Farewell, Dear Jonah

We lost many heroes this week. Adel Termos, the hero of Beirut, and Jonah Lomu, the hero of New Zealand are two that stand out most to me. That is not to cheapen the lives of the others, it’s just the way it is.

You might ask in disgust: ‘How could you possibly compare the two?’ Well, one can only do the best with the circumstances they encounter in life, and both men seemed to do relatively well with the hands they were dealt. I would write an article about Adel, but I know nothing of the man apart from his final moments, and this is, primarily, a sports website – so it would be out of place.

The front page of the Irish Examiner summed up Lomu’s death far better than my words ever can:

Lomu IE

We all know of his amazing feats on the field. His steamrolling of Mike Catt in ’95 is the stuff of legend and it was only after his death I realised he was only 19 at the time. Incredible.

His final minute try against the Wallabies in THAT test is still burned clearly into my mind. When he got the ball at the end, even though he still had three men to get around, I knew we were beat. He was simply THAT good.

What Lomu really taught me as a young man, however, is that one could be both brilliant and unassuming. Aggressive yet passive. I never heard Jonah Lomu say how good Jonah Lomu was. The peacock poise and endless Instagram posts that seem part and parcel of being a professional athlete these days do not sit comfortably with me, and I doubt they would have with him either. Although, I imagine, with a disarming smile and shrug of his huge shoulders he would pass no judgement on those who indeed embrace it.

Perhaps the closest he came to outright arrogance was the impossible skill level he bestowed on himself in the greatest video game ever made*, Jonah Lomu Rugby, but that probably had more to do with the game developers, and to be fair, wasn’t too far off reality as it were.

Maybe this is the game they play in heaven ...
Maybe this is the game they play in heaven …

They say one death is a tragedy and one hundred a statistic. If you asked the families of the hundred lost, however, I daresay they’d disagree. I must admit it feels strange to mourn one man I didn’t know personally in a time when turning on the news and seeing mass death has become the norm.

But whatever the ‘tragedy hipsters’ may say – those people hellbent on telling us for whom and how we should mourn – I will still mourn the great man.

I am tempted to start a campaign where people change their profile pictures to Lomu, just to see the outrage it provokes. ‘How dare you mourn an athlete when people are being murdered in Libya/Syria/Paris/Everywhere.’ Well, I can mourn whomever and however I please, as can you. It is not an easy thing to process grief in any instance, how dare you tell me what is appropriate? If I want to change my profile picture to a French flag, I will fucking do it (I didn’t, but that’s not the point).

So I grieve for all lost in the past week, including Jonah Lomu.

There have been so many great anecdotes and lines spoken about Mr. Lomu during the week, but my favourite so far is: “The game they play in heaven just got a lot tougher.”

I couldn’t agree more.

By Alasdair McClintock

* There is no disputing this.

Rugby World Cup Final: I’m Getting Up For This

Tonight, thousands of Australians are planning to stay out until 3:00am for the Rugby World Cup Final.

Others are planning a most sensible approach: maybe a glass of wine or two in front of Netflix, some Thai delivery courtesy of our good friends at Delivery Hero*, before turning in around 10:30ish and setting their alarm for a 2:45am wake up.

Yeah it’s at 3:00am on Sunday morning, the most abhorrent timeslot possible for live sport. However, if you care about sport – and being part of something special – then you better make sure you watch this.

I’m not talking about recording it and watching it in the morning, having successfully avoided all forms of text messaging and social media in fear of learning the result. I’m talking about LIVE sport. Live, as in you watch it while it is happening, over on the other side of the world, completely out of your control.

Personally, I embrace the 3:00am timeslot. I look forward to waking up disoriented and scared, grappling for the light switch, fumbling around on the couch for the remote, only to be taken aback by the sheer volume of the TV once it turns on. I also like the fact that this is happening really far away. Sure, this isn’t a 1997 Socceroos v Iran qualifier in Tehran (fuck, that was scary), but a World Rugby (formerly IRB) final at arguably the home of rugby, Twickenham. It’s pure and good.

So assuming I don’t have a bender tonight, I’ll wake up at 2:45am, turn the kettle on and watch the Wallabies in my shitty pyjamas, alone. It’s not my preferred way of watching sport – I’d much rather have a beer in my hand and be craning my neck up to a massive flatscreen in a densely populated sports bar, wearing comfortable clothes, perhaps a dress shirt and nice jeans, to give me the option of kicking on afterwards, surrounded by hundreds of similarly minded desperates.

But these are our only two option, Australia. Our only options. A) Massive circuit and watching the game hammered, or B) bleary-eyed half-asleep couch-bound viewing. It’s too late to get on a plane. So whether you’re hell-bent on getting fucked up tonight and carrying through until 3:00am, or taking the mature option of an early night, it doesn’t matter.

Just make sure you are part of this.

By Dave Edwards

* Delivery Hero approached this website some years looking for a commercial partnership (i.e. we write favourably about them in an article in exchange for some kind of discount. We never followed up. To be honest, wouldn’t say no if they came back to us).

 

ARU’s New Wallaby Eligibility Rules ‘The Greatest Deregulation Since Hawke-Keating Era’: Academic

The decision to relax a ban on overseas-based players representing the Wallabies has been hailed as Australia’s greatest de-regulation since the Hawke-Keating years.

RMIT economic professor Ron Gitson said the move would draw comparisons with the ambitious economic reform agenda implemented by the Australian Government during the 1980s.

“Just like when Hawke and Keating floated the Aussie dollar, this step by the ARU will really put Australia on a global stage,” he told The Public Apology.

Gitson described the move as a groundbreaking, anti-protectionist reform that could launch the nation into a new period of dominance.

“History shows that, as a result of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating’s tough decisions to deregulate the financial system and dismantle protectionist tariffs, Australia entered an unprecedented period of economic growth.

“By allowing a handful of senior ex-Wallabies to once again pull on the Gold jersey, Australian rugby could also be entering another golden age,” he added.

For his part, former PM Paul Keating told TPA that while he generally considered sport to be a meaningless pursuit reserved for “those unwashed peasants out in BBQ-land,” he nonetheless backed the ARU’s move to de-regulate.

“What’s more, it can only be good for Australian culture to allow these sophisticated, well-travelled expats back into the country, to spread their cosmopolitan sensibilities throughout the Australian team,” he added.

“I’d really like to see Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins back in Gold after his time in Japan’s rugby competition, educating his teammates about traditional artistic forms and aesthetic genres, such as ukiyo-e woodblock prints, dramatic forms such as Nō and Kabuki , landscape gardening, architectural styles, the haiku, Zen philosophy, flower arranging, tea ceremony, and taiko drum music, just to name a few.”

By Ben Shine with staff writers