Forget the hate, hug your mate

00:14, Sep 20 2012
WELL DONE: All Blacks captain Richie McCaw shakes the hand of Australia's James Horwill.

Does anyone else find the behaviour of players before and after games interesting?

A few Rugby World Cups back, the adidas boss was hosted in Cardiff and was astounded to see how matey the two teams of protagonists were after the matches, even though they’d been trying to beat the daylights out of each other for 80 minutes.

The All Blacks and Springboks at Dunedin chatted with each other after the final whistle.

It was rather like during the Boer War when the two armies voluntarily ceased hostilities to play a game of rugby.

There are cultural differences now. When the ABs and Wallabies shake hands, the cuzzies always seem to give each other a full man-hug with a bit of shoulder.

In club rugby, Pakeha players offer the traditional handshake but are often flummoxed when the Maori guys offer the cup-shake.

Last year a Pumas rugby player offered the high cup after I’d interviewed him at Massey University and our hands missed their mark.

What we could do without is teams going into a huddle for a cuddle after winning a game, sometimes offering a prayer to a higher being and keeping the poor mugs who have lost waiting patiently while the man-love is completed.

It is the same in tennis where Grand Slam winners like Serena Williams collapse as if  they have been shot and writhe in unseemly manner on the court. Meanwhile, up at the net, the defeated mug has to wait patiently to shake hands.

In the table tennis at the Olympics, players barely touched fingers after matches. At least in tennis there is bonhomie between players and guys like Roger Federer go out of their way to congratulate the defeated.

Not only do soccer teams shake hands before matches, so do referees and their linesmen and then they go through the whole palaver after the games. Chelsea’s John Terry was even ordered to do so last weekend, even if it didn’t happen.

Netballers not only advance and shake hands before games, but the two sets of players jump into a communal huddle afterwards. Maybe it’s a woman thing.

Golfers habitually congratulate opponents for their good shots while in play, even if sometimes it hurts and it is absolutely obligatory to shake hands on the 18th. Sledging is another blight; it is not commonplace in many sports but it is rife in cricket.

Boxers try to knock each other senseless and almost all embrace afterwards.

Which proves even the most violent sports are not quite wars.

■ Has there been any more hogwash propagated than turbulence from hot air rising being the reason for goal-kickers botching their shots at goal in the Dunedin stadium.

So the South Africans missed seven from nine last Saturday while Aaron Cruden kicked three from six — one of his went slightly right, one was a shank and the other was a poster.

Springbok Morne Steyn has days on the veld where he lands every kick and days where he has an epidemic of misses.

Many of his shots at Dunedin weren’t even close. I have a revolutionary idea: Aim the ball between the posts.

■ It might have been Student Day at the Races last Saturday but one student won’t remember it with any fondness.

That’s assuming she can remember it at all.

She ended up wandering down our inner city street a long way from Awapuni, blotto.

The girl staggered to the rear of our neighbour’s section, nicked the only grapefruit off his tree and when accosted, thought she was home.

How she came to be abandoned by her friends wasn’t clear, but she had been left to wander the streets out of control in a mini dress.

My wife drove the young woman to her flat about 2km away, and she was grateful as the tears flowed. Do supposedly intelligent students not look out for each other these days?


Manawatu Standard