Saturday, 21 September 2019

Bob Jones on rugby's decline

Bob Jones on rugby's decline:
"I can’t think of another sport so overwhelmingly rule‑bound. Constant whistle‑blowing, pedantic referees, interference empowered linesmen and third television referees to re‑examine the rare moments of action, make for a tedious spectacle. It reeks of the school room.
    "I’ve always been critical of my fellow New Zealanders for their timid acceptance of rule‑obsessed officialdom blighting our lives, so overall, the decline in interest in rugby is probably a healthy thing.
    "The sight of a referee, having for the thousandth time blown his whistle and stopped play, then beckoning with his finger as if addressing a two year old, to a giant forward to come to him is degrading. The oaf stumbles forward, stands meekly before him while he’s scolded, then if yellow‑carded, hangs his head in shame as he leaves for his 10 minutes punishment.
    "I thought about that when watching the greatest game of all, namely test cricket and the just completed, wonderfully dramatic Ashes series. A fresh Aussie bowler came on, stripped his jersey off and handed it to the umpire, already adorned with three other player jerseys around his waist, then the bowler pulled his hat off, banged it on top of the two the umpire already had on his head, then carefully placed his sunglasses atop of the pile, before commencing to bowl.
    "During overs it’s common to see players joking and chatting with the umpires. It’s a game for God’s sake...
    "Potentially rugby is a spectacular game but there’s an urgent need for a more relaxed approach to the rules, a cry I might add, echoed by the previous coach."


  1. This is one reason I can't stand watching sports, either on TV or live. With the over-abundance of rules modern sports are more like watching a courtroom drama than an athletic competition--only the stakes are the lowest possible to imagine, a transitory "win" that will cease to matter in a month.

    As a parent I can say this also sapped the fun out of youth play. Soccer should be simple: Get the ball into that goal, keep it out of this one. When the rule book weights more than the players, there is a serious problem. And kids respond by finding less restrictive ways to play.

    1. ... and that's *precisely* how I ended up playing Australian Football -- the world's most libertarian sport. Surprises me that more don't!

    2. I think this is one reason Medieval swordplay is becoming popular again. It's a very simple system: If your opponent considers it good he takes it, if not hit him harder. The ref is there to make sure you don't actually murder each other, all else is left to those actually involved. Plus, it's a fantastic full-body workout!


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