagues).  People regularly stamp, gouge, bit and spit at their opponents.  At the end of the match, the victors pretend to be very sporting and applaud their vanquished foes off the park in the most patronising of manners.  Large sections of a team can play for the entire year and never touch the ball.  Every position has a strange sounding name except for one.  The occupant of this position is ostracised with a derogatory name of “No. 8”.  (This reminds me of a twist on a particularly cruel stunt used when picking sides in ladies hockey.)
In case anyone gets good at the sport, the organising body change the rules constantly.

I know nothing about rugby (although I’ve pick up the odd gem from the brilliantly ironic Ross O’Carroll-Kelly) but even I knew that Ireland was going to get trounced by the “All Blacks”.  Seeing grown men cry at the failure of one bunch of professionals from beating another bunch is somewhat disconcerting.  There are many more important thinks to cry over.  Child abuse, the homeless, disasters in Asia, famine in Africa and War in Iraq are few that spring to mind.  I suppose I should take some comfort from the fact that these men are showing their emotions in public.  That has to be a good move.  But now that it is safe for another few days to enter Kiely’s finest in Donnybrook, why not stop in for a quiet one and a discussion of the real issues and stop obsessing about if Shane Horgan hurts as much as you do.


(Apologies for the absence of blog entries for the last week.  A number of domestic crises made me realise that there are more precious things in life than talking to myself.  Thankfully these have now passed and all parties are making speedy recoveries.)


Blogger JL Pagano said...

The point is - it's the fact that you lot DON'T get it that makes us like it, because following team contact sports and spending two hours in the loo with a newspaper on a Sunday morning are about the the only things us blokes have left to call our own.

9:05 p.m., November 14, 2005  

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