Posts Tagged ‘rugby’

Let’s face it as South African’s there are a few things we take pride in; braaing; our ability to pull things out the fire at the last second (braai meat and big events) and our rampant criminal/political community.

Another thing you can add to that list which is perhaps the embodiment of all three is Rugby. We know rugby; at least we all think we do. One only has to watch a game in a local pub to realise every patron is a coach, referee, former Springbok hopeful or the co-creator of the game itself.

The prevalence and availability of coaches, players and referees seems to increase exponentially when we find ourselves in a position such as we find ourselves at present: Losing (games and seemingly, the plot too). All of a sudden everyone has selection advice for the coaches, tackling techniques for the players and sexual instructions for the referees.

I sit in awe watching overweight, sweaty old men whose greatest achievements appear to be the most incredible beer gut, give advice to virile, strapping, professional athletes on how to tackle other such professional athletes, when they can barely find the skill and agility to keep propped up on their bar stools.

But of course you’re not reading this to hear about the problem and being a true South African I have a answer for everything. The answer? Conscription. It’s that simple. Since we have such a wealth of players, coaches and referees who all think they can do better than those on the field. Give them the chance.

It could be run like the American jury system, whereby every South African could at any point receive a notice in the mail notifying them that they have been selected for Rugby Duty. You wouldn’t know when or where or even what position you’ll be playing until you receive the notification in the mail.

“This document serves as notice that you are to represent your national team “The Springboks”, this weekend against The New Zealand All Blacks.”
“You have been selected for the position of LOCK”
“It is recommended that you attend the training camp this week (to have any hope of survival)”

Let’s see all those “Springbok hopefuls” rough it out in the scrum; try tackle some 120kg behemoth or kick goals from 50m. This will not only solve the problem of people shooting their mouths off at referees, coaches and players, but really show the depth of talent of South African rugby that we keep hearing about. Furthermore, it will actually mean that the old drunk in the corner’s story about playing for the Boks could actually become true (although pretty much everyone in the bar would have a similar story)

The best part about all this is we will still have better selection criteria in place than during the Rudolph Strauli administration.

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I’m a pretty big fan of rugby, which I know is a completely unheard of declaration here in South Africa, but I mean it. I watch every game I can; I follow up with news reports, forums, the late night talk shows, the fantasy leagues, the sports prediction games. I do it all, often to the detriment of my career and relationships.

However, through all this loyalty and support that I have for the game that has brought me such joy and such sweet agony (I’m a sharks fan, need I say more), there is one thing that I just don’t understand about the game of rugby.

Why the hell do we give William Webb Ellis so much credit for being the founder of the sport? The world cup trophy is even named after him. He will forever live on as a visionary and a leader. Someone who never conformed to the norms of society and who when faced with adversity took the ball by the hands and ran towards his goal.

In the meantime, the truth remains that while playing a game of soccer, some douche bag little kid decided that he was tired of playing fairly and so picked up the ball and ran with it. I’m pretty sure the guys he was playing with weren’t exactly in awe of his sudden creativity. They probably thought “Oh great! William’s throwing a tantrum again. If it weren’t for the fact that he was the only one who owned a soccer ball, we wouldn’t ever invite him to play with us.”

And the legend goes that his friends decided to “play along” and tried tackling him as he tried to run the soccer ball towards the goal (while the truth is more likely that they were trying to kick his ass for spoiling their game). All because of some good PR, he gets known as the first ever rugby player, instead of the worst ever soccer player (and a spoilt brat)

Even he doesn’t think he invented rugby. In the moment that his team was losing and he was tired of playing by the rules, he didn’t quickly design a new game to play instead. He petulantly picked up the ball and tried to run away, probably whining “fine, if you guys won’t let me win, then I’m taking my ball home and telling my dad”.

Yet here we are today, in the year of a world cup, when all the best rugby playing nations in the world will compete to be the owner’s of the William Webb Ellis Trophy (if they only knew).

I just hope this kid didn’t continue throughout his life messing with the rules in the hope of creating something new because it’s a terrible example for others.

When I see someone do something stupid in traffic, like driving on the wrong side of the road, or knocking over pedestrians or just generally breaking the rules of the road, I don’t think to myself: “What a creative individual, refusing to be bogged down by the constraints of modern societal norms”. I think “What a complete ****”.

I love rugby, but I am quite proud to say that some punk kid who refused to play soccer by the rules did not invent the game. All he did was mess up a really good game of soccer.

In the past if a brand had a spokesperson, all that spokesperson would have to do is stand in front of a camera and say “Hi I’m David Beckham and I think Adidas make the best shoes” while a dump truck full of money backed down his driveway. Life was simple, you as the consumer knew that if you wanted to be as “cool” as Becks all you had to do was wear Adidas… done. Check that one off the bucket list.

Then it became that it was only a certain type of product that was endorsed because regular Adidas is for wannabe’s and if you really wannabe like David you had to have the new Super Omni-core-max XP75’s (product may not actually exist outside of my dreams), which were no different from the regular range except for his signature, different colour laces, oh and about 300 bucks.

Now advertisements will show him going for a swim on the beach; then partying with his mates (other celebrities and lingerie models) then all of a sudden the Adidas logo will appear with no mention of the guy’s name or anything to do with what made him famous or why you should by Adidas. I’m left thinking does Adidas sponsor beach swimming? Or Lingerie parties?

It’s getting so bad that half the time I don’t even know what is going on in the ad till the brand logo appears at the end. There will be scenes of fire ravaging a small village; then terrible images of war; these are then interrupted by a few fleeting seconds of a young couple embracing; then a short clip of a massive dance party; then some home footage of young children playing in the garden; tanks; wildlife; storms; ballet; a frog leaping; an ice cream; a bomb falls from a plane….MASSIVE EXPLOSION! 

The screen goes black and the product logo appears…

“Tampax”

Corporations have started sponsoring sports teams to the point that it doesn’t even matter where they’re from. Remember the Northern Transvaal Blue Bulls? Well they’re now the Vodacom Blue Bulls, yet they play against the Vodacom Cheetahs and formerly the Vodacom Stormers (who are now the DHL Stormers). I worry that one day sponsorship is going to get to the stage where corporations actually NAME players…

 “Vodacom Brian Habana passes to Klippies and Cola Danie Rousouw who passes to Maybeline Bismarck Du Plessis (maybe he’s born with it maybe it’s Maybeline)…who gets put into touch. And now the line out brought to you by Tippex.

Will it get to the stage that regular people could sell their names or rent out their names as ad space? Could you offer up your children’s names as permanent ad space? Like at their christening?  

“Name this child…” “Pepsi presents Sally Smith”

 As well as several other hilarious possibilities that I will have to leave to another blog since my “one page limit rule” is severely under threat (and yes I know I could change font size, but that would be cheating). So it is at this point I would like to offer this blog up for any sponsors that may be interested as well as to thank my parents for not giving me a middle name, which makes it a lot more convenient to sell the space…