ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday, March 11, 2007
Vol. 41 - No 41

Please Sir! Take a step back and think

By Vimal Perera

“You do not have to visit a madhouse to find disordered minds our planet is the mental institution of the universe”. Johan Wolfgang von Goethe, German playwright, poet novelist and dramatist, 1749 -1832

To look at disordered minds one may not have to go very far. Take a look at the happenings in school rugby. The madhouse disease is getting thicker by the day. Two schools were accused of fielding, in their side, those who were not eligible to play. The decision of the administrators of the game at schools was to demote them .This matter is yet not over. It is now before the judiciary. The schools rugby season is on hold till the case is disposed of.

Meanwhile we now have more news. Issipatana has been demoted from B group to C whilst Nalanda College has been demoted from C to D. In both cases the question is of eligibility. The player concerned in the case of Issipatana sort redress in courts and is believed to have been unsuccessful. In the case of Nalanda College the player is supposed to have been employed while taking part in the schools tournament. To the credit of the Principal of Nalanda who is also the President of the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association he has taken a most unpalatable decision. The school is now demoted.

The game of rugby football mentions spirit and fair play in its playing charter. Have some of the followers forgotten the intention of the game; to enrich the lives of all involved. They in their greed for victory seem to be willing to employ any means to achieve the end. Have they forgotten the moral obligation they have in guiding the young?

It is impossible to think that somebody was not aware of the ineligibility of the players. You cannot put all the blame on the principal who has not only the rugby team to look after. There are many others in the arena. These include the master in charge, the coach and those well meaning old boys who form advisory committees. It is probably in this group you find the manipulator as described in text identifying problem children in class rooms. It seems the authorities have to learn to handle the manipulator not only among children but among those who guide children.

The manipulator has, generally, skills that are very persuasive and can be very articulate. He or she often tricks people into doing something. Will use any means to manipulate others. Will never admit fault and will try to place blame on others. Without perceiving the reality tends to believe that he is more intelligent and cleverer than others and therefore right. And has a false sense of superiority and will want his way and will do anything to get it. I suppose in the context of what has happened you could easily put a name and a face to fit the description. You have to identify and then deal with them. The actions have lead to many other school children deprived of a game they love to participate.

One must deplore and condemn what has happened in the schools section of rugby. It should not be defended on thin technical issues and the blame cast on the Sri Lanka Schools Rugby Football Association and its administrators. One must take a moral stand on what is right or wrong and not defend because there is loss prestige. If there was anything to be proud of that has been compromised. It must be realized that the game has to be conducted in accordance with disciplined and sporting behavior. The issue is the action of flouting the eligibility criteria which has severe repercussion on the school boy and society at large.

While we may mean well and want our school to do better than the others the attempt should not be “by any means”. The game of rugby has in its objectives clearly spelt out the expectations. The spirit and fair play take a distinct place of pride in its intentions. With such expectation the perpetrators as well as contributors of such unacceptable behavior cannot go unnoticed.

It is worse in a social context and is akin to developing criminal. Have those involved stopped to think of the consequences of their actions. That is being guilty of misleading young and innocent school boys. The actions have compromised all members and the current years players of the team Have we taught the youth to be dishonest? Did we stop to think and ask are we setting the right example for those who step out from school into the world? Have we set the criminal standards for tomorrow’s leader? Is this not the cream that will take up jobs of responsibility in government and in the commercial world? Knowing the degree of acceptance of rugby players will not some of them step into the shoes of executives? Will not some of them join the armed forces? At the end of it all what type of criminal behavior have we inculcated in to the young?

The schools section of rugby football should be congratulated for having taken bold decision to suspend where necessary. Yet more important will be to hound out the manipulators among the fraternity and keep them away from children This will be for the betterment of rugby , children and the society as a whole.

Wolfgang von Goethe also said that “Behavior is a mirror in which every one displays his own image”

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.