Watch out very soon India may manage our rugby
By Vimal Perera
There has been much discussion as well as criticism of things of rugby in the newspapers as well as in places where people interested in the game meet. Even as there have been comments, which gives a feeling that all is lost, others seem to take every opportunity to enjoy the game whenever the chance comes.

On Saturday the 20th November enthusiast gathered on the beaches of Negombo to play and or witness a tournament of Beach Rugby sponsored by Carlsberg and organized by Chandrishan Perera and made possible through the hospitality extended by the Jet wing Group of Hotels. Over 40 teams participated in this tournament which was worked off while they also played beach volleyball. It was a day out for fans who did not seem to have a care for what's happening at the centre.

The attitude was simply "let's enjoy". Many players of the top clubs, including national stars, played in combined teams . In attendance were teams of some corporates. Prominent among players were Asanga Rodrigo, Mushtaq, Alex ( who after his stint of playing took to the whistle), Lakala, Thariq and Malewana to name a few. They were there to play rugby in a "jolly" spirit and enjoy the hospitality and relish the food and drinks. The final was played between Tri Star "A" and "B" who played in good spirit and gave the crowd a worthy final to witness despite it being a home and home affair. The participants were then treated to a sumptuous buffet dinner. The spirit was at its best. Congratulations to the organizers sponsors and all those who participated.

Hopefully we will see more of this fun filled rugby offshoot in the future. Despite all the fun and enjoyment there was one spoiler during the semi final stage. The game was played on a two handed tap through the day. There was one guy supporting the team (was he the manager) and backed by a substitute ( a guy who could not find place in the team) who thought of having a go at the referee. It was sad this did not come from the ad hoc combinations of teams ( the "ahindhas") but from a corporate in the hospitality trade who think of themselves as "Grand" and somewhat "Oriental". Bigwigs in business who are trying to tell those who matter how things are to be done should have a cursory glance inwards. While those interested in rugby continue to enjoy there are those who have to give direction being taken to the cleaners virtually on a daily basis.

Thick skins as some would say don't seem to be bothered even if they are dashed about in the traditional way, of the "dhobi", hopefully to cleanse the dirt. While this goes on in some quarters, we hear of contest for various posts as though this was the need of the hour to put rugby back on its tracks. Let us hope saner counsel prevails and they get together to position rugby in to its proper perspective, "as an enjoyable and marketable sport product".

At the same time we learn of the Province that is Western trying to organize a tournament of its own. For what may I ask? To keep some out when over the years these glory boys have been sad followers where leadership was expected. A question that has to be asked is if we centre the major tournament, in a province ,what of the national team the majority of who come from the central province. Its time those whose vision is myopic look beyond their noses at this time of need unless their sight has been badly impaired through long inactivity.

To be innovative and be the first if its kind why not the lovers of the game get together and voice its opinion in what may be termed "civic responsibility" as related to rugby.

While all these go on, sadly though, I reflect on a chat had while in Hong Kong during the Asian Rugby Football Tournament 2004. During a pleasant intercourse with the bigwigs of Indian Rugby the discussion drifted to the then proposed public offer of LIOC. The comment was that India is giving a lesson on how to run petrol sheds in Sri Lanka while they also show us the way to run coffee shops

At this stage a bigger wig of Indian rugby commented in lighter vein " very soon we will be able in the help you to manage your rugby". The pottage of mess does not seem to be confined to the 65,000 square kilometres we live on. Folks! May be the Norwegians can help. Let's us ask Bala. I mean the one from the North.


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