All Black in deed…

all blackWe’ve had enough.  We’re absolutely sick of having people assume we want to hear endlessly about rugby, and the ABs, and the World Cup.

Like  hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders, probably, we are not fans of rugby – indeed we find it a war-like, ugly disgusting game glorifying brutishness and thuggery.  It’s often played by otherwise intelligent and likeable young men, but the ‘game’ encourages them to be their roughest and nastiest.  Players are often damaged – and go on playing through a fog of pain – which is downright stupid and dangerous, not manly and brave.

Rugby does revolting things to its audiences too – it turns otherwise  loving parents of schoolboys into screeching dervishes, referee-abusers, wild animals.  It allows grown men and women from the home side – the majority – to boo the opposing team – really un-sporting low-life behaviour.

As for the game itself, seeing grown men chase each other in a paddock and pull one another down into the mud and pile up on top of him is a very odd form of behaviour to enjoy…

I wouldn’t care so much about this ridiculous behaviour in paddocks all over the country (and the world) during the season if it weren’t for the fact it’s a national obsession, encouraged by governments and big business as a distraction from the real challenges of human life.  A few simple questions need answering – who makes money out of rugby?  Who spends it?  Who benefits? Who loses out?  More than 2000 years ago, Roman Emperors and the ruling classes used cheap food and public games (chariot -racing, gladiators fighting) as a means of social control ( “Bread and circuses”) – our governments and brewery barons use beer and rugby the same way.

Why do newspapers, television,  radio and social media have to waste so much time talking about this game?  There are a hundred things many of us would rather hear about:   women doing exciting scientific research on improving health, cities getting rid of plastic bags, transition towns developing neighbour-friendly lives, communities transforming their buying habits and eliminating food waste, families succeeding in overcoming addictions and eliminating violence from their lives, people building their own houses from  recycled materials, new court systems helping criminals change their behaviour, a man producing colouring books of Maori designs to assist people with dementia…

Well into the twentieth century boys in New Zealand were being taught that warfare was “the Great Game of Life” and rugby the best preparation for it.  Most of us now see warfare as the greatest threat to our lives, and certainly not a game of life.   New Zealand would be a much better nation if rugby became just a game played by some people for fun on a weekend, alongside a hundred other different kinds of entertainment.

Then, perhaps, we might stop thinking that scoring a try down the end of a paddock against a home team (or climbing to the top of a hill in someone else’s country  under gunfire  from the locals) is visible proof of manhood.  It’s not – it’s actually the visible evidence of our failure to evolve yet  into a sane, peaceful species with conflict resolution, creativity and compassion as our most valued attributes.




  1. Jill Abigail says

    Bravo, Charmaine! Agree, agree, agree…..

  2. Well said.
    Sad that there is so much time spent on reporting the AB’s that nothing of importance gets into the media especially with all the wonderful work being done by ordinary people.

  3. Nothing to add. You’ve said it all Charmaine. Thanks for the moment of reflective sanity.
    We are finding that getting boxed sets of TV shows from the library a great way to avoid a lot of the madness.
    Have I said I loved this opinion piece?? Haha.

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