The Independent Democrats’ parliamentary leader, Joe McGluwein or something, is refusing to wear the Springbok jersey during the Rugby World Cup because the garments were made in China instead of, presumably, a rancid sweatshop in Salt River.
I refuse to wear the jersey for the same reason I refuse to wear fireproof overalls during Formula One season. I don’t want to walk around Pick n Pay looking like Jenson Button and then have to get into a dented 13-year-old Hyundai in front of other people. It’s embarrassing. Besides, once I removed my helmet, they’d notice that I looked considerably less like McLaren’s top driver and more like Nick Nolte clinging to the untethered end of a long Saturday night.
I grew up in Durban in a relatively rugby-free environment believing it was illegal to wear Springbok kit in much the same way that it was illegal to impersonate a police officer. So on the odd occasion that I came across bloated and bellicose beer-stained Boers wearing Bok jerseys, I assumed they had once played for the national side. What I couldn’t understand was why they had all ended up in such a terrible condition.
I didn’t like rugby. I didn’t like the people who played it and I didn’t like the people who followed it. The night before South Africa was due to play New Zealand in the 1995 World Cup final, I was sitting in a bar jotting down some rubbish in a notebook when a large slobbering imbecile whacked me on the back and asked who I thought was going to win. “Win what?” I said. He rocked back on his heels and looked at me as if I were the idiot. “The rugby, you doos. What else?” I shrugged and said, “Who’s playing?” It was as if I had got up onto my bar stool and told everyone that I was gay and had black friends.
It was only fairly recently that I watched an entire game. Not in a stadium or a bar, obviously. That would be intolerable. Rugby fans are louder than Libyan rebels and even worse losers.
Even though I don’t fully understand the rules of the game yet (why touch paws?), I do enjoy the sheer animalistic violence of it all. I must say, though, that I would prefer it if there were no rules whatsoever. Get rid of the referee. He slows things down and ruins it for the rest of us. Give the men a free hand and let them play to the death.
It is apparently unpatriotic to watch rugby without guzzling beer and I predict that, for the next few weeks, half the country will be gevrotelled by lunchtime every day. So if there’s no column next week, you’ll know I was off my face at the breakdown.
My vomit is green. Go Bokke!