Well I think it’s safe to say the World Cup is officially here. By that I mean you’re about to get my first blog of blind World-Cup-related rage. If an event occurs and Sassy isn’t outraged, then did it really happen?
This morning Rebecca Wilson climbed on her soapbox to explain why, by her infallible logic, the Rugby League World Cup is a non-event, a waste of time, and a manifestation of a massive and pitiful inferiority complex on the part of Australian rugby league.
About 8 hours later, I unwound my bedhair from the bedhead (how did it get stuck there? I know not), fell out of bed, guzzled two glasses of diet coke, realised I had no pants on, and decided I didn’t care. Then I read this article and had a minor rage-induced stroke.
Usually I ignore columns that are this clearly off-the-mark and irelevant, but now that we are firmly and happily embedded with the Irish rugby league team (not that kind of bedded, you dirty bitches), we feel like we have to stand up for our mans.
To qualify for football’s World Cup is a massive achievement. It takes months and months of jumping through hoops to earn your ticket.
Sadly, the same cannot be said for the league event.
It features teams from such league superpowers as Scotland and Tonga.
Do you see this paragraph? I AM OUTRAGED ALREADY. And not just because I find it horrifyingly pretentious when Australians refer to soccer as ‘football’, as though they are somehow cosmopolitan enough to recognise that the round ball is the only true football and everyone who doesn’t immediately realise football means soccer is a halfwit. I say not so much ‘cosmpolitan’ as just being deliberately obtuse.
For everyone’s information, there are qualifying events for the World Cup, which is why Russia will not be participating this year. (We love you anyway, Russian Bears!) But more importantly, um, does anyone find this deeply offensive and vaguely racist?
I hate this attitude that every country other than Australia, New Zealand and Britain is a waste of space in the World Cup. It’s so arrogant, and for the most part I think it smacks of anglo-centrism.
It was only one hundred years ago that league was born in Australia. But now that Australia is the world’s dominant team, somehow we’re not willing to give any other nation even just a decade or two and a bit of a helping hand to develop the game and their squad and become a league heavyweight in their own right.
Rebecca Wilson is proud to call herself a die hard league fan. Oddly, she says that this means she watches footy 26 weeks of the year. Apparently Rebecca Wilson cares not for watching the finals.
But how can someone who loves watching the NRL be so patronising and dismissive about the very countries that produce the players she watches for 26 golden weeks every year?
Does she love them in their club jerseys, just not in Pacific Islander ones? Ooh those pesky Pacific Islands, always wanting to be involved in the World Cup, just because they are major contributors of the players who keep the game going. UPSTARTS! Damn them and their poly pride.
And if countries don’t have a strong national rep side, by this logic, they never will. Because no one is ever allowed to compete at an international level unless they’re gonna win. Right?
How about the participation of a second tier league nation in an international event is the kind of catalyst that leads a little boy to grow up and dream of wearing his national jersey and playing on the world stage?
Having sunk a few drinks with the Irish Wolfhounds yesterday I can say these boys are full of passion and excitement to be playing in the World Cup. (And yes there is a post on the way about them, stay tuned, babies).
Livin on borrowed time, poor bastards. Pic:Xinhuanet Photo
Shall we also start eliminating the battler nations from the Olympics? BYE MOLDOVA! God knows most of their athletes have no chance at reaching event finals, let alone winning a medal.
Should we boot out the shit teams from the NRL? Just a few years ago Manly was at the bottom of the NRL table, but no one told Steve Menzies there was no point having them in the comp because they’d never get any better.
It honestly upsets me that people think there is no value in competition beyond the question of winning. What a shallow, cynical way to see the world. And what a slap in the face for all the players from World Cup nations - especially ones who didn’t qualify – who feel actual pride in representing their country.
Quite frankly I don’t think I want to live in a world where I can’t watch Eric the Eel live his dream at the Olympics.
I also feel like I should be worried about the emotional health of Rebecca Wilson’s kids right now. They have some bleak athletics carnivals coming up in their future.
Tonga, Scotland, Ireland and Fiji are rugby union and soccer strongholds. The likelihood that participation in a league World Cup will in any way change the status quo in any of these countries is very, very low.
This can only mean one thing. Rugby league suffers from a massive inferiority complex. While the AFL is content to rest on its domestic laurels, pockets of the league community are intent on trying to turn their game into an international one. This will, of course, never happen.
OH IS THAT WHAT IT MEANS? An inferiority complex. Silly Sassy. I thought what this actually meant was that Ireland, Scotland and Wales are Rugby League babies, and the fact that the Super League sees fit to expand into the Celtic nations is good proof that there is interest there and money to be made on the back of league.
God forbid you invest in a fledgling area. It might turn out … gasp, to be a good thing, like the Gold Coast Titans.
I also thought it meant that the countries like Tonga and Fiji where Rebecca thinks league will never catch on are the exact same nations that are producing first grade talent to feed the Aussie league. Fui Fui Moi Moi anyone?
But then, Rebecca isn’t a believer in expansion. Why keep a competition that tries to grow rugby league in other nations? It’s doomed to fail.
The real fact is this: this is not a sad delusional little attempt to make rugby league a world sport. It already is a world sport. All these countries competing in World Cup will be fielding players who were born or live in the countries they are reperesenting.
The question is how we deal with league as a world game. Call me a cockeyed optimist, but I think the best way is to just let the bitches play.
And hey, at least league truly is an international game. If I recall correctly one of AFL’s initiatives is international rules. For those who don’t know, this is where Australia wants to play other countries, then remembers that no one else plays AFL. This problem is only solved by changing the rules.
PLEASE COME PLAY WITH ME! I’M SO RONERY! I’LL BRING THE BALL AND WE CAN PLAY BY WHATEVER RULES YOU WANT, JUST LET ME PLAAAAY!
But in the end, what’s most disappointing about the column is how wrong it is.
Rebecca Wilson thinks sales of tickets are non-existent and no one gives a shit about the cup. www.sportinglife.com seems to think the final is a sellout and ticket sales have passed £2million.
Rebecca Wilson thinks league is a non-event in Melbourne, but crowds at Olympic Park average more than 14,000 for Storm home games, and Melbourne holds the record for the largest crowd ever in attendance for a State of Origin game.
Rebecca Wilson seems to think that Rugby Union has a legitimacy at world level league can only dream of, but surely no country has ever won the thing that isn’t Australia, New Zealand, the Saffas or the Poms. To suggest that the success of a small group of dominant nations doesn’t make the whole competition a “farce” in union but it does in league is clearly ridiculous.
And the moral of the story is don’t you criticise my World Cup. I will cut you good. Love Sassy.