Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Scrapping the Bok emblem? “Hier kom die Blomme”

It is fairly well known that most swimmer athletes prefer to wear Speedo, not because its gossamer lightness is any different to other swimsuits. It is the deep, psychological association of great success with the brand.

The Speedo company can proudly and honestly brag that 70% of swimming medals were won by athletes wearing its products in the Olympic Games of 1968, 1972, 1976, and 2008. Olympics gold medalists include Mark Spitz (nine gold medals, as we all know) and that unbelievable superman, Michael Phelps, with fourteen golds.

Speedo, for swimmers, is powerfully associated with winning and exc
elling. It therefore follows that if they wear only Speedo in training and in competing, their minds are energised by a powerful image of success which gives them maybe just a quarter of a second “edge” for every two laps, but that little bit means … everything.

I am not a massive rugby fan, in that I don’t feel compelled to watch every game played by the Blomme, oops, I mean Bokke. But from time to time I love to sit back in a pub with a crowd of Aussies and kiwis and cheer the Blomme, oops, the Bokke on.

I desperately want our okes to moer the Kiwis, and show the Aussies how to play ordentlike rugby, instead of those funny “Aussie Rules” and Rugby League versions. I don’t care about the colour of the skin of the S
pringbok player. The best man for the job gets the job.

England must never, ever win against us, that bunch of Roses! Not even one try. I want to see scores like 90 - 0 and paramedics coming on to the fields to take half of THOSE bliksemde Rose blomme off in stretchers. My tummy literally curdles on the beer and boerewors it has been consuming during the game as we play against England and they get a try or a penalty against us. I lose interest in my food. And I am well known in some Shanghai pubs for springing up and roaring in triumph when one of our Bokke scores a try. Bokkaaaaaaaaaah!

Of course all the vituperation above against other countries
(especially England — I detest seeing them beat our Bokke) is just in good jest and passionate sportsmanship. The Aussies, Kiwis, Brits and I wrangle and josh one other in a friendly way. This brings the countries together, bridging divisions. I still have my Springbok cap which I bought nearly five years ago when I left SA. It is now lekker battered and I wear it whenever I go watch a game.

When it comes to the rugger, I am passionately patriotic about SA. That’s never going to change. To hell with the boring politics. Where’s my beer and pass me that boerewors and … GO, John Smit! GO GO!!

I was living in England when we lost some important rugby game to the bloody English (aren’t they all important?). I came into the office to find the English flag draped over my desk. I am a good sportsman, love a joke, but my smile was rather glued-together as I took the flag off my desk amid the chortles and gibes from all the other blokes, all British of course.

The Springbok emblem should never be taken away from our rugby heroes. It is going to have a major psychological effect on the manne — just like the wonders wearing Speedos does for swimmers.

Have those cerebral giants at the parliamentary oversight committee realised the negative impact it is going to have on our boys when they mince or pirouette on to the field with an emblem that shows a Protea or fynbos? There is a Jungian archetypal energy surging through that young gladiator as he proudly dons the green and gold in the locker room before his first or fortieth game. That energy is going to be stifled when the Springbok badge is taken away from him.

That young man, proud of his Springbok emblem, knows full well the long history behind the emblem which has nothing to do with apartheid: it predates apartheid, and even Mandela wore the Springbok rugby jersey to bring us all together. That young Springbok warrior worked bloody hard to earn the privilege of running on to the field in the green and gold, not the ruddy pink and orange or whatever those intellectual giants are going to dream up as they rubbish an important part of South African sporting history.

It was a proud day — a very proud day — when Nelson Mandela came dancing on to the field after we narrowly beat the Kiwis at the World Cup back in 1995, and Madiba was wearing the same rugby jersey as Francois Pienaar. The whole country roared in unison, and in the centre of that unison was the greatest man ever born in South Africa — Madiba — congratulating one of our greatest sporting heroes, Francois. Both were wearing the same Springbok emblem.

That day meant something — a lot — to all South Africans. And now “they” want to take it away from us?

Hier kom die blomme, hier kom die blomme? I hope that never happens; our rugby players will lose that incredibly vital edge connected with the Springbok emblem.

Then we end up losing to countries like Italy and Canada? Unthinkable.

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