Last Saturday, rugby fans witnessed a great game of Rugby during the first leg of the famous Brabdy Shield match the social event of the season.
Thirty lads played their hearts out and gave the spectators, and loyal alumni their money`s worth. Trinity with their typical fabulous brand of running and passing, and Royal with its gutsy forwards won everyone`s hearts on the field.
However, one of the most shocking and disgraceful plays of the game came not from the players but from some young spectators from the Royal College tent, I witnessed something I had not seen in my days as a spectator at school Rugby matches. Those who disrupted the game and threw bottles on to the field even after they were asked to stop, should be ashamed at their boorish behavior. Is it a sign of the times we live in that there is no discipline and people get away with thuggery and hooliganism even in schools these days?
I was ashamed to call myself a Royalist that afternoon. I was never a sportsman in my life and could not tell one end of a rugby ball from the other, but we all were raised to appreciate sports and cheer even the opponents for a great game. I was proud to have been a mere classmate to some legendary Royalist Rugby players who went on to represent Sri Lanka as well and also to be related to some exemplary gutsy Trinity players who played champagne Rugby those days and we always applauded (albeit mutedly) when they did well on the field as well. We always tried our best to adhere to the great lines from our school song `learnt of books and learnt of men and learnt to play the game`...Those words mean something about respect and sportsmanship.
When we were in school, when we misbehaved in class, we were thoroughly caned and even had our ears boxed and we learned quickly. No one is perfect and with hormones raging teenage boys will sometimes become unruly yet we got our just desserts from our wonderful teachers regardless of what our position in society, or who was who in the power hierarchy. People get carried away at games and cheer or jeer but losing and winning is not everything it was really shameful to see how some of these kids who were rowdies that day they brought shame not only on themselves, but their families and the school. They need to think about that. One of the teachers I revere at Royal and taught me a lot about Buddhism once said Thamuseyla Haddichcha pawulwala nahadichcha kollo and proceeded to punish me for being loud and obnoxious in class. I deserved it...and I will never forget those words.
Guys, please note hooliganism at sports events is what you expect from drunken English soccer fans, or Indian cricket fans in Calcutta (recall 1996 World Cup semi-final when they threw bottles and then lit bonfires and we Sri Lankans, who were watching the World Cup laughed contemptuously?) and riff-raff, not from those who call themselves Royalists and proudly roar R-O-Y-A-L even in defeat. As the motto says `disce aut discede`.
Well played Trinity and Royal. Young men of Royal, you could learn of books and men and learn to play the game if you aspire to become future leaders of Sri Lanka. Hopefully Royal can pull it off in Kandy!