A fan? Why, that’s something that you waft in front of your face to keep you cool.
Not that kind. Perhaps supporter is more descriptive.
It has been said that football is a game with gentlemen on the pitch (questionable, in my opinion) and thugs in the stands (no comment); whilst rugby is a game for thugs, with gentlemen in the stands. Perhaps this is a rugby maxim for pretending to be more civilised that the sporting cousins (although wine in a plastic cup with a foil lid, Murrayfield? Perhaps Darwin was wrong about evolution being unidirectional). Well, there are certainly many fewer police present at Murrayfield than there ever are at Tynecastle or Easter Rd, and who can imagine a riot at the rugby (excluding the Edinburgh/Glasgow derby)?
For the past few years the Scotland international team rugby team have played, lets say, less than optimally. The autumn tests and last year’s tour in South America tour they played well, but these are (I am sad to say) exceptions to the rule. The funny thing is that I think Scotland are the only team who can be beaten but still come out of it smiling because of some benign little triumph. Take this year’s Calcutta cup at the weekend, we lost, we didn’t play marvellously, but Patterson’s tackle was good enough to make us all smile. The rest of the time was just shouting. Standard.
There is the slight problem that we are currently well on course to collecting another wooden spoon to add to the (regrettably large) collection which Murrayfield plays host to. Without getting too political about it, this is a serious problem and although I think the large gentleman behind me at the Ireland match couldn’t have done a better job (as he claimed, very loudly) I believe he had a point.
That said, just because we’re crap (and believe me, we are) I love the passion which keeps the support there. I won’t stop shouting – unless, like at the Ireland match, I lose my voice from shouting too much – and it is probably unlikely that my feelings won’t be shared through the medium of expletives, because I still love my shirt. Regardless. Maybe it isn’t about the winning after all? Perhaps it really is all in the taking part (a.k.a. ‘deferring success’, getting thrashed), but for once, can we please have a little of that winning feeling against Italia? And perhaps only have wooden spoons for baking purposes this year.
I am a bit gutted that I am not going to be there on Saturday (especially as I had to turn down a ticket because I’m working), but perhaps that might be so bad. Wait, who am I kidding. Maybe I don’t fit in? Recently one kind member of my family decided to remind me of the first time they took me to a match, Scotland Vs Spain (we won, considerably). In short I think it’s fair to say I caused a few mildly concerned looks/laughter (and my dad considerable embarrassment) when the seven year old version of myself imparted the following wisdom to my team on the pitch: “Just punch him in the face when the ref’s not looking, then run away with the ball!” What was I saying about those who watch rugby from the stands?