As the sounds of fire crackers heralded the year 2009 I received a message from Sanath Martis the coach of St Peter’s College. It read something like “Three persons were given your address by me and they will visit your home. Please welcome them and hope they will stay with you. The Three are Happiness Peace and Prosperity”.
I thought to myself that the wish should be for these visits involved all in the game of rugby football in Sri Lanka -- the administrators the players and the followers of the game alike. Thus I thought this message should be shared with as I wish you the best for the year 2009.
When I received this SMS thoughts distracted me to rugby when I should have been following the New Years Eve service. I was suddenly woken up.
True to form as the message of Martis was taking me to rugby and I though the word as I heard has a connection. The expectation of happiness peace and prosperity visiting the rugby community is an expectation. It will not be there unless there is peace. This has been drenching the rugby scene in Sri Lanka. At time it was not just the liquid form but the more solidified version of waste matter thrown at the game. Thus I wished that there will be peace.
For happiness and prosperity to be there should be peace. Peace among or within the small numbers of the rugby fraternity among the larger national caucus will definitely promote happiness and prosperity to the rugby community. This and what has been seen as bad for rugby are passing clouds that will eventually go off and not seen as damaging as the tsunami. It could be managed and put on the path as it should be. Yet it could leave a tail of destruction.
The conflict on selection and the hand of the minister have not only been seen this year but have been seen many a time. As narrated by Neil Wijerarate in his book Sevens Saga and his subsequent writing there have been issues in selection in 1972, 1978 and 1980. For all purpose then the issue of the minister getting involved and giving a directive is nothing new. The sports law gives him that right and therefore what have we to say. That is fine and goes well. What does not go well are the all other irritations , the back scratching and the back stabbing that leads to the situations that is despicable which leads to the disturbance of peace. That is what in turn impedes the possibility of happiness and prosperity in the rugby arena. That makes us look at things through a misty glass that does not show a way for clear thinking.
My prayer for rugby in the year 2009 is for a better tomorrow. You have a major task in hand to get back into reckoning in the Asian rugby circuit and the Asian Nations series division 2 tournaments will be played probably in March and we have to get ready for it. The question is when will we be ready to get ready. The rugby season for 2009, I believe will start early in 2009 with the school rugby due to be the first on the ground. The game has no time to lag and to stumble as it does. The tragedy I believe will not surface or else the expectation for Happiness and Prosperity will be a non starter.
Peace is the key for 2009 and I hope it will not be more piss in 2009.
The year 2008 is gone and there it lies with the last rites to be completed in the form of an Annual General Meeting which will give birth to another council and to another year.
The community of rugby hopes to see a better game and let us wish it will be what you want to see. What more can I wish you, this new year? May be three captains!
- Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB