Sunday, February 20, 2011

For love of the game

It is a popular myth that the origins of the modern game of rugby can be traced back to an incident at Rugby School in Warwickshire, where there is a commemorative stone that celebrates the event. The stone is shown below:

The inscription has faded somewhat, and reads as follows:

A.D. 1823

An alternative theory, and one that is enthusiastically promoted by some followers of Association Football, suggests that Rugby was invented in Neolithic times, by Stone Age cave-dwellers.

B.C. 13,823

So there we have it; two contrasting images, two quite different views. So which is the superior sport? Rugby, or Association Football? Is it possible to present a balanced and reasoned opinion in favour of one or the other?

I've got my views! And so, dear friends, lend me your ears!

If I were to present a serious case, I'd support rugby. A game of schoolboy rugby gives eight more boys the chance to participate; rugby provides more than just one way of scoring (try, conversion, penalty goal, drop goal); the oval ball provides greater technical challenges than the spherical ball; and the game offers opportunities for players with a wider variety of physical attributes to participate and to excel.

But why be so serious about this? There is a man who lives in my apartment block who comes home from work, and spends an hour outside practising football with his two teenage sons. And I'm reminded of me doing some similar stuff, using a different shaped ball, with my son.

It's all about love, really.


Expat said...

Football gives a variety of opportunities for scoring too. A clear and undisputed goal, direct penalty as the result of a foul in the box, shoot-out, a blind referee, and, as the legend-in-his-own-mind Maradonna would put it, The Hand of God.

Didn't some wit say that Rugby is a hooligan's game played by gentleman and football is a gentleman's game played by hooligans...or something like that.

Over to you, JW...

Canary Islander said...

We are in agreement so far, JW :-)

But my final University rugby match gave me even more opportunities to score. College versus the Ladies, 15 minutes each way.

The Ladies fielded 30 players. 15 of these (the pack) were imported heavyweight female mercenaries and absolute thugs, and wore brassieres size G+ over their shirts. The Ladies back line (all 15 of them) were our bra-less WAGS, and employed expert decoy shirt-lifting manoeuvres at critical points of the game.

This is a family blog, and I can't reveal all the grisly details.

Suffice to say that our College team lost by 102-0, and the Ladies refused to play any more after gaining possession of exactly 15 of our jockstraps.

That's female logic for you.

Canary Islander said...

Crikey! I was so convinced that JW would respond first! My apologies for assuming that you were JW, Expat!

But there we are, us men can so easily be taken by complete surprise...

Expat said... other half recalls a field hoickey game between my all-girls grammar school and his school's boy's team (foolishly assembled for the occasion). Their defeat was ignominious and literally painful. Men of any age just fall apart when faced with a determined female. It's as it should be.

Canary Islander said...

I think that something not far removed from chivalry has a lot to do with it. Which is also as it should be...

JW10 said...

JW speaking, CI, :-)

I'm sure you know my feelings about rugby. Controlling and running with a ball at your feet is much more skilful, IMO.

I must disagree with Expat and say that Maradona is the greatest footballer of all-time. Not just because of his goals versus England (in all honesty, I support the England cricket) but for his incomparable skill. I've watched him on YouTube for hours and still amazed by his ability.

The recent goal by Wayne Rooney v Man City is one instance of genius that could never happen on a rugby field.

Nice post, BTW.

JW10 said...

P.S. Have you ever seen anyone play cricket on the Canary Islands?

JW10 said...

P.S. Have you ever seen anyone play cricket on the Canary Islands?

Canary Islander said...

CI responding, JW, ;-).
CI responding, JW, ;-).

Cricket? Not to my knowledge! It's football that is the big thing here. I live ten minutes walk from Tenerife FC stadium. And there is a superb ground next door to that, where kids in different leagues from around 6 years old go to learn, train and play. I've seen the teenagers that I mentioned in my blog play there.

And thank heaven for football! Over 40% of young folk aged 16-24 are unemployed in the Canary Islands - but life goes on, thanks to Family, Football, and Fiestas.

There are several superb golf courses here, but they are the preserve of the relatively rich. I'll write a blog one day about my current sport, Petanque, for which I pay 3 euros membership per year.

Petanque is the best sport in the world!!! I get to play with the Ladies!!!

JW10 said...

Sorry for the multiple, CI, my trigger-happy finger on over-click.

Pity about the cricket. In Scotland there's only two of us that watch it; me and some bloke from Edinburgh. England won today- hurrah!

I watch Spanish football every weekend on Sky Sports. Last season Tenerife were in division one. sadly, they got relegated. :-(

I know next to nothing about Petanque but even the name sounds good. :-)

Expat said...

Petanque? That's kinda like horseshoes but without the beer, isn't it? And without the horseshoes, but the objective is the same. Except over here horseshoes is mostly a guy thing.

JW, I don't dispute Maradonna's ability. I just can't stand the self-aggrandizing little twerp. I would look to Pele for a game changer with grace and humility.

But then, I am no in-depth expert. I just knows what I likes.

Canary Islander said...

Dammit Expat, you're winding me up again... and this time about Petanque! I fear another blog will be forthcoming! :-)

But back on topic - I don't go for hero-worship. And that's because the beauty of team sports is that every player, from the apparant star to the most humble team member, will have their individual "Maradonna" moments. And it is the sum of these that change games and make all the difference for the fortunes of a team.

I think Man U are proving my point this season.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Oh dear, I've only just found this, CI - I must work out how to set up Alert Alerts! Is it something to do with RSS? whatever that means...

Anyway, blokes I Have Known have always been passionate about either rugby or football - if I could but absorb one tenth of their pontifications... sadly one such outing is enough.

Petanque, though - Now you're talking! Fantastic fun to play, or to watch a group of hugely-dedicateds in a city park.

Used to love Netball at school, because Grabbing the ball was so much easier than trying to stop it with a scrotty hockey stick longer than I was.

Canary Islander said...

Hi Dolores! We play Petanque at least three times a week! On our last visit to France, we even had a go at Boules Lyonnaise! I wonder if Jon has had a go... :-)

Expat said...

Boules Lyonnaise? Is that anything like Moules Meurniere?

Dolores Doolittle said...

Boules Lyonnaise CI? Hee hee, Expat - I too imagined something of the edible kind. Trusty Wikipedia says it's all about Big - bigger, heavier boules on a longer pitch.

Then it started explaining (I think - my French struggled) the Internal Mass & elastic elements to soften the rebound.

It's obviously Thrillingly Dangerous!

(I bet you can get them in a baker's though)

Canary Islander said...

A word in your shell-like, Expat! It's the more energetic version of Petanque, and those who play it have bigger mussels.

Dolores Doolittle said...

Sorry to dive frenziedly in off-thread, but have you seen Constance's 'A Surrey State of Affairs' yet?

Just got it so only read the dedication so far which is to her husband, 'And to Constance's loyal online friends on the original... Expat in the US, Dolores Doolittle and Canary Islander.'

Isn't it Thrilling!

And certainly a jolly good read to boot!

Canary Islander said...

Just got in, and there was nothing in my pigeonhole. Tomorrow morning I'll rush downstairs and see if it's arrived!

Thanks for letting me know!

Expat said...

Don't have mine yet. It takes longer to cross the Atlantic than the Channel.

Was it personally signed?

Dolores Doolittle said...

Yes, Expat - it is, and warmly so! I think I'm in love!

Have started reading & it's terrific - like original blog only much more so! With daily entries from Jan 1st - did it start in April of '08, the original...?

By the way, how do you get alerted to a new post on Constance?

JW - are you enjoying Constance's new blog? - do hope so

Expat said...

Dolores, your link is to the actual Blog Post 2 rather than the page. So you have to navigate to the latst post every time.

I don't know how to get an alert. I've just saved the page in my favorites and check in every couple of days. Of course, if there's a new blog, I check in more often!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Hi Expat, and thank you for that - but how do you know when there's a new post? I missed no 3 because I couldn't see it from no 2. Luckily Constance sent link 3 when I communed about the book arriving...

(Please send bit of your brain - my need is great)

Expat said...

Delete the link you already have to blog 2 and use this one. Sorry I can't hyperlink it. JW or CI probably can.

This takes you to the page where all the blogs apppear. Just scroll down.

Good luck!

Dolores Doolittle said...

Brilliant Expat! I think I'd tried every link BUT that - Huge Thanks!!