I don’t know what is wrong with me and the thousands of other Lions supporters. We remain loyal and hopeful against all odds. If you subscribe to Einstein’s postulation that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result, we must be mad. Not as mad, however, as the (even more) thousands of Stormers fans who would be bawling into their Ohlssons’ tonight if SAB had not discontinued the brand a long time ago. I always think of Western Provincers as Ohlssons drinkers – you now that joke of the similarity between Ohlssons and making love in a canoe? Etc.
Even though I cannot find it in myself to support the Stormers (almost) ever*, I made an exception this weekend, being a patriot. It’s the Lion in me – or at least I hope that’s it. Whatever. I was going with the odds of us (SA) winning the Super Rugby. Historically (apparently, according to darling) no team has ever travelled away for a final and won, with the exception of the time the Bulls nudged a victory over the Sharks in the shark tank in 2007. But let’s face it; they did not travel much further than they would reasonably do for a family holiday by the sea, so perhaps that does not count.
So the Sharks, having kicked ass down under against the Reds the week before while the Stormers did their roots and went for massages, were unlikely victors at Newlands on Saturday. The Sharks (or “Sarks”, according to Ashwell Willemse in the Supersport studio) put the first points on the board and the Stormers never managed to catch up, not even in the second half when they appeared to have finally tied the laces to their boots. We might have to rename them the Centipedes.
In spite of myself, I was a little in shock. Ashwell calls the upcoming final in NZ the “Sarks’ Mission Impossible” and although we hope it turns out for them like it always turns out for Tom Cruise, we hope against the odds. Because as we know, Super Rugby is not Hollywood, where shit happening is de rigueur, but the odds are that things will turn out OK.
It occurred to me, at the end of the game, that my relationship with darling was more like Super Rugby than like Hollywood. Considering my track record, the odds were also in favour of shit happening, but like the S15, things did not turn out OK when it did. So the final whistle also blew for us. (That’s not him in the picture, and I only wish a tiny little bit it was, really.) It was a hard game, and in the end, rugby was the winner. Or love, or something. More of a Viggo Mortensen movie than a Tom Cruise one, I guess.
Good luck to the Sarks. Rugby club will convene, no doubt, to cheer them on in Melville, and we will love them either way when they get back. Just like we do the Lions. Perhaps they will shine in the Curry Cup. We hope against the odds.
* I want to put it on record that although I am not a Stormers fan, this does not mean that I don’t give credit where it is due. I think Peter Grant’s time as the Springbok flyhalf is long overdue, and that Jean de Villiers did a great job against the English in the last test series. And I did feel very sorry for Bryan when he cried like a baby on Saturday.