23 Sep 2007

Trying Times


This last week I have been mostly watching rugby.

One week down, three long weeks to go.

Last Thursday my son and I pinned up the Times World Cup Wall Chart in the same, prominent place that Mrs Botogol has accorded all world cup wall-charts since 1995 - the inside of the coat cupboard door - and on the Friday evening we solemnly inked in the humiliation of France. Then we lost interest in the chart, and since then haven't entered a single result. Something to do with watching England I think. And tripping.

When I haven't been watching Rugby on the television, I have been watching it in the flesh, and when I haven't been watching it in the flesh, I've been coaching it, and when I haven't been coaching it I've been refereeing it, and when I haven't been refereeing it I have been talking about it at dinner parties. (A thought: is there too much rugby in my life? Can there be too much rugby in anyone's life?).

When I sit and think about it, I don't know why I even watch the pool stages of the World Cup: an endless procession of well meaning, brave but ultimately hapless minnows bullied and overcome by a ruthless, foreign superior force with whom they simply can't compete. I mean: if I want to see that, I can see it at work.

At work, my boss's boss has a new boss. Not that anyone has left: No, the new boss (my great-grand-boss you might say) is an extra layer of management inserted between my boss's boss and his boss. The uber-boss. We call him the uber-boss - the other middle managers and I - because he's as far up the chain as we can imagine. We are told on the intranet that the uber-boss himself has a boss, but emotionally it's hard to conceive what such a person would be like - a person of whom it is said that he reports to the ur-boss himself, the CEO, the one who appears on the webcasts.

When I say that no one has left, I should say: no one has left yet, for last week the minnows actually got to meet the Kwisatch Haderach [my great-grand-boss. Yes the new one...keep up] and, well, let's just say I reckon we are in only the pool stages of the RWC of our next grand re-organisation, that the charts are not dry on next week's powerpoint and at high levels some yellow card offences have been noted: Lack of directio, Disorganisation,Tripping. That sort of thing.


Why is tripping so bad in the list of Rugby sins anyway? For there is no two ways about it: in the hierarchy of grievousness tripping occupies a top spot: worse than punching, trampling, stamping, testicle squeezing and eye gouging, not as bad as biting, spear tackling or failing to get your round in.

Goodness, I once saw an eight year old sent off for tripping.

Although, oddly enough, it was his father he tripped; who was also the coach; and the referee. Fortunately you normally get tripped only if you are carrying the ball.

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