Thursday, 8 October 2015

Let it lie?

You may have noticed a rugby tournament is going on at the moment. Not our rugby, obviously. Theirs.

Now, it is obviously a terrible game and the vast majority of people who have ever read anything on here will far prefer the 13-man code to the 15-a-side variant. Personally, I'm avoiding it and got very agitated when flicking over to watch The Chase only to be confronted by a mass of South African bodies in a heap. How dare they interfere with The Chase?

Avoiding it isn't enough though. Instead, I and many like me prefer to pour scorn on the game. Often this is interpreted as the fabled Rugby League chip on the shoulder - maybe it is - and my ranting about the iniquities inflicted on other sports by rugby union's powers that be were all a long time ago, best forgotten and that I should get over the fact that some people like union and others League.

Well no, I'm not having that. It's not simply a case of differing tastes in sporting entertainment.

Time heals, goes the maxim. This is true, so long as both parties to an issue recognise what it was in the first place, the wronged have had their grievances addressed and the guilty at least acknowledged their part. South Africa's Truth & Reconciliation Commission may provide something of a template there.

The 'it was ages ago, let's all forget about it' is a common trope, however, of the sort of people that engendered 1895's great split in the first place. Witness the not unreasonable recent claims of the Jamaican government for reparations for slavery. The British government: "It was ages ago, let's all move on". History is fine to remember when it's popular or populist, but not when there are difficult truths which need acknowledging.

Moreover, the things we're being urged to forget and move on from are still happening. The UAE, for instance. The despots may change, but cosying up to them seems a lasting trait. Then there's Morocco, and lower-level mischief like scheduling a World Cup match in the same city and on the same day as another sport's showcase event of the year (you thought we'd not spotted that, didn't you?) or misappropriating the word 'rugby'. The hypocrisy stinks. It always did and it always does.

So no, it's not just 'he likes union, you like League, just get on with it'. It's far more iniquitous than that. It tears at fibres of society, cuts deeper than any flesh wound. I hate the game - obviously, it's boring - but what it represents is something far greater, darker, more sinister. That's why I'm vociferous, why it goes far beyond mere dislike of a different sport.

And I will not forget about it whether it was ages ago or last week.

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