Having lived for a quarter century plus has certain advantages. One: You still occasionally believe you are always right. Two: The world is out to get you, not the other way round. Three: Having your opinion be respected is really important. Now this may not seem advantageous, but let me tell you…
If you believe you are always right, you automatically create the second advantage: being a victim. That’s so much easier isn’t it? If you’re a victim, then you really are powerless to change anything. If you are afraid your opinion will be shot down, you can always keep your mouth shut and the cycle starts all over again. You don’t have to be proved wrong after all because you never open your mouth to begin with. Ah, to lie to your self is really convenient.
Well, however long this current insight will last, I guess I should share this with someone, before I completely chicken out! I do not like sharing opinions in general as I, like so many other closet case opinion rookies, really can’t stand criticism. Strange, as I have had so much experience with criticism! Oh wait… that’s why!
It’s easy to lie to yourself and say that you don’t care about another person’s opinion, but at the end of the day, that’s why you’re keeping your mouth shut, isn’t it? I read somewhere, many years ago, that diplomacy is the skill to send someone to hell in such a way that they actually look forward to the trip. I never believed this, but reevaluation really is a bitch, or at the very least; a very unpleasant cat that sneaks into your house to steal your cat’s food and urinate on your curtains.
I was reading several comments of friends and acquaintances on Facebook regarding the Super 14 rugby semi finals, and found myself giving a really nasty comment, borne of irritation and anger. The strange thing is, I support my team, same as the rest, but I generally don’t care enough about other opinions to let them phase me. I guess this has been building up for some time, and national pride, something completely unfamiliar to me, snuck up and bit me in the… well, you get the idea.
I lost you didn’t I? Well, allow me to explain. The World Cup (Soccer, for those who don’t know) Will be held in South Africa shortly, indeed, kick off is just around the corner. National pride snuck into my country and infected more people than the common flu. Unfortunately, some people had their flu shots and proudly wear the colours of countries they know nothing about, have never visited and wouldn’t be able to point out on a map! Their support is due to past successes, gorgeous hunks of meat (aka rock hard abs) or other indeterminate blah blah blah. Oh, and the fact that our national team has not done well in the past is a factor for some.
The problem is also racism. Whilst my country has made leaps and bounds in that department, becoming tolerant of other cultures and races, hatred and fear has been a constant companion for most of my countrymen. They were either at the receiving end of decades of oppression and hate crimes, or they were the ones delivering the blows and feel the world has turned upside down, corruption has seeped in and our leaders are clueless puppets or children given the trigger for a nuclear bomb. Sadly, both sides are right. Corruption is rife, but with free speech we finally know about it. Some of our leaders really are idiots, but then, I believe most politicians are to a certain extent. And absolute power corrupts absolutely.
All that being said, our country has changed from a brutal blunt instrument, to a delicate machine of incredible beauty. Throw a spanner in the works and you will see sparks! If we can’t support our own country, despite the rough patches, we’ll never be considered for anything better. After all, if we don’t have the bad times, we will never recognize the good times… but I digress.
A Facebook friend summed up my country’s attitude to rugby in a few choice words. Life is a game, Rugby is serious. Indeed. Competition between the South Africa teams can be extreme. Despite the fact that the Springboks are made up out of players from all the teams playing in the Super 14, the hatred of opposing teams can be severe. A Stormers supporter (for example) would never support the Blue Bulls. They would rather support another country’s team against the Blue Bulls. This, my friends, is the crux of the matter. I support any South Africa team against another country, but having lived in Blue Bulls country for a rather large portion of my life, I am a Blue Bulls supporter. The fact that my friends and colleagues would rather support a New Zealand team than an upcountry team, rubbed me on the raw! If I could hiss and spit like a cat without adding to my increasing laugh lines (one of the drawbacks of being a quarter century survivor) and making a complete fool of myself, I would have.
My theory was simple. In the semi finals the two winning teams would face each other, right? Well, wouldn’t an SA final be preferable to matching our strength against an Aussie or NZ? Off course it would be! Surely this indicates the strength of our players?! No, some of these people would rather support New Zealand (by the way, can they point to it on a map?) than their upcountry counterparts. I mentioned, being a Blue Bull off course, that we smell their fear, it excites us, and we will meet them in the final. Ah, Stormers pride! I truly believe they are looking forward to making me eat my words, but that’s a story for another day!
In closing, my countrymen, I would like to add: I believe our boys will do us proud in the world cup. Wear your colours, show your support, and remember, we have a secret weapon. Our boys are used to it, not sure if those pretty boys would be able to stomach it… Blow your Vuvuzela!