A World in Union
We all have our favourite sporting events. Whether it be the extremely corrupt FIFA World Cup, bingo night at the local RSL or Wimbledon, we all have that one sporting event that gives us a heightened sense of anticipation months in advance. Enter the Rugby World Cup.
Given that it’s being held in Japan this time adds a little extra bit of excitement. I know we’re not meant to say ‘exotic’ anymore, given we’re a global society, but geez it feels exotic. The geishas, the cherry blossoms in full bloom (they won’t be, but I’m picturing it anyway), the Tokyo vending machines punching out all sorts of sinister filth, and amongst it all, the game they play in Heaven having its showpiece event. Don’t tell me the thought of giant lock forwards bending to enter through one of those dainty paper doors doesn’t make you feel giddy with colonial nostalgia.
What chance Australia? None, if you ask the perennial cynics. Those who relish in the grim and giggle at missing puppy posters. Yes, if you don’t think the Wallabies can win, you are evil, dead inside or a New Zealander.
But I think even New Zealanders would give us a slight sniff. They know full well winning a World Cup is no sure thing. If it was, they would have won them all. I could ask one, but I’ve been hiding from all my New Zealand friends for several years now and will continue to do so until we win the Bledisloe Cup back. I may never speak to them again.
The obliteration in Perth gave us hope. Sure, they pounded us to a donut the following week, but it was wet, windy and held on their home soil. They won’t have that luxury in Japan. It will be sunny, pleasant and extremely polite. And strange things happen in Japan. Stranger things than the Wallabies winning a World Cup, that’s for sure. We’ve all seen the TV shows.
Our team has a bit of everything. Even a few Australians. The redemption stories of Kurtley Beale and James O’Connor add to the underlying storyline of backs-to-the-wall redemption.
Are we comfortable with our sports stars turning their lives around by joining new age cults, as long as they perform on the paddock? I certainly am. As long as they don’t think all worthwhile people are going to Hell (if you didn’t make Izzy’s list, I don’t want to know you).
Should the dream come to fruition, the ARU deserve no credit, but they will take it anyway. Perhaps the cash injection will allow them to at least hire a marketing team. Or pay their legal expenses. Maybe they should set up a GoFundMe if the Wallabies lose?
But now is no time for negativity. With opportunity comes hope. If Australian rugby was ever to rise from the ashes like a phoenix, it would be fitting to do it in the land of the rising sun.