Friday, October 29, 2010

Invictus - Springbokke

I just watched Invictus. A Great, inspiring film.

It did however, get me curious.

How perfect was it that South Africa won a World Cup, JUST when they needed to. And I agree, they really needed to win that year, it was necessary to help cleanse their national palate of Apartheid.

I met a lad from South Africa in about 1994. He was a groom for his horse trainer at the farm I as living at with my soon to be wife. We had him up for a barbeque. He accepted and hung out, had a beer, while he waited for a girl to show who he had just met somewhere locally after he arrived at Auburn Washington. When she arrived, she looked like a model, beautiful. He was not that different looking than Matt Damon in Invictus, strongly built, lightly colored hair and very good looking. He was quite pleasant, until I asked him about the troubles going on in South Africa. He got pretty heated about it.

I said, well, the news, I see all over the TV that there is civil unrest, people are having all kinds of problems it seems. He said that when he was in South Africa, he was a little afraid to come to the US because it was all about problems, murders, crime, etc. But once he got here, he saw none of that. Then he admitted that he too saw problems about back home and he called his mother. They owned a farm and were out of the city. He asked her what the heck was going on. Her response was there was nothing going on; what was he talking about. The media. I guess that's what it was all about. He left with his date and I never saw him again. But considering how South African whites have been portrayed (think Lethal Weapon II), I had a nice impression of South African whites, having never met any South African before.

But how does one do that? Assure that you will win what your nation needs to win? The following is a quote from Wikipedia that I think, may spell out what happened. Normally, I would say, if this was how they assured a victory, that this was horrible. But on this occasion, I think, it may have been necessary. And I think the world needed South Africa to get their act together on the world stage, so this may have been a good thing, no matter how they won. That being said, they are currently the holders of the World Cup, so, maybe the food poisoning, was a mere coincidence. And maybe, they would have won anyway. But, it was a close match regardless.


South Africa national rugby union team - Springboks

Paul Roos, Springbok captain, of the first South African touring rugby team to the British Isles in 1906 The 1906 Springboks team.

Paul Roos was the captain of the first South African team to tour the British Isles and France. The team was largely dominated by players from Western Province, and took place over 1906–07.


From 1990 to 1991 the legal apparatus of apartheid was abolished, and the Springboks were readmitted to international rugby in 1992. They struggled to return to their pre-isolation standards, and in their first games after readmission the Springboks were defeated 27–24 by New Zealand on 15 August 1992 and also suffered a 26–3 loss to Australia the following month. Ian McIntosh was sacked as national coach following a series defeat to the All Blacks in New Zealand in mid-1994. In October of that year, Kitch Christie accepted an offer to take over from McIntosh.

South Africa was selected to host the 1995 Rugby World Cup, and there was a remarkable surge of support for the Springboks among the white and black communities in the lead-up to the tournament. This was the first major event to be held in what Archbishop Desmond Tutu had dubbed "the Rainbow Nation." South Africans got behind the 'one team, one country' slogan.

By the time they hosted the 1995 World Cup, the Springboks were seeded ninth. They defeated Australia, Romania, Canada, Western Samoa and France to play in the final.

South Africa narrowly won the epic 1995 Rugby World Cup Final 15–12 against traditional rivals the All Blacks, who later claimed that players were suffering from severe food poisoning prior to the match. A drop goal by Joel Stransky secured victory in extra-time.

Wearing a Springbok shirt, Nelson Mandela presented the trophy to captain Francois Pienaar, a white Afrikaner. The gesture was widely seen as a major step towards the reconciliation of white and black South Africans.

Mandela's enthusiasm and support for the Springboks is portrayed in the 2009 film Invictus. SARFU President Louis Luyt caused controversy at the post-match dinner by declaring that the Springboks would have won the previous two World Cups if they had been allowed to compete.

The day after the World Cup victory, the Xhosa word for Springbok, Amabokoboko! appeared as the headline of The Sowetan's sports page.


All that being said:

William Ernest Henley. 1849–1903
OUT of the night that covers me,
  Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
  For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance         5
  I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
  My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
  Looms but the Horror of the shade,  10
And yet the menace of the years
  Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
  How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:  15
  I am the captain of my soul.

No comments:

Post a Comment