Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Passion for your Nation

Well, the last few days have been pretty average. The All Blacks were beaten by France at the Rugby World Cup in Cardiff on Saturday. I was there with a bunch of friends from the UK and New Zealand and it’s been a while since I felt so bad. Nothing is as personal and emotional in life as passion for your nation in your favorite sport. At least, not if you’re a rugby nut like me. It was the most one-sided game in history. The All Blacks had 72% of territory, 62% of possession, won 153 rucks vs. France’s 34, and we only had to make 47 tackles to France’s 197. The only lopsided statistics were the penalty count, which was 9-2 to France and the score which was 20-18 to France. Bugger!

In New Zealand, ads against family violence went on air immediately after the game. It’s a sad indictment of society, but there has been a correlation in the past with increased family violence after an All Black loss. This is totally out of order. Instead of family violence, I think everyone would be better off taking a rugby ball out onto the park and kicking it around. No one likes losing but there is never an excuse for resorting to violence. What’s needed is to turn all that anger into passion for the future, to learning, and then into sheer naked optimism. As Tom Peters said fail fast, learn fast and fix fast.

I read some advice from Philip Culbertson, a theology lecturer at Auckland University, who said the best way to get over this kind of defeat was 1) to be kind to each other, 2)spend time with your kids, 3) blame the ref, 4) kick a ball around the park, and 5) watch the Final.

Pretty good advice. And yes, I certainly blamed the ref!


Susan Plunkett said...

Well, I saw the All Blacks at the relevant NZ Airport and they were stunned and very moved at the hugely positive cheering crowd that greeted them. There was a commentary saying that in the past there would have been slanging but on this occasion it was all good and positive. Graham Henry (hope I got that right!) was signing autographs and being as benign as a disappointed, tired man can be :)

Piotr Jakubowski said...

It's always the ref's fault, right?

Nobody likes, losing, that's true. Admitting defeat is just another way to work on improvement for the future. And regardless of whether they win or lose, teams should always get a hero's welcome at home. Look at France's football team after their return from the World Cup. Zidane got a hero's welcome despite getting a red. (Why couldn't that have happened to Becks in '98)

Learning from your mistakes just shapes you to become better in the future!

Anonymous said...

Learn from you mistakes? Get real Piotr. The All Blacks have been making unnecessary World Cup mistakes for the past 20 years. Don't be an apologist for mediocrity. And as for the much vaunted heroes return at the airport - please be aware it was completely stage managed. Dan Carter's Mum is a school teacher. It was a PR exercise and certainly did not reflect the anger and disappointment of typical New Zealand fans.