Wednesday, 18 November 2009

No End To My Wants

So I got my craving for Ceviche satisfied last weekend (much to the dismay the following morning of my better half) but this weekend I have a new desire.

It's Autumn. Which generally for me means one thing to look forward to. No not Christmas (that when I am this skint is too far away to think about just yet). Not Thanksgiving (although I am getting strangely excited for my first experience of it). No this is the time of year I look forward to the rugby season starting proper. For me the club game in Scotland hasn't lived up to its promise from the days when the amateur sport turned professional in the 90s. So for me the season really starts when the Autumn Internationals begin.

I've loved the game of rugby since I was fortunate enough to go to the right school that actually involved it in the sporting curriculum. I learned to play just before the game turned professional, when Scotland had some amazing talents in the international squad and when Bill McLaren still commentated for the BBC. Had I gone to that same school now, I might not have had the same interest in the sport I have today. For a start there is a shortage of talented players in Scotland now that would find a place in a World XV but since when has that stopped us Scots enjoying our sport? We seem to revel in the underdog role.

I think it is most likely the lack of a Bill McLaren type of commentator on the box that would mean I wouldn't have the same interest in the sport. Today's commentators seem to lack the enthusiasm and joy for the sport that the great man had. The commentators of today certainly don't lack passion for the sport but its somehow not manifested in the same way. The ex players that commentate today focus a lot more on the mistakes within the game rather than the good plays. The English commentators especially, seem biased in the opinions. Bill in contrast focused less on the mistakes, mentioning them but laughing them off perhaps with a quick memorable turn of phrase and was enthusiastic about good plays no matter the nationality the executioner of the play was. I suspect it was his enthusiasm for the game that meant I learnt to play and enjoy the game more than I would have from just the training field alone. It is his approach to commentating that allows someone who is new to the sport to enjoy it as an outsider looking in. A neutral not sure of the rules does not want to listen for 5 minutes of half time why a particular play was bad, if the play breaks down they can see it for themselves they want to be able to see the more enjoyable elements. Sport is serious but at the same time its there for us as entertainment.

Thanks to Bill, today I look forward to the Autumn internationals. I wish I could take my wife to the home of Scottish rugby, Murrayfield this weekend to watch Scotland take on Australia. Not because I expect Scotland to win, I don't we have beaten them since 1982, but I would love her to take in the atmosphere of the stadium as the national anthem is sung. I would love her to enjoy a great exciting game, one with hard tackles but unlike football (soccer) one with fair play and none of the dramatics of the over paid football players.

Had Bill McLaren not retired in 2002 and his voice could be heard around the stadium I suspect she might even be suitably distracted from the rain and the cold wind to enjoy the game that bit more. But that would for me maybe a good reason to stay here in Utah as I would be sure to hear from her at the end of the game "Why can't you talk like him? I'd love you forever if you talked like him."

Sadly though I can neither talk with his Hawick lilt or take my wife to the game at the weekend. Life is not fair sometimes.

I suppose we could go to the Fiddlers Elbow to enjoy the game but that will only be an option if the game is on late enough back home to take into the account for the time difference here for the place to be open. And its not the same as watching it in pub back home, full of Scots and Australians with an invested interest in the game.

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