Monday, October 22, 2007

At Least There's Darts

This is the headline on the print edition of The Sun, Britain's trashiest newspaper, reflecting the typical British attitude about sport. This weekend saw the English rugby squad crash out of the Rugby World Cup championship with South Africa. Then British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton missed out on a chance to win the 2007 drivers' title in the last race of the season. These two events came only a couple days after the England football team lost against Russia, potentially knocking them from the Euro 2008 tournament finals. The British don't have high expectations for their sportsmen, but they occasionally have them dashed anyway.

Three cultural notes: Mrs. Werbenmanjensen and I went to a local pub, one we'd never been to before, to watch the rugby finals with a friend who's a rugby enthusiast and his wife. The pub erupted in laughter each time the camera cut to Gordon Brown's stern visage. (My friend had to keep interjecting: "He's Scottish, you know.") Then we learned that "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is the English rugby song, which makes no sense whatsoever, to begin with, and, in addition, just doesn't sound right coming from white Englishmen. Third: Believe it or not, rugby is the sport of the upper class in Britain. It's the game learned by public school toffs, while football (soccer) is the game of the streets. I asked my friend if the class issue was why there was a notable absence of St. George's Cross flags fluttering everywhere when compared to the run-up to the football world cup last year. He said, "No. It's that nobody expected the rugby team to get this far."

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10 Comments:

Blogger oldest kid said...

What an odd song for a sports team! I guess maybe rugby players get knocked out a lot and see angels comin' for to carry them home...

12:48 PM  
Blogger Moonbootica said...

well technically England doesn't have its own anthem

we use 'God Save the Queen' which is the national anthem for the UK and its not even a very good one, its a dirge basically.

yeah, I think the fact it comes from a middle class background explains why there is a distinct lack of hooliganism after a rugby match from the fans, I've been to see Bath Rugby play many times and the atmosphere is much more jovial and less aggressive, probably because most of the aggression is on the pitch heh

3:53 PM  
Blogger Moonbootica said...

and another thing ;)

least we got to the finals of the Rugby World Cup, despite our limited play!

3:54 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

Well, you could play "Land of Hope and Glory," like the Commonwealth Games winners get.

Anyway, there evidently was one French bloke in the pub, because everybody broke out in "La Marseillaise" at one point (not the words, just the melody).

5:11 PM  
Blogger Moonbootica said...

heh yeah the French anthem is one of the best.

I am quite partial to the Argentinian national anthem too, its like a mini operatic piece and it makes the rugby players cry

6:48 PM  
Blogger Middle Kid said...

Smitty, was it like that scene in "Casablanca?"

9:46 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

Yes, minus the lyrics, the band, the women and the smoking. Oh, and the pitch. I think the English blokes were singing it to taunt the Frenchman.

10:02 PM  
Blogger MKOK said...

Maybe they should try hockey!

3:48 PM  
Blogger Smitty Werbenmanjensen said...

Dood, are you talking about hockey hockey or field hockey? Because their ice hockey isn't so hot either. The Sheffield Steelers are the best they get and they're no New Jersey Devils.

8:36 PM  
Blogger MKOK said...

Well then, maybe they should try
AMERICAN football.They'll only be half bad at that.

3:27 PM  

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