Rugby, and ah, beer….or err…something

Rugby and beer have a long shared history… and not just in New Zealand. One of the principal sponsors of the Rugby World Cup is a beer brand. Is there a wide pervasive beer culture associated with professional Rugby?

“I’m no wowser”  says Nathan Burdon. “During my playing days I enjoyed the social side of rugby as much as anyone, but I was very much an amateur, with few pretensions about ever going any further in the game”.

“Call me naive, but the stories of boozing rugby teams that have come out during this World Cup have left me baffled,” he says. “If you were asked whether you would give up six weeks of the sauce for the chance to become a living legend, a figure to be revered for generations to come, what would your response be?”

There are those who say things are much better than they used to be so “get real”. Martin Johnson says he has drawn three main conclusions from controversy that engulfed him:

  1. International rugby will be a sadder, sorrier place if players cannot knock back one too many at the bar on a rare free evening. “Rugby player drinks beer: shocker,”
  2. With mobile phone cameras clicking a hundred times a minute and security videos finding their way on to the internet in the time it takes a man to swallow the last of his spirit-based shots, drinking is very different in New Zealand now, than it in was when the Lions were here in 1993.
  3. If the attention on leading players becomes such that managers have no option but to keep them away from the general sporting public, by locking them in their rooms if necessary – he would rather push off and do something else. “I’d rather be at this kind of event and enjoy the atmosphere around it.”
Whatever the truth of the matter, what is it in the human psyche that  allows us to condone, or at least accept, behaviour that takes place in private and condemn it when it becomes public?
Why do we expect more of celebrities than we do of the ordinary person? And isn’t there a sin tucked away somewhere in the Church’s catalogue of misdemeanours which says something about delighting in another’s misfortune?
Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

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