Are we taking rugby too seriously?

Last updated 05:00 15/02/2013
Richie McCaw
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ON THE BALL: Is rugby culture taking over?

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The intelligent citizen trying to enjoy his summer and show his children there is more to New Zealand culture than rugby has been foiled once again in recent years by the arrogant extension of the New Zealand rugby season.

I am a father of two, a former rugby player and a fan of the nature of the game.

Having said that, the pervasive presence of the rugby approach to life now distracts from what is really important in life and culture, that is diverse interests, knowledge of learning techniques, inquisitiveness, and tolerance.

Most young rugby players now resemble a New Zealand trotting cup hopeful - they wear blinkers during their days and put all their eggs in the basket of "making the race". What happens to the 99.9% of horses that don't make it? What about the aspiring professional rugby players that have had their blinkers on for just that little bit too long?

I would be remiss to omit the other element of the New Zealand holy trinity: beer. It's a remarkably delicious and refreshing substance, however New Zealand's drinking culture is disgusting. While the worst display of drinking come from the female 16-25 demographic, rugby pack mentality encourages the binge use of beer even from the age group level. I know many former rugby players who now cannot have just one or two beers but must finish 15. Many of them (to their credit) won't even have a beer at the office through fear of not getting home to the family until 2am.

Rugby, racing and beer are fine aspects of our culture and heritage, but the context in which we see and practice their pleasures have been lost to the 1970s. 

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