Springbok Rugby – Let us vote
Let’s face it: it’s a bad time to be a Springbok supporter. As we await what has an excellent chance of being an embarrassing defeat against Italy (please, please let me be wrong), let’s consider our options:
To consider options, of course, one would have to have options in the first place … and we don’t, but I like to make things up as I go along.
So here are my few options for us as Springbok supporters. Note that I don’t pretend to offer a solution to the Boks’ woes. If I had that the matter would be different. These are options to us in lieu of a solution:
It’s multiple choice:
We abandon the idea of supporting a national side in rugby (and maybe any team sports). If you come to think of it, the whole thing is silly. Unless you know all 15 guys personally, why support them? If you were to compare ideas on paper you might have more in common with a Libyan drug lord or a Canadian ice skater.
People in the know have long been saying professional sport is a modern alternative to war … and we don’t like war, do we?
Green isn’t that great a colour anyway, and let’s face it, it’s not gold, it’s yellow.
If you really feel that rugby is in your blood, find a local school side to support (preferably mine www.facebook.com/Brandwag.co.za).
When they win it’s awesome and when they lose they are just kids and not professionals getting paid exorbitant fees to be terrible at what they do.
You could – as some might have already – accept that things might never be the same again. That the Springboks have a lesser place in world rugby and none of us will live to see it being different. Then watch them lose if you choose … many countries have supporters who do just this. They feel satisfied with smaller losing margins rather than expecting wins. Stop expecting stuff, then you won’t be disappointed.
This is the exciting option. Let’s change everything about Springbok rugby management and make it interactive and democratic.
Any South African citizen can register on a website and vote for the team, the management, the game strategy, the captain … everything.
During the week the selected team members work on skills and fitness with democratically elected fitness and skills gurus.
If the Springboks lose it is the team you voted for losing … so suck it up.
I don’t think we really even need a coach – ask yourself, could we be doing any worse? But in an open democracy the registered supporters can vote for a coach (one who’s available) if they want one.
Springbok rugby will become a bit like Idols, but without those annoying judges. We can still have Nick, Naas, Ashwin and whoever commenting and then they can really rip into the public for making stupid decisions etc and the whole thing might even draw some new rugby fans.
Just think of it, with voting campaigns almost any provincial player could reach the national side if popular enough. There should be just enough sensible regulations to prevent fifteen different guys from playing each week, but regulations are to be proposed and voted for by the registered supporters.
Nick Mallet famously said the South African public doesn’t understand much about rugby – and I’m not arguing that point – but I’m willing to bet Nick doesn’t want to be the coach so we might as well move with the times.
Professional sport is supposed to be entertainment – and entertainment is now interactive.
Lastly, here’s something I feel strongly about. Medical aids have a list of chronic conditions they have to cover called prescribed minimum benefits – to prevent them from covering your cold but not your cancer.
Let’s do the same with Springbok rugby. Let’s say, if you’re a professional rugby player there is a set number of skills you must have. The public will decide what these are, but they might include actually tackling a guy in your line, catching the ball instead of knocking it, slotting a penalty from an acceptable distance, not getting yourself sent off the field, not kicking out on the full, etc. Should a player fail to display any of these skills at test level, he should be docked 10% of his match fee. This way a player will feel his worst performance in his pocket and there’ll be no need to insult the poor guy afterwards. It’s been this way for musicians and actors for years.
Technology has made direct public involvement possible and it might even get rid of the infighting and behind the scenes politics ruining the game for all of us.
I say, put it to a vote.