Apologies to everyone who tweeted and mailed to ask about my absence on here for the past two weeks. I was simply too heartbroken about the Springboks’ loss to write anything worthwhile and man I tried, but all that came out was blog posts that sounded like a heap of sour grapes. I decided, in stead, to take some time out and get perspective.
per·spec·tive (p r-sp k t v).
n. 1. a. A view or vista.
b. A mental view or outlook: “It is useful occasionally to look at the past to gain a perspective on the present”
So now that the Rugby World Cup is over and done with, has my “mental view” changed? Yes.
Standing on the sidewalk of Queen Street in Auckland today during the All Blacks’ victory parade shoulder to shoulder with thousands of Kiwi’s reminded me of what Sean Fitzpatrick said on TV a few days ago.
Something along the lines of how in 1995, as much as the AB’s desperately wanted to (and thought they would) win the World Cup, on that afternoon of the 24th of June, it felt as if there was something bigger at work. That the occasion was about so much more than rugby. The South African team changed the Rugby World Cup, but rugby also changed South Africa that day.
Fitzpatrick’s thought resonated with me this afternoon when I could virtually feel the freedom from the weight of expectation that has been hanging over this country for 24 long years. Surely they couldn’t choke here at Eden Park with such an experienced team and coaching staff?
That’s been the question tormenting a New Zealand public for whom All Black pride and national pride is the same thing (talk about perspective, ne?).
Eleanor Roosevelt very famously said: “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent” and Kiwi’s were very quick to give that consent before yesterday. A loss would most certainly have resulted in a serious lapse of confidence in all things Kiwi, not just the rugby team.
It felt right for them to win. They didn’t own the match as much as all of us expected they would – and due credit to Monsieur Dusatoir et al. for that! But they were definitely better ambassadors for the game in the past 7 weeks than the French. And besides, now the Aussies, us and the AB’s are all square on two World Cups each. Game on for the first one to get three!
Luckily this is not it for the rugby year for us Saffas 🙂
Bring on the Currie Cup final this weekend!
Also, it’s only three months until Varsity Cup and four months until SupeRugby kicks off again…