Anthem Fetishism can start to border on Anthem Fascism
This photo has been doing the rounds a lot this week, with people using it as an example of how great rugby is compared to football, because rugby players and now the mascots it seems "belt out the anthem", unlike those scurvy traitorous footballers. It's basically anthem fetishism or perhaps anthem fascism: it says, "sing loud or be judged unworthy of your nationality".
Now, that young lad at Twickenham looks like he's loving every minute of that, and why shouldn't he? And this blog has nothing against people who want to sing God Save The Queen. What is a problem is the expectation that it must be sung and the regular insinuation that those who don't sing it lack passion for the game and pride for their nation, which is cobblers.
Many people are proud to be English for many reasons; their attachment to a certain region or city, links to the armed forces, the sense of humour, the sense of fair play, that we are an inclusive society, and yes, perhaps the royal family.
Many however do not like the royal family, or certainly see them as an irrelevance that has little to do with the pride you feel in your nationality. These people don't really fancy bellowing like a lunatic of the glory of a rich family in a big house as a way of expressing passion and love for the country. Photos like this one and their associated social media campaigns serve to make such people feel less worthy to be English and somehow not doing some form of duty and letting the side down. This is not on.
There is also the more practical issue to consider in that displaying such passion in song does not translate to decent performances on the pitch anyway. Consider the football World Cup semi-final last year between hosts Brazil and Germany; Brazil's players sang their anthem with such gusto their eyes nearly popped out, passion oozing from every pore, it was wonderful stuff. Then they went five nil down within half an hour.
So, please; sing the anthem, don't sing the anthem, up to you, but let's dispense with this notion that not singing a song about a multi-millionaire gentry family means that you don't love being English and want to do your best for your team and its fans.
Big Feet? Win yourself a massive pair of rugby boots with WalkTall.co.uk
WalkTall sells BIG footwear for guys with BIG feet in sizes 12 – 19. If that accurately describes your ‘plates o’ meat’, and you fancy a nice new pair of Canterbury’s or Gilberts FOR FREE, email: email@example.com
Put BloodandMud in the subject box and answer three simple questions:
What size are your feet?
Which of the WalkTall rugby boots do you fancy? (Browse the selection @ www.walktall.co.uk.
What’s your name and address? (in case you win.)
Email your entry by 31st March. One lucky BloodandMud follower will receive the boots of their choice as a prize. If you don’t want to go onto WalkTall’s email list, no prob. Just let them know when you enter.
Best of luck!
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: RBS 6 Nations, Round 2
A disco-free weekend for the computer to process, let's see where the data takes us.
Jonny May - That turn of pace is world class. Not much else is.
Scott Spedding - Two matches in and other than cause people to marvel at his size for a full-back he has done absolutely nothing. Also doesn't like he's capable of doing much either.
Simon Zebo - Cheeky chappie, clever back-heel flick merchant a few years back, looks class. Is not really, when you look closely.
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: RBS 6 Nations, Round 1
The computer has already passed judgement on the unexpected win for England in Cardiff, so here it takes on the other two matches of the weekend.
Italy vs Ireland - Rugby, but not as you know it. A spluttering, stuttering, stammering mess until Ireland got the "stop pissing about" signal from the bench, aka Ian Madigan, and looked like a functioning rugby team for a bit. There is a tendency in the Six Nations for everyone to say every game is great as there is a certain amount of drinking the Kool Aid that goes on with this tournament. Let's be clear, this one definitely was not, it was SHIT.
Camille Lopez - Much was made about his snazz, pizazz and jizz-jazz being what France need to get them going, but from what the computer could see he's another one off the "Will This Do?" fly-half production line that France appear to have utilised exclusively for some time.
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings: Wales 16 - 21 England
Well, well, well, well, well, well, well, well. Well. No-one really expected that result. But what did the computer make of it? The S/G ratings are not meant to be a full breakdown, just the start of the conversation, so if the computer has missed anyone then let us know and add your thoughts on what's already mentioned in the comments.
Wales front row - Horrible time in the set piece for the big men with neither youth, experience nor lovely flowing locks being able to prevent what was a bit of a tuning from the England lads.
Warren Gatland - Last year, the following was written on this very blog about the Kiwi Cuboid:
"There are defining moments for many coaches when they realise what has worked thus far is no longer doing the job. Great coaches seize these moments and use them to define their legacy... What [Gatland] chooses to do now will dictate whether history views him as a very good coach who ultimately couldn't adapt, or one for the ages."
Last night showed that the jury is very much still out a full year later, and his blaming of individuals after the match for what is a known systemic issue is a twat's trick.
9 types of fan you are likely to come across in the pub during the Six Nations
Chances are you'll be heading to a drinking establishment to watch a game or two. Better get ready for what awaits you. Has anyone been missed? Put them in the comments.
1. Offside Man - Believes himself to be student of the game and particularly the laws. He demonstrates this by shouting "offside!" or "he's offside!" at every single breakdown. Also regularly in open play whenever there is a kick out of hand.
2. Johnny/Janey Come Lately - Brand, spanking, sparkling new shirt on, comedy headgear as well most likely. Will be positioned at the front having been in the pub for four hours because "they love the rugby". Will be nowhere to be seen when the Pro 12, Premiership or European Cup Final is on in same venue in a few weeks.
RBS 6 Nations Preview: Wales
What state are they in?
Wales could name their starting team now for the rest of the tournament, such is the settled nature of their squad and with that must come a sense of security and confidence. The Autumn was a frustrating time as always, but they did finally seize a Southern Hemisphere scalp and will be heading into this tournament with no small amount of belief they could win it.
Defend well, they are very fit and they have players that regularly get over both the gainline and tryline. Leigh Halfpenny's right boot.
Their lineout does a brilliant impression of a gang of chimpanzees on pogo sticks when it starts to come unstuck, which happens far too frequently.
Rhys Webb. Gobby, sniping, irritating, proper scrum-half. His pace, ability to keep defences guessing and get the ball away at speed could be the catalyst to move WarrenBall forward finally.
Second, but there is a hell of a lot riding on that Ireland game in Cardiff
RBS Six Nations Preview: England
What state are they in?
England are in a permanent state of contentment and positivity. On entering the camp, all players must go through the Positive Values Teamthink™ Induction before they are allowed near a ball. This will help the players to remain chipper as they endure another year of decent set piece work punctuated by staccato back play.
Unfortunately, the fans have had no such preparation so they will be swearing, gritting their teeth and shaking their fist at the television.
There are injuries aplently, the Autumn was pretty depressing even with the Australia win, and they have to face Wales away in the first game. This blog is worried,
The lineout and scrum can always be relied on.
Mike Brown's continuing lack of form. For 10th consecutive year, that sodding midfield. George Ford's goalkicking has not yet been truly tested and England still struggle to get the ball away from breakdown at consistent speed.
George Ford. Arguably the most talented footballer in the country, takes the ball to the line and makes late decisions of how to use it and kicks very accurately out of hand. England must find a way of running off him and his gameplay better. He also needs a consistent tournament in this World Cup year.
Third or fourth.
"Haskell looks England material", apart from all those times he's in an England shirt
There are ever increasing rumblings for James Haskell to be starting for England, culminating in an outright call for this after the Wasps victory over Harlequins this week. Such a call should be resisted.
The blog's long-held dislike for James Haskell is well known and many no doubt believe that this is irrational, based purely on personal reasons and has nothing to do with his ability, but that is not true. Well, it's sort of true, but hear me out.
SHIT/GOOD™ Ratings of the weekend
The SHIT/GOOD™ computer has finally shifted the nine day hangover it gave itself after downing twenty creme de menthes and coke on New Year's Eve and is ready to dish the data on the last weekend. Let's have your nominations in the comments. Or not. Whatever..
Billy Twelvetrees - This Twitter account describes the Glaws man as "England Centre. Creative Collossus. Curly Haired Bamboozler." They are not being entirely serious and his performance against Sarries, including an epic mangling of the world's easiest two on one, explains why. Although, he seems to be saying it was all done on purpose...
Hope you can see how I used my creativity to play terribly vs Sarries in order to engineer situation for Hook to prove he's not shit.— Creative Billy 12T (@CreativBilly12T) January 11, 2015