Sim­ple rea­sons why the ex­pected never hap­pens

Sunday Times (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS -

In 'Heads You Win', Jeffrey Archer at one point says; “I was stand­ing on a street corner try­ing to get a taxi, I couldn’t help notic­ing there were BMWs, Mercedes and Jaguars but there was no sight of a Ford Fi­esta or VW Polo”.

He goes onto say that what is most needed is a mid­dle class who through hard work and dili­gence can ben­e­fit from their coun­try’s wealth and re­sources. The words of Archer rang a bell as I read a mail from ' Boa Athu' ( BA) draw­ing my at­ten­tion to his writ­ing to thePa­pare from New Zealand. It was about planned fail­ure or fail­ure to plan. In­ter­est­ing be­cause I have al­ways taught that peo­ple don’t plan to fail but they fail be­cause they do not plan. BA s ay s “In l i f e, you learn from your fa i l - ures. That said if any­one is go­ing to fail, you need to fail for­ward and fail for what you did, as op­posed to, for what you didn’t do. This com­pe­ti­tion was one of those dis­heart­en­ing and back­ward fail­ures. It was largely due to in­ac­tion ( off- the- field) and not, ac­tions on it which even­tu­ally cost the Sri Lanka Un­der-19s their cam­paign.”

The in­ac­tion re­ferred to is as to how much was planned for this tour. The Mercedes, Jaguars and the like played in the schools tour­na­ment along with the Marutis also on dis­play. What should have been done is to have the su­pe­rior cars iden­ti­fied and pol­ished so that the mid­dle class would have done the hard work to run the race. In­stead there was a break and for a few days be­fore the race you get the play­ers to­gether and ser­vice in the form of a trial and hey presto there is a team and a cap­tain se­lected and a tour un­der­taken lead­ing to dis­as­ter.

The close com­par­i­son is the Un­der- 19 team where the play­ers kept out af­ter a com­pet­i­tive schools sea­son. They were then as­sem­bled to­gether and played in two tri­als which had to take sec­ond place as the bet­ter cars from the schools were run in the Mer­can­tile Sevens. That also begs me to ask a ques­tion “how long have you to be in a cor­po­rate be­fore you play in the tour­na­ment.”

It all boils to the greed and the need than the longer term of the hu­man be­ing. School­boys rushed early to ex­tend the hand for money while most of those who dish out shout from freez­ing their of­fices on So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity with less So­cial Con­scious.

Sri Lanka de­spite the non- par­tic­i­pa­tion, has been re­tained in Di­vi­sion 1 15- a- side of Asian Rugby and will play in April. The aim should be to plan to win this and keep the road open. For this it is not just hop­ing with a few days prac­tice but with a solid plan for five or say three years. That is where the mid­dle class of young rugby play­ers who are the nat­u­ral re­sources com­ing out of schools rugby be the ma­te­rial in a long term plan. It is not get­ting the old Mercedes and hop­ing to win as the sleek bod­ies now run like the Maruti.

In the midst there is news that the cap­tain of the Un­der-19 team has been slapped with a two-year sus­pended sen­tence for the de­viant be­hav­ior. Sri Lanka Rugby has been pru­dent not to put a delin­quent be­hind bars but to al­low him to be re­ha­bil­i­tated while al­low­ing him to play and be coun­seled for one year. If as they say he is a good player, he needs to be dis­ci­plined. That also means that he should not be slot­ted in to the Na­tional stream im­me­di­ately as the sword will hand over his head as peo­ple will al­ways look his way.

Give him time to get over and for the dust to set­tle and tell him why he is kept in the wait­ing room to be read­ied for de­liv­ery. The big­ger ques­tion how­ever is what about those who slot­ted him to a team and also made him cap­tain when ac­cord­ing to the head of schools rugby re­spon­si­ble peo­ple were in­formed of the tru­ant be­hav­ior. Prob­a­bly they only looked at the body of the ve­hi­cle and not the sum part that makes the ve­hi­cle ready to win a race.

Though it is less of a David against Go­liath bat­tle the fight for the top is a vir­tual two cen­tered bat­tle. There is the rul­ing class of eight clubs with no mid­dle or work­ing class that will take the game for­ward. From a lo­cal per­spec­tive de­spite way­ward skills by some the games are close enough to tickle the diehards. The Ex­pected Never Hap­pens – A Twist in the Tale, Jeffrey Archer.

Vi­mal Per­era is a for­mer Rugby Ref­eree, Coach and an Ac­cred­ited

Ref­er­ees' Eval­u­a­tor IRB

Sri Lanka last played in the Asian 15s in 2017 and will have a tough task in fac­ing the top teams this time around - File pic

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