SOME things are so stunningly attractive that it seems a tragedy if they should be allowed to vanish. I am not talking of those stunning figures that attract and make it difficult to take your eye off. Rugby is a game that has had attraction because of the values associated with the game. Traditions of sport, the enjoyment and the spirit of the game have been the cornerstone of rugby. The spirit, sportsmanship and camaraderie is promoted and pronounced in the playing charter. The game proudly announces that despite the game becoming professional, it still retains the ethos and traditions.
Schools Rugby has seen the travails of must win and must be there at any cost mentality. Traditions that forged lifelong relationships and camaraderie have been prostituted to the detriment of the game. The game at schools draw big crowds that expect excitement and performance. In recent times we have seen stoppages of matches as well as recourse to courts that have disrupted games as well as tournaments.
|A school’s rugby match in progress last season
At times I wonder whether this game, the laws as well as the charter is in another planet. That is when you compare what is being said and expected and is happening in the Island of Sri Lanka.
We are aware of the importance and the homage we pay when we proudly talk about our school. Rugby has and will always attract schoolboys, parents, old boys and well wishers.
They come in numbers to passionately cheer, the school that brings back nostalgic memories. Since of late we have seen the continuance of the ethos and traditions hindered by those who display a pseudo passion. By Behavior that encourages disruption to the orderly conduct of matters and get in the way of enjoyment. Spectators who are genuinely there to appreciate and cheer the good performance are wondering what next?
Last year we saw the disruption of the schools knockout semi final as well as the non play of the final. This year as the season was to begin we heard of claims to be in the first division.
There was speculation that the solution to please all will be to have twelve teams in the league. There were threats that the schools section will be taken to court if and when some schools may not be taken in. Some issues to maintain the right to be in Division 1 were technical while others accused of wrong doing that was not investigated. If there was any wrong doing it must be investigated and action should be taken so that decorum is maintained.
“Wrong” is not the whole criteria to claim your right to be among the best. Many would be attracted and will be interested to climb and parade on the ramp. Yet all cannot stand up and ask to be counted as you may not fit in. Probably it is the fault of the maker who created different sizes and shapes. Yet you live with it and get on doing what is suitable and use other talent that the creator endowed you with. Everybody is not beautiful and all are not bold.
It is within the not so beautiful happenings of rugby that the less bold have been threatening to take the easy way out. In the midst of all this the schools section elected a new set of office bearers. A set of office bearers lead by Chandrasekera the Principal of Kingswood College who was also a former President of the Schools Association.
The action taken within a few weeks of taking office, on the schools format has been a bold one. I hope he continues to be bold and beautiful but not ugly as some in the past were bold only to some and not to others. Prevarication was the game as nobody was told how and when the schools league will be played. The bold and courageous decision has now paved the way for schools to plan the season and for those who want to seek legal remedies to seek solace taking that path. People must be mindful that the last court action is still pending and disruption of the tournament will deny the school boy the opportunity of a life time. Yet if there has been a wrong that has been committed pursue the issue and see that injustice does not thrive.
Rugby at schools has always been an attraction. It has been something that a schoolboy would want to add value to his resume .It could be the difference between a job and walking the streets. Recently I came across a flyer, aimed at rugby players that promised continuation of studies while working and having access to scholarships. That opportunity should not be denied to prospective students by disrupting the game.
Now the path is open as it has been announced that the league will consist of ten teams. It has helped to plan to start the tournament from the week beginning the 28th of March. This means the first matches may be played on the 1st of April when the week end for the week starts. It is not a joke but a foundation for the future is our hope.
Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB