Friday, 6 July 2007

Guide Me O Thy Great Redeemer...

The bizarre relationship between Welsh rugby supporters and the national team was highlighted again when it emerged recently at an inquest that a Welsh rugby fan was killed when he walked out half way through the Wales v New Zealand game last November and then decided to walk the 106 miles home to Cardigan from Cardiff - along the M4 motorway - at night - in the dark.

With Wales losing 23-3 at half time the fan in question decided to leave in disgust and then failed to meet up with friends later in Cardiff, from where he was due to travel home by minibus. Evidently he then decided it was a good idea to walk the 106 miles home.

Despite apparently being on "top form" on the day of the match he was also described as "mercurial" and a "big man with a high capacity for drink." Or perhaps not.

The coroner said that the fan "had put himself in a dangerous place on the motorway in the dark where cars were travelling at 70mph. Death was almost inevitable." You don't say, Sherlock.

So, perhaps now Welsh rugby supporters have a second candidate for a Darwin Award, following the even more bizarre story of Geoffrey Huish a couple of years ago. In case you'd forgotten, Mr. Huish decided to hack off his own testicles when Wales beat England in the 2005 Six Nations at Cardiff.

Described by the Sun newspaper as "single" and "jobless" (I can't for the life of me think why) Mr Huish had told a friend that he'd cut off his testicles if Wales won, which they duly did 11-9.

“I listened to the game on the radio at home by myself" he said. "After the match I got up for a pee and saw the cutters in the bathroom. So I started hacking away at my tackle. It took about ten minutes and there was quite a lot of pain — but I just kept going. The cutters were blunt so I had to keep snipping. I cut my penis as well. There was a lot of blood but not as much as you would expect.”

Having succeeded in castrating himself over the toilet, he then took his testicles in a plastic bag to his village's Social Club.

"It was packed with rugby fans. I went in and shouted out, ‘I’ve done it’. I took my balls out and passed them in the bag to a friend. Some people then laid me on the floor.”

What is it about Welsh rugby that inspires this level of lunacy? I know that often rugby is described as a "religion" in Wales and, indeed, Graham Henry was described as "The Great Redeemer" of Welsh rugby when he arrived as coach in 1998. However it now appears that Welsh rugby has its very own brand of religious fundamentalism, where walking home 106 miles along a motorway in pitch darkness and cutting off one's own gonads are considered appropriate responses to how the national team is performing. The extent of such delusion is amply demonstrated by the final comments made by Mr Huish (who's clearly several sandwiches short of a picnic) to the press two years ago:

"I can’t have kids now, but still want a family. Maybe I’ll adopt.”

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