Sunday, January 11, 2009

"CRUEL WINTER WAS HOWLING, OWER THE RUGBY PITCH"

Not so very long ago I became embroiled in a rather fierce argument with some people who play rugby, I made the innocent and accurate remark that it (rugby) was played in the most part by people who were not good enough to play football which is of course correct. This caused a ‘stushie’ which prolonged the argument and took it to incredible lengths, some of them actually stated that rugby was superior and more skilful, honestly, and of course tougher which I found quite funny, “over to you Nigel no no after you Cecil, I’ll have to go off for treatment, I’ve burst my bootlace” Anyway, events of this weekend have caught my eye and reminded me of these exchanges with the macho men who inhabit the little world of rugby.

Around the country at the weekend; there were as always sporting events taking place, running, hockey football etc. January weather is of course not ideal for these things but we traditionally soldier on, at least most of us do. Football was played including in Ayrshire, great game at Somerset Park, tumultuous stuff, girls played hockey and people ran races, unfortunately a game had to be abandoned, it wasn’t the girls hockey as some sexists would suggest, it wasn’t schools football either, it was a rugby match, abandoned with 10 mns. to go. Over the many years I played football I have seen games postponed because the pitch was waterlogged, because it was unsafe due to ice, because lines were covered with snow, several for mass brawling, even failing light on one occasion but, none of these was the reason for this abandoned rugby match.

The reason it was abandoned was because it was too cold, the pitch was not bombed, nor did it catch fire, it was too cold. You would be forgiven for thinking, well; these are real tough guys right? it must have been Alaskan conditions right? wrong, the players were just too cold. I can’t resist writing about this after all the abuse I took from tough talking rugby types, the guy who hilariously whipped off his shirt when he scored the last gasp equaliser for Ayr against Kilmarnock and was inspired to hug the ref to avoid a red card is still with us, he apparently has survived the cruel Ayrshire weather, you just couldn’t make this up could you? the warm bath and the traditional post match ritual of cavorting around naked flicking each other with wet towels was too strong a temptation for the rugger boys, they were offsky.

Can I, in the spirit of Corinthian sporting friendship suggest a change of attire to our rugby friends; when the mercury drops before or during one of your rough tough encounters revert to the emergency kit, dispense with the traditional rugby shirt and get on the;
“big girl’s blouses”

34 comments:

The Nameless Libertarian said...

Is your dislike of rugby a class thing?

Nick said...

Where was the game taking place?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Nick)
The game took place in the frozen wastes of Irvine. As I said Nick, you couldn’t make it up.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(The Nameless Libertarian) 09:59
I’ve never said I didn’t like rugby; some of the best laughs I’ve ever had were through watching rugby.
As far as the class thing is concerned I think the lower and under classes are entitled to their enjoyment like the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Terry if what you are saying is true, I wholeheartedly agree with you. I have just googled Irvine Rugby Cold and there was an article on 11 Jan 09 stating that 2 Kiwi rugby players playing in a game in Irvine were hospitalised for hypothermia causing the match to be abandoned with 1 minute to play. Would this be the game you are referring to?
If it is I think it puts a different slant on the situation to that described in your blog, if not could you please give a little more detail or you could be accused of guilt by omission.
Ben.

Nick said...

This is from the Aberdeen Express:

"TWO players were taken to hospital with hypothermia as Aberdeen Grammar’s Scottish Cup tie at Irvine was abandoned in dramatic circumstances.

Irvine full-back Lance Elrick had a fit and lost consciousness one minute from full-time, forcing an early finish to the game."

Full article here.

I'm surprised they made it to 79 minutes if that's the case! Though both the collapsed players were Kiwis - the lightweights...

I've just read that there's lots of support in Scotland for making football a summer sport. The big jessies.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Anonymous) 14:18
I’m not sure what you mean about sins of omission but it sounds like the same game.

My point to the macho rugger types who were writing to me is, schoolboys and schoolgirls can hack it, the Ayr striker can rip off his top and celebrate in the same weather but, the rugby players quit because of the cold, the answer’s obvious, footballers and girl hockey players are tougher than rugby players.

You will just have to live with the embarrassment.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

Nick Jan 12 th. 4.25 pm

I feel your pain Nick, I'm blushing for you and all the other big rugby jessies.

Schoolchildren played through it, footballers, runners, my gran played a game of bowls, but the macho rugby men, oh the shame of it.

Can you not wear gloves and tights?

Regina Phalanges said...

What a picture you playing football Terry. Were you in goals?? Not many goals would get by you!

Footballers are the biggest wimps out. How often are they stretchered off only to run back on minutes later with nothing wrong! Rugby players are real men.

Give me a scrum any day!!

Jim Lewis said...

Ach, yer a wee imp Terry. As for being fearties, is this the same Terry Kelly who is aferaed to come and watch a game at the Anchor?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Regina Phalanges) 17:20
I wasn’t a great player but I could stop those who were.
If rugby players can’t play when it’s cold what chance would they have facing footballers, they have been found out.

Nick said...

Pfft, most footballers didn't even take the field that weekend! Only six Scottish cup ties were played because of the cold snap. And you missed the important point: the afflicted rugby players were Kiwis, who we all know faint at the first hint of a mild breeze off the Atlantic.

While googling for the link above, I found this: MSPs vs journalists football friendly abandoned due to mass brawl. Priceless! Here's what Labour MSP Ken Macintosh said: "Normally it's our football that embarrasses, not our behaviour, but in this case it wasn't a terrific display."

If we can infer that all rugby players are big girls' blouses from two cases of hypothermia, what can we infer from MSPs getting into a fight with a bunch of journalists?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Nick) 11:42
“the afflicted rugby players were Kiwis”

Was it two teams from New Zealand who decided to quit because of the cold ? I thought they were big tough Scottish rugby teams.

“If we can infer that all rugby players are big girls' blouses from two cases of hypothermia”

See above.

Games can be postponed or abandoned because of dangerous conditions such as flood, ice, snow and err, cold? live with it Nick.

Contact team sport has been described as war without weapons; I have been involved in games where there was blood and hair flying everywhere, usually as a result of previous bad blood between the teams.

Journalists V Politicians was a match made in heaven; I curse the fact that I am not a/ young enough b/ an MSP and c/ didn’t get the chance to take part in that one, the sound of bones being crushed in a fifty – fifty would sound like music if you were up against someone like a Scottish political journalist.

Nick said...

"Was it two teams from New Zealand who decided to quit because of the cold ? I thought they were big tough Scottish rugby teams."

Two players from New Zealand were taken to hospital with hypothermia and the game was abandoned one minute before full time! Surely you'd condone a football game ending one minute early so that two players could receive urgent medical attention caused by adverse weather conditions?

"See above."

See above. If it's cold enough to leave a player fitting on the floor with hypothermia, it's cold enough to abandon a game one minute before full time.

Hats off to the players for making it to 79 minutes where most football teams didn't even make it to the ground...

"I have been involved in games where there was blood and hair flying everywhere"

Blimey, I hope you all got sent off! I'd hate to play in a game where the participants ignored the game in favour of purposefully inflicting physical harm on each other: very dangerous, especially in football.

I think that if we can make sweeping generalisations about rugby players based on two people being hospitalised by the weather then we can make sweeping genralisations about MSPs based on the 11 that took part in a "mass brawl". They're all vicious curs who enjoy a punch-up!

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Nick) 15:28
“Surely you'd condone a football game ending one minute early so that two players could receive urgent medical attention caused by adverse weather conditions?”

Plenty of precedents for unconscious players being carried off and the football game going on, you’ll just have to live with it, you are a bunch of Jessies.

“most football teams didn't even make it to the ground”

Oh dear you’re not handling this very well are you, what was it happened again ? the rugby match was abandoned because it was too cold, it’s painful isn’t it.

“ignored the game in favour of purposefully inflicting physical harm on each other”

Still way off target, physical contact is allowed and can hurt, we don’t 'pretend' to be tough like rugby players.
Football is very competitive and very dangerous, injuries can happen sometimes deliberately and that leads to retribution, running about at rugby aimlessly bashing into each other just isn’t the same it’s all just a bit of a giggle.

“MSPs are all vicious curs who enjoy a punch-up!”

You might have a bit of a point here but, I can only speak for Labour MSP’s and they are all perfect gentlemen.

The Nameless Libertarian said...

You said: As far as the class thing is concerned I think the lower and under classes are entitled to their enjoyment like the rest of us.

Definitely agree with you. However I've come across people who don't like/mock rugby because they see it as a upper class sport; however, the general make-up of many national rugby teams shows that it is a working class sport as well.

Nick said...

With one minute to go, and two players suffering from what would later be diagnosed as hypothermia, blowing the final whistle doesn't seem like a bad choice. In the normal run of things, injured players are subbed off the field in rugby too, you know.

Look at this: Morecambe vs Darlington abandoned because of rain. Rain! What a bunch of mary queens, eh?

I'd agree footballers don't pretend to be tough. Most Premier League players seem to roll about on the floor the moment anyone brushes past them. Or just throw themselves on the floor to cheat.

Isn't part of playing a sport controlling your aggression and not looking for 'retribution'?

"aimlessly bashing into each other"
Que?

"I can only speak for Labour MSP’s and they are all perfect gentlemen."

Apart from the ones involved in the fight? From which can infier that they're all raging bulls who shouldn't be in positions of responsibility. They need counselling, councillor.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Nick) 11:01
Nick, stop lying to yourself, the game was abandoned because it was too cold, I’ll try another list of reasons for abandoning a game :- flood, riot, ice, snow, fog, floodlight failure, number of players sent off, stadium catches fire (Bradford), troops fire into crowd (Croke Park Dublin) team dies in air crash (Man Utd.) but, too cold ? ya bunch of wimps.

“Morecambe vs Darlington” I haven’t bothered to read this but I assume it’s an unplayable pitch, you are being disingenuous, what kind of people are you rugby types ? really !

“Isn't part of playing a sport controlling your aggression and not looking for 'retribution'?”

Absolutely old chap.

“Apart from the ones involved in the fight?”

Putting a Scottish political Journalist in front of a Scottish Labour politician in a contact sport is a serious provocation, we are only human.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(The Nameless Libertarian) 10:26

I take it you don’t do irony.

Rugby is by and large a step up from the working classes, notwithstanding the fact that some working class people play it, with the exception of Wales the international teams in Britain are mainly from the professional classes which makes it elitist.

Nick said...

Indeed, the pitch in the match I linked to was deemed unplayable. But because of mere water! You know, like what comes out of taps! Pfft, don't these footballers waterproof their boots with dubbin? What poor little kittens.

Good glaven, I'd say conditions that are cold enough to make people collapse and start fitting are analogous to conditions which make a pitch too wet! At least no one was in physical danger in the football...

"Putting a Scottish political Journalist in front of a Scottish Labour politician in a contact sport is a serious provocation, we are only human."

Ha ha, fair enough! I'm sure the hacks felt the same way...

Re: the class thing... Why aren't there more posh types playing professional football if it's less elitist and more open as a sport?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Nick) 14:44
The pitch becomes unplayable when the ball won’t run or bounce, unlike rugby where you can carry the ball very skilfully in your hands, a rugby pitch doesn’t really need the grass cut.

Check the backgrounds of the International rugby teams I refer to and you will see what I mean, it’s a fact; I’m merely pointing it out.

Nick said...

You're off-beam there, I'm afraid. If the playing surface makes it impossible to retain grip (so, waterlogging, flooding, etc.) it's dangerous to play rugby on. If a pitch is so wet the ball won't bounce, the officials would probably reach the same decision as there footballing counterparts.

I'll not disagree with you. There are historical reasons for that, which are being addressed by the RFU.

The main one is that the two codes of rugby split over professionalism vs. amateurism: League allowed 'broken time' payments which enabled its majoritively working class players to play without losing money when they had to miss work to attend matches, while Union did not. Since the advent of professionalism in Union, players from less advantaged backgrounds can make a career of the game without compromising their earning power, as with football.

If you look at League, it's still a sport dominated by the working class.

I still wonder why football isn't a career followed by middle and upper class players, though. Do you think inverse snobbery might be involved? If it's open to all, it should reflect more of a cross-section of society, shouldn't it?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Nick) 14/01/09
One can’t help but admire your loyalty and your determination to drag the discussion away from the fact that the big girl’s blouses who play rugby can’t play through the cold.

Can I now assume that you have given this up or are you going to keep going round in circles until I close it down ?

Jim Lewis said...

Well done Tel. Cracking wee thread, and a bit of a lift from the doom and gloom surrounding us at the moment. Unlike some in here, I know of your inferiority complex when it comes to rugby. They won't know, for example, that every time the word 'tough' comes into the argument it doesn't come from the rugby mob but your good self. They won't know that you are only too aware as to why rugby won't be sanctioned on a waterlogged or iced over pitch - simply becuase every scrum in these conditions is begging for the front row to end up paraplegic, as has happened far too often. They won't know about your wee slice of personal animosity towards Paisley RFC - an obsession which runs so deep, you will refuse an offer of hospitality at a junior game in which a couple of your constituents would be delighted to show you how anti-elitist our club is. Come on now, Terry, own up Big Man.

By the way, I've seen first hand the effects of hypothermia when Paisley played the Police about 4 years ago. Our scrum-half was helped off the field showing symptoms approximating to a seizure. Later, it transpired that hypothermia was the cause, a disorder which is life-threatening. If two players had already displayed these symptoms, I'd have no compunction in stopping a game in which the protagonsists often spend quite a lot of time on the ground, thus being even more exposed to cold. Only an idiot would attempt to score points from a life-thteatening scenario.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Jim Lewis) 18:43

Jim, I’ve told you before I don’t have any personal animosity toward PRC or indeed the game itself, it’s really not that important to me, maybe it’s my loss.

I do however feel revulsion toward one of your number but, that’s personal, that’s where the tough stuff came from not me, check and see. I did not set out to become embroiled in this nonsense but having done so I am not prepared to listen to the extravagant claims being made about the game which is after all played mainly by those who can’t play football.

Rugby and its players revel in the tough guy image; I find it difficult to believe that you don’t accept that, again; having played football I just don’t buy it.

As far as the abandoned game is concerned I merely enjoyed pointing out that I had never heard of or played in a football match which was abandoned because of cold, it was a cracker of a line and great fun rubbing it in to Nick? who still can’t leave it alone. You and several others seem very touchy about rugby being criticised in any way.

Jim Lewis said...

"Rugby and its players revel in the tough guy image"

Now you're a reasonable guy Terry. So you keep telling us. That being the case, it wouldn't be hard for me to make the claim that, having been around the game playing for 38 years and coaching for 15, I'd probably know more about it than you. I don't recognise the player who claims we're big tough guys. We may act tough now and then, but those who do usually meet someone who's even tougher eventually, and this isn't unique to rugby. Now I'm sure you'll know that football players, rugby players, hockey players and even bowls players occasionally square up to each other. Likely as not, it'll happen more often in a contact sport, perhaps even more often in a game like rugby where whole body contact is the norm. It's unarguable that the type of collisions experienced in rugby are of a usually different nature to football. However, where I find the sports really differ is i discipline. It seems to me that squaring up to the ref has become almost the norm in football, whereas questioning the official, other than to enquire the nature of a decision (and that only from the captain) or to request that the ref look out for a particular piece of cheating or foul play. It saddens me to see footballers, purple in the face, attempting to intimidate refs. However, you won't find me making blanket suggestions about footballers. maybe you're just never been to the right game.

Nick said...

Oh Tel, I was just enjoying the cut and thrust of debate with you too! Please don't paint me as a touchy rugby fan: the game will carry on whether or not you like it, much as curling will continue despite the hilarity it provokes in my household.

For me, the enjoyment came from seeing you avoid the facts. Hypothermia's pretty dangerous, you know...

But why no response to the class comment? I thought that might be a good jumping off point for a more political discussion.

Nick said...

"the game which is... played mainly by those who can’t play football"

Where do you get this from?

In other news:

Football, played by people who're rubbish at American football in the USA.

Football, played by people who are rubbish at baseball in Cuba and Japan.

Football, played by people who are rubbish at rugby in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

I hope you don't shut this down, it's entertaining.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Jim Lewis) 15:01
“having been around the game playing for 38 years and coaching for 15, I'd probably know more about it than you”

Here we have a genuine difference of opinion and this is not a joke this time, I believe that there is no difference between 38 years and 38 minutes as far as understanding rugby is concerned.

“but those who do usually meet someone who's even tougher eventually, and this isn't unique to rugby”

Absolutely.

The nature of football and the level of competitiveness it engenders is something that a typical rugby player would struggle to relate to, hence the problem with referees, and the level of physical contact and by that I don’t mean rolling around in the mud.

The game which enjoys the biggest reputation for gentlemanly behaviour is arguably cricket while it is in actual fact the most vicious, they don’t go around acting tough though, I’m afraid that’s part of the rugby image, still I’m sure you have a great laugh playing it.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Nick) 17:17
“Oh Tel, I was just enjoying the cut and thrust of debate with you too”
No you weren’t, you were being boring and repetitive and still missing the point, Hypothermia is dangerous but I never said it wasn’t.
I think the answer to the class thing is simply tradition.

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Nick) 17:23

You should be paying me for this.

"The game which is... played mainly by those who can’t play football"

This is a traditional West of Scotland insult directed usually at the better off rugby playing schools by the ruffian schools like mine.
As in “what is a drummer?” answer “a guy who hangs around with musicians”
The drummers will be reaching for their keyboards right now.

Jim Lewis said...

Sigh

Nick said...

As a bassist, I have nothing but respect for drummers...

Why am I being boring by trying to get you to fess up to your 'boo hoo, rugby players don't like a bit of cold, the jessies' argument being daft? Daft on account of two players suffering hypothermia.

I agree about the class divide being tradition. However, that doesn't make rugby an inherently classist game - it's the social constructions surrounding it which give it that veneer. These can (and are) changing for rugby union. Are they changing for football?

Cllr Terry Kelly said...

(Nick) 19/01/09

“As a bassist, I have nothing but respect for drummers”

A musician friend of mine, having come off stage was told in the bar that the band hadn’t sounded at their best and he said, “ how would you like to try to play music with someone building a F*****g shed on the stage behind you”

I think the core rugby players will remain as they are because football is much harder to play and far far more competitive to make a living at. Lots of people do not particularly need to worry about money and want to be involved in sport so, for them, why put yourself through what it takes to make it in football when you do not need to?

Football also has to start at child level coming to football at even 9 or 10 would leave you at a massive disadvantage, whereas rugby can be picked up at any age.