Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Disgusted in Newlands Crowd

Last Saturday evening after a really long and hard day’s work on the farm I had just enough energy left to braai (BBQ) some boerewors (Kentucky farmer’s sausage in my case since it is homemade on the farm) and a few lamb chops before I settled in front of the TV to watch the weekend’s Stormers versus the Cheetahs rugby game. But barely was I seated and I was totally disgusted by the Newlands crowd for booing Heinrich Brussow as he led his team out on the field for his 50th Super rugby game. A milestone for any player! Something to be respected and celebrated with any player that week in and week out entertain fans that go to stadia or watch games over the TV alike.   

I am a born and bred Capetonian and a lover of the beautiful game of rugby. As I mentioned in my profile, my blood is blue with white hoops, and I have always supported the Stormers or any of the local teams that play at the hallowed grounds of Newlands. During the Super rugby tournament I try to make time every weekend to watch at least one game, the Stormers game. Although I must say, lately, with the Stormers’s inability to score bonus point tries per game, and their terrible second half performances, the Blue Bulls games are far more entertainment. Not that I will become a Blue Bull soon, but at least they are providing me more entertainment value for my time than the Stormers at this moment.

However, booing has become a sad sickness at Newlands where not only New Zealand and Australian teams are booed during run on, but also South African teams. Now booing happens at other stadia too during kicking for goals (which is really silly too) or when bad refereeing decisions are made, but why boo when a team runs on to the field to provide entertainment. Who are these nutcases that come to a stadium with the purpose to get the negative experience from entertainment instead of the positive? And if it were just 20 or 30 random persons booing one could still understand it, but it sounded like half the stadium did it. If I was disgusted by it from far away I wonder how many “good” spectators were ashamed by it at the stadium.

Looking at statistics Newlands draw the most crowds of all the teams on a regular basis, more than 32,000 people per game, and that is fantastic, but it still does not justify disrespectful behavior. I know that rugby is a professional sport and the amateur notion of doing it for enjoyment is gone. I know that sport is a powerful energizer of spirit and camaraderie, but do we have to demean the ones who are providing us the pleasure and enjoyment of the sport?

And please, don’t tell me they are booing at Loftus or Kings Park too. What has happened to the Cape Town ethic of being civil, respectful and decent, and welcoming to all, united or divided, friend or foe, to one of, if not the best city in the world. Just because fans are booing at other stadia does not mean the Newlands crowd should strive to go down the same cesspit. Be better! Be respectful. You always used to be.

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