Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Whatever happened to: Try celebrations?

When I was a lad, back in the mists of time, I remember my primary school headmaster berating a member of the school's football team during assembly. The boy's offence? In a match the previous day he'd raised his arm and punched the air after scoring a goal.

Admittedly the headmaster in question was a somewhat eccentric individual who regularly paraded in front of school assembly waving a huge St George's flag whilst belting out the words to Land of Hope and Glory (I'm not kidding), but his point was that to over-celebrate a goal was to show a lack of respect for oneself and the opposition and that the dignified response to scoring was to jog back to half-way and get ready to resume the game.

All of which brings me to the matter of try celebrations - a subject which is particularly pertinent in the wake of a certain former England fullback's antics at the weekend.

Whatever happened, I ask, to try celebrations?

There was a time, even during my playing career, when all a try merited was a handshake or, if it was a particularly good try, maybe a pat on the back. However, not only do we now have the ubiquitous mass man-hug every time someone crosses the whitewash, try scorers are now regularly seen swallow-diving, somersaulting, breakdancing and body-popping in celebration. And now we have a player openly mocking his opposition whilst in the act of scoring.

Call me a killjoy, but rugby is, has always been and hopefully always will be a tough game based on mutual respect. All this kind of behaviour does, I'm afraid, is display an utter lack of respect, lack of dignity and lack of class. Frankly, players who indulge in it deserve a slap.

Ask yourself this. What did Gareth Edwards do after scoring arguably the greatest try of all time for the Barbarians against the All Blacks in 1973? A somersault? An elaborate and contrived dance move? Did he mockingly ruffle Sid Going's comb-over? The answer: none of the above. He merely trotted back to half-way.

Bring back dignity. You know it makes sense.


Rocky Flanker said...

I couldn't agree more. Try celebrations are getting out of control. Season after season we see more ridiculous celebrations.

I think IRB should stop it, as I'm sure supporters don't want to see football-like circus on the rugby pitch.

Gareth said...

Hear, hear. Back in the day when I actually scored tries I was normally too tired to celebrate but if I had the energy it was normally restricted to a subdued clenching of the fist, occasionally augmented with a tap on the arse from a team member.

Mostly it was just panting, hands behind the head, and on a couple of memorable tour games, discreet vomiting in the hedge

Total Flanker said...

Aaah...the celebratory chunder, those were the days :)