Monday, May 21, 2012

This is what the poet Whigfield imagined

It was a lovely thing to walk home from work during the rugby on Saturday, counting the jellies that somebody had scattered longways up Clanbrassil Street while the pubs shouted things about Leinster and Ulster.

My shift, that of an intermittent sportswriter, had been scheduled to end before full-time and I wasn't for hanging around. Never with the rugby, the handball, or whatever I glibly put it down as.

Twitter was scrolling and scrolling with images of blue flags and the London Irish, scenes from Kiely's and The Barge starring people that I wouldn't dream of letting near the house. Neckstring sunglasses, despite the damp, whoops for penalty tries and other facets of the game that they'd struggle to explain if pressed.

No, I don't live with the rugby at all, with the fandom it created some time around 2008, its newly found reach to the Casual Fridays, the ROGs, BODs, Gordos and the Hookies, the few bevvies and Ryle Nugent's nasal whittle.

Conversely, I fathom the game itself. I know what a scrum-half is, and does, and I really should, too. It's in the contract. There's no selectivity in my line of work.

The players make a decent show of respect to the officials, to each other, and I'm sure to the supporters too. There's a nice line in occasional eye gouging and some of them can run quite fast, if let.

And yet. And how. It angers me.

I still think it's a sport for people that like 'sports,' a generality and an excuse to go on the batter like an Irish person ever needed one. Just a preamble to a Saturday night roast, a chance to get the anger out before the fun begins 'with the girls,' or 'the guys,' or the kind of people that appear in ads for Barry's Tea.

So, on Saturday gone, I swerved it. I took my time and counted the jellies, wondered if it was drug code, the jellies strewn at paces of ten or twenty apart while I headed for the bridge.

I passed one man outside the Halal Shop and it happened to be Neil Hannon, who looked as wan and withdrawn as I'd always imagined him to be, and I wanted to hug him for being wherever the handball wasn't.


Holemaster said...

Rugby. I watch it in Green but never in Blue.

Radge said...

Never in blue.