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Friday, July 22, 2011

30 years today

The Springbok tour of New Zealand began on July 22, 1981. The South African rugby team came to our shores while most of the rest of the world refused to take part in any sports competition involving the country which still held onto apartheid. What's more, our rugby officials decided not to put any Maori players into the All Blacks team just in case it was offensive to the sensitive white Springboks players.

I would like to think New Zealand has learned something from the tour. I hope it has, anyway, but feel slightly pessimistic.

It's so strange for me to admit that rugby is not just a game. The rugby world cup is coming to New Zealand this year and I am so thoroughly fed up with rugby-mania and misplaced national pride that I just want to scream with my hands in my hair - "IT DOESN'T MATTER!"

And yet professional sports are not just a game. Apartheid was not a game. I wish I could feel confident that the lessons of history are being learned, but if so how are we to account for the Beijing Olympics of 2008? The relentless disregard of basic human rights is not a game. Learn the lesson, New Zealand.

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