IS THIS THE Greatest poem about rugby ever written?
Week in and week out around South Africa you will find hundreds of schoolboys playing rugby in front of thousands of spectators, fathers, brothers, mothers and sisters who live each tackle and snipe through every gap with the players.
Many would argue that the passion for this sport is unrivaled and unmatched, but just why do so many want to play one of the most rigorous and physically demanding of games?
Obviously there are many reasons players would say why they play rugby, what drives them on to give of their all at the training sessions and on match day.
A poet by the name of Rupert McCall has perhaps penned the most compelling reason why we play rugby. Take a read through his words and see if you agree.
Why we play the game
By Rupert McCall
When the battle scars have faded
And the truth becomes a lie
When the weekend smell of liniment,
Could almost make you cry
When the last rucks well behind you,
And the man who ran now walks,
It doesn’t matter who you are
The mirror sometimes talks.
Have a good hard look son
That melon’s not so great
The snoz that takes a sharp turn sideways
Used to be dead straight.
You’re an advert for arthritis
You’re a thorough bred gone lame
And you ask yourself the question
Why the hell you played the game?
Was there logic in the head knocks
In the corks and in the cuts
Or did common sense get pushed aside
For manliness and guts
And do you sometimes sit and wonder
How your time would often pass
In a tangled mess of bodies
With your head up someone’s arse
With a thumb hooked up your nostril
Scratching gently on your brain
With an overgrown Neanderthal
Rejoicing in your pain
Mate, you must recall the jersey
That was shredded into rags
Then the soothing sting of dettol
On a back engraved with tags
Now it’s almost worth admitting
Although with some degree of shame,
That your wife was right in asking
Why the hell you played the game.
But then with every wound reopened
As you grimly reminisce it
Comes the most compelling feeling yet
Christ, you bloody miss it
You see, from the first time that you lace a boot
And tighten every stud
That virus known as rugby
Has been living in our blood
When you dreamt it
When you played it
All the rest took second fiddle
And now your standing on the sideline
But your hearts still in the middle
And no matter where you travel
You can take it as expected
There will always, always be a breed of people
If there’s a team mate
Then you’ll find him
Like a gravitational force
With a common understanding
And a beer or three of course.
And as you stand there telling lies
Like it was yesterday old friend
You know that if you had the chance
You’d do it all again
You see, that’s the thing with rugby
It will always be the same
And that my friends I guarantee you
Is why the hell we play the game.
Why do you play rugby? Tell us your reasons…