The careers of rugby players and coaches are often characterized by one incident/match or remark. A defining moment so to speak; an occurrence by which a player, team or coach are remembered.
Kamp Staaldraad was Rudolph Straeuli’s defining moment. Continue reading
The boks were drawn into the Argentinians messy and scrappy style of play. Maybe it’s time for referees to start acting on the Pumas persistent illegal tactics at the tackle ball as well as their time wasting actions at the scrum and lineout.
One can go on and argue that this result is good for Argentinian rugby and that a competitive Argentinian team is good for the competition. Personally I don’t feel like going up that road.
It was scrappy; it was irritating; it was ugly and it pulled Southern hemisphere rugby right back into the nineteen sixties in my opinion. Continue reading
Last weekend’s game was not a particular good game. It was a tough match for SA as the Pumas are an abrasive bunch with some serious beef in the pack.
The Puma lineout and scrum was quite competitive but the most impressive part of their game was their structure at the breakdowns. The worst part of their game was their inability to use the ball. They lacked variety, skill and flair on attack. Continue reading
Media reports are quick to plug that the Springboks have never lost to the Pumas.
However I can still remember the day in 1982 when Hugo Porta’s South American team gave the Springboks a hiding 21-12 with Porta scoring all his teams points by running in a try, kicking a dropgoal, and slotting a few penalties and a conversion.
Picture above show Hugo Porta on his way to score his try on that day on 3 April 1982 when the Jaguars won the boks in Bloemfontein. Porta jinked his way past Naas Botha and Ray Mordt. Continue reading
I have a great deal of sympathy for Caster Semenya. I think she went through a terrible ordeal and the final results of the investigation left her in a space of just trying to be normal.
Playing psycho-analyst I would say she is trying to obtain that illusion of normality by not standing out. By reducing her athletic performances to the level of the rest of the field; by being out of shape like the majority of other people and by coming second instead of first.
The way she came back in the last 150 meters just indicate that she was by far the best athlete in that group. But she is out of shape probably 10 kg overweight and in athletic terms that’s a huge burden to carry.
The importance of social acceptance, family and friends is evident every time an athlete wins as can be seen when they run to their support groups or when they listen to the national anthem during the medal ceremonies.
I did not see Caster running up to supporters and exhibiting the same exhilaration as the other athletes. She was emotionally flat and my feeling is she purposely avoided winning as that would put her in the limelight yet again.
Gold medal winners or any Olympic athlete for that matter are ‘freaks’; they receive something special at birth and being an Olympic champion comes with a price. Of course they work hard and train extensively but you need the genes first and foremost.
Casters genetic make-up left her in a bit of a spot of bother and she needs somebody to snap her out her current mindset. Fact is she received a gift that she needs to embrace. It could have been far worse (and it is for many). She could have received a genetic make-up that saw her living with a disease like cystic fibrosis or cancer.
Yes it is tough at the Olympic Games and I might be totally wrong in the sense that it was only a matter of her not being able to handle the pressure and running tactically a bad race. Looking at her shape and her performances since 2009 I have a feeling there is more to it.
It is sad seeing a young athlete struggling with such an emotional burden. My hope is that she gets help dealing with this emotional issue soon as the careers of athletes are short. The window is small and she has at most one more Olympic games in which she can win gold. The starting point for her is to accept herself and make the most of her rather unique gift. In the final analysis winning silver on the world stage is something special in itself and one has to congratulate her with this achievement.
Looking at her accelation over the last 80 meters and her performance in 2009 my feeling is she is something really special; one of those truelly rare gifted athletes that’s in a different class. Silver in that regard could be seen as underperforming.