Picking up the pieces

Rugby is in such a quagmire that every time you want to bail out of the bog there will be something else that would hold you back. This is the situation as we lay a foundation of uncertainty and build a path for confrontation. The prevalent environment is finicky. Despite the background the schools rugby kicked off under the guidance of the Interim Body for rugby in Sri Lanka.

The Royal versus S Thomas’ game pulled the crowds who were thrilled with the rugby played at a fast pace. The game was fought to the last minute and finally won by Royal way with a margin of two points. The other match in segment two was between Wesley College and Thurston. Wesley ended winning the game that was scrappy and was not one of any entertainment value unlike the game at Mount played on the same day.

While we are happy for the schools there was disturbing news. Why it is disturbing is that common sense does not seem to prevail. The case is that of Viraj Prasanna the selector who has been asked to resign. The reason is that as he was seen on the bench as coach of S. Thomas’. The fact that he was involved in coaching was no secret. Simple common sense would have required asking the appointee himself to declare his affiliations and or commitment in coaching or rugby administration. After Viraj fits into the shoes of the resigned selectors and the job of selecting the team is over best should have been is to have discretely handled the issue and not lynch him as though he has committed a heinous crime. To be discrete is difficult as it was laid to eternal rest before commonsense went out of the door. The way selectors are appointed and then removed; there will not be people to fill in these slots. Is it only this one man who has involved himself in coaching? What about all others who involve themselves with coaching and or advising in an indirect manner. The wonder is they get away with it.

Meanwhile there has been a letter sent under the signatures of the President and the Secretary / Treasurer of the SLRFU Interim Body to the players who stayed away from National Duty. This letter dated 23rd April addressed to the players narrates the incidents up to twenty four hours prior to departure. It is like a preacher’s version of a written document informing the miscreants of what they have done and the repercussions of their action.

Whatever form, it may be, it is a good thing to keep the players on notice that their action has not gone in unseen by the governing body. What continues to worry is the last part of the last sentence “……. we feel that you should not be considered for national duty until the Ministerial inquiry is concluded”. Why is it that you express subjective opinion when the fact should have been stated specifically? Why do you have to feel as there others too who have a feeling. It could be on legal advice and now we have to wait and see.

Also it might be interesting to find out the reasons that lead to the player revolt and not only keep the players on notice. Again it was common sense that did not prevail. It is not today but yesterday too. Did those managing rugby live by simple principles and realizable strategy. Common sense lost ground when greater powers were called upon to checkmate selectors. First it was to allow players who went on tour and did not attend practice. It was followed by removal of selectors when players refused to tour if selected Lewke went as captain. Then we have the most recent of selectors resigning as players protested on the change of captaincy. Now the bigger powers being offended action seem imminent. The question is why you took the side of players when they first attacked the selectors. If common sense prevailed one should have known that the small tree grows big and when that happens the threat is bigger. Now we have seen it as the players become bigger than the game.

Simply look at the school scene ad the chaos it almost created. Why on earth they had to play a top player against a school that had virtually lost all its matches defies any logic. The answer is because there is no simple thinking .But trying reworking scientific formulae that will beat the system. While the fiasco is sorted and the tournaments gets under way questions were raised at a meeting held recently as to how next years tournament will be played. The suggestion was that the standing after this year’s tournament be taken into account. Some objected while to others it was not the purpose of the meeting. Let us wait for the end and when standing is known more can object. Possibly it will be a last minute objection and a trek to the legal institutions. This will lead to another web of intrigue and mystery to be solved.

This is all is because common sense is dead and was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; his wife, Discretion; his daughter, Responsibility; and his son, Reason.

What we have now been left is the stepbrothers; “I Know My Rights,” Someone Else Is To be blamed, and I am A Victim. They live happily with ego and all in front with no answer in sight.

= Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB

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