The school league season is directed at an interesting finish. Royal and St. Peter’s remain unbeaten having played three matches each so far. Trinity and Kingswood have played four matches and lost one each while Pathana has played three and lost one. The chances among these five I would say are very much alive. As the fever rises at the top the heat is felt at the bottom too.
Two matches played during the week have to be talked of for good as well as bad reasons. Both matches kept the spectators on edge as they were won by a margin of one point. The win by “Rookie” Science College over the more fancied and much talked of Trinity College Kandy was the upset of the season. Science proved that they are a team that merits a second look. Trinity played badly and often was guilty of taking the wrong option. They did so on numerous occasions and failed to capitalize when the ball was with them.
It is and will remain a question as to why they did not take a shot at goal when they were given two penalties within kicking range; in the last five minutes of the game when they were trailing by a meager one point. Science College made history when they recorded their first-ever win over Trinity College in a First-XV Rugby match. Science who showed commitment and passion played better rugby and edged out the Kandy school 12-11. They attacked as well as defended when the need arose and kept the game alive never allowing the lions to settle down.
The crowd that came to Mount did experience some interesting moments with the ball kept in play a long time. This game had 91 stoppages which included 34 scrums, 29 line outs and 23 penalties. Yet the usual chant of what the referee missed continues for some who are unable to accept the defeat. It is a no win situation for the referee who will be accused of giving too many penalties. When he does not and let the game flow he will be blamed for not penalizing. That is what happens when you don’t look at it more objectively and think of the impact it had on the overall game.
Royal once again managed a one point victory and this time over Pathana. More than the close victory what is talked of is that the match was almost stopped due to misbehaviour on the part of some spectators. This should be looked into and nipped before it gets out of hand. The key to preventing adult misbehaviour in youth sports is a sports culture in which all involved "Honour the Game."
|It was a memorable game for the Mt. Lavinia lads (Pic by Sanka Vidanagama)
Honouring the Game is the root of the matter. It involves respect for the Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates and one's Self. You understand that a worthy opponent is a gift that forces you to play to your highest potential. You show respect for officials even when you disagree. You refuse to do anything that embarrasses your team. You live up to your own standards even if others don't.
Here are ways you can create a positive sports culture so that children will have fun and learn positive character traits to last a lifetime. Honouring the Game is both in behaviour and language, especially when the official makes a "bad" call against your team. Tell your players you expect them to Honour the Game regardless of what the other team does. Appoint a team parent as "Culture Keeper" to gently remind other parents on the sideline to Hon our Game.
This will not be an easy task as those who hover around as parents, as assistants or in advising position do not seem to think of the not too good example they create .Recently I came across parents whose use of the language on officials as well as opposing players reminisced of choice billingsgate language. I also listen a few times on a litany of the mistakes the referee made. Some seemed so petty that it had no impact on the game. But to the many hangers on who want to be heard it created an impact for themselves.
Recently I was reading a book on measurable and realistic setting. Using SMARTS .The advice was on how to set about on achieving peak performance for the individual as well as the team. When this is related to rugby some important milestones can be set. Measurable Example are: a) percentage of successful tackles , b) number of rucks hit by good body position , c) number of successful back row moves executed , d) number of times specific back room moves made past the gain line. Etc. To do these things you need to concentrate on the game and take down statistics. That is not an easy job though it will help the players as you talk with facts. But! If you are preoccupied on watching and timing the referee how can you do all this? As the National Coach Ellis Meachen said something’s are best left back on the field and you focus on what has to be done for the next game.
Vimal Perera is a former Rugby Referee, coach and Accredited Referees Evaluator IRB