Thursday, February 19, 2009

Enjoy the silence?

Stephen Jones wants rugby crowds to do away with respectful silences and boo the life out of place kickers.
Six days out of seven, Stephen Jones is a tool. Magnificent writer, of course, but still a tool.
But today, I believe he has a point.
Thomond Park, lest we forget, is the most vivid example of a ground where it is less a tradition than a legal requirement to cloak yourself in perfect stillness while a penalty kick is being taken.
For a loud-mouthed fidget such as The Board, those 90 seconds or so can be torture. But one does his duty, of course.
Respect and dignity are the traditional lifeblood of rugby, and outside of France at least those values have translated quite well into the modern professional game.
But where, exactly, is the proviso that insists the only way for a spectator to show respect is through shutting his mouth?
Any regular at Thomond Park who claims that our collective silences are borne from a high-minded, holier-than-thou dignity of the Red Army is lying through his teeth.
We stay silent because we firmly believe it'll mess with the opponent's head even more than if we yelled blue murder at him. And in most cases, we're right.
But why do we hiss at and deride any ragamuffin who lets out a yelp or whistle? Isn't he just doing the exact same thing as the rest of us, just in a different way?
Mob rule is surprisingly inflexible, it seems.
P.S - That's Stephen Tuohy taking a punt in the picture, in case you're wondering. Did he score, you ask? Considering that he plays for Old Crescent, one has his doubts.

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