I love rugby, and childhood memories

Sometimes it horrifies my friend’s to hear this, but I love rugby. I surround myself with two many vegetarian, progressive, revolutionary, geeky, foreign, and, well, women people, to be able to share the joy of watching a good game with any sort of frequency, but I still love it. The joy of Baksteen piling into Os, passing the ball to Balie who barges over for the try in the corner. What can beat it? And the stress to losing to New Zealand again.

Unfortunately I share this trait with a bunch of racist, mindless hooligans, who bombard the most successful South African coach since Nick Mallet with racist hate mail because he, successfully it turns out, picks two new players of slightly darker hue than they’d like. As well as the most clueless bunch of administrators (wait, South African soccer is putting up a fight there).

But back to the positive. I get profound joy from watching a good game. Some of these memories remain with me ever, up there with the first time I had sex (actually, far surpassing it), or the birth of my child (in my defense I was barely compis mentis after all the blood and the Coke-addled anaethitist’s inane attempts to make conversation about online credit card trading). Goggie Van Heerden scoring the try under the posts and Newlands erupting, charging onto the pitch. Divan Serfontein leaping over the pile of forwards scoring a try in the corner. Waking up in my parent’s bed upset because they’d let me sleep too long and there were only seconds left in the final test of the infamous 1981 Springbok tour to New Zealand, and then doubly distraught because they won it with the final kick of the game. Jonah Lomuh piledriving over Rory Underwood to score another New Zealand try. Gerrie Germishys streaking away down the wing. Joel Stransky’s drop goal however remains a bit hazy, thanks to one or two drinks.

I think the Lions tour to New Zealand is making me reminisce. The Lions tour New Zealand, South Africa and Australia every four years, making it every 12 years that they tour a particular country. They’ve only toured South Africa once since re-admission, and we lost. Seeing the snippets of their tour to New Zealand (and the whipping the Lions are receiving) reminds me of the joys of a tour. Before everything was the World Cup and games building up to that. Before New Zealand whipped in and out every year for the Tri-Nations. A New Zealand tour was an event, with provincial games, many tests, much replaying in the sportfields of childhood imaginations, each moment lived only for itself, the tour game versus Western Transvaal as important as the test. Now, Argentina are excluded from the Tri-Nations for money reasons, and we get, yawn, yet two more tests against Australia and New Zealand, greed killing what it strives for by excess.

I know this vision of my childhood perspective is rosy, innocent, no knowledge of controversy, the reason for the protests against the touring South Africans in New Zealand, or the furour around the picking of Errol Tobias. But that doesn’t lessen its power.


  1. hee hee. i am married to a lippy Saffa LADY. Find your blog great and can relate! only married her for the passport!!!!!!!!

  2. PS Scotsman are famous for….. “snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!” Archie MacPherson

Comments are closed.