I know that you were all as enthralled by the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand as I was. It was some of the most skilful, and brutal rugby I have seen in a long while. I was spellbound and genuinely excited by it all – I was 13 again. I couldn’t wait for the midweek games. I set alarms for the team announcements. I shouted at the TV. I cried when we levelled the scores at 15-15 in the final test. I was exceptionally proud of what this group had achieved.
Yet I'll remember this tour for another reason…
I found myself venturing into the world of social media, where discussions and opinions were plentiful in relation to the coaching team, the players, and selections etc. I suppose I should have listened to one of my favourite adages (opinions are like arseholes, everybody’s got one) and left the social media scene well alone. I didn’t.
The divide amongst the home unions supporters on social media was as wide as the group of players and coaching team put together. My own friends were predicting 40 plus points score lines in favour of the All Blacks and pilloried selections and tactics at every turn. I hasten to add that these are all ex International rugby players who are currently coaching at the highest standard within the game... Not.
I kept finding myself getting rather cross.
This was all a direct opposite to the travelling army of fans, the Red Army of 20,000 plus that had made the journey to the Southern Hemisphere. They were very much united.
So why was I getting vexed with people I know and respect?
Why couldn’t they see that they were wrong?
It was similar to the election – and maybe symptomatic of the age. I don’t like the term keyboard warrior but if the cap fits…
I think it is even simpler than this; it’s a case of message sent versus message received. The potential for interference in relation to the written word, versus the spoken word is huge. It’s a rather simple thing but something I think we all forget at times.
To that end, I have enquired and will be travelling to South Africa as a real fan in 4 years’ time.
P.S. Its OK my wife has agreed it’s a good idea, and don’t worry I’ll post all my photos on BookFace and the like!
All images credited to The British and Irish Lions