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All we want is 80 minutes of your best

Written by Rob Otto (robdylan)

Posted in :Original Content, Sharks, Super Rugby on 10 Apr 2015 at 14:23
Tagged with : , , , ,

No fan ever sets out to be intentionally antagonistic towards his or her team – at least, that’s what I like to believe.

We do, however, invest ourselves emotionally in said team, often more than we should. Sport is entertainment, after all and entertainment is escapism for those who seek it: often a very necessary form of escape from everyday lives that can occasionally seem dreary at best, if not outright hard. We look to the players who don the jersey we love and we see the obvious benefits of the lifestyle they lead. Social media perhaps distorts this image a little, but it’s not terribly difficult to build up a picture of a very easy life for your average rugby player, complete with fast cars, sponsored clothing, free food and all the beautiful women you could ever want. We know that we pay for these luxuries through the price of our tickets, our endless collection of jerseys and flags, our exorbitant DSTV or Sky Sports subscriptions, but we don’t begrudge them. They are our team and we want them to have the best, all the time.

Of course, when we stop and think for a moment, we realise just how many downsides there are to that lifestyle – how those players have to work to maintain the required level of physical perfection, how real the constant spectre of career-threatening injury is, how the lack of opportunity to study while playing essentially renders them unemployable past the age of 35. We know all these things, but we tend to lose sight of them inamongst all the smiling selfies taken in exotic locations and the flashy marketing segments. We also don’t know – and are never allowed to know – what goes on behind closed doors, once the cameras are packed away. We don’t know who is happy and who is sad; who’s having a tough week after a fight with their girlfriend, or a tough year due to a family member battling serious illness. In our results and performance obsessed culture – where entertainment must deliver instant gratification – we often tend to overlook the very human frailty of these heroes if the “product” is not coming up to scratch.

Our expectations, though, probably aren’t ridiculous, especially not this week (as they pertain to the Sharks). Hell, I’m sure most of us aren’t even really too bothered about a win, the way things are going at the moment. All we want is 80 minutes of rugby that we can be proud of; 80 minutes of the best possible effort from every man involved. We know that things don’t come right overnight, that one week isn’t enough to suddenly make every pass stick, every tackle count and every kick find its mark. We are your fans, though, your customers, your biggest supporters and unfortunately also your harshest critics. All we want is for you guys, in whom we’ve invested so much, to make our lives better for 80 minutes on Saturday.

That’s not too much to ask, is it?


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