I have been asked what would be my preferred sport out of football or rugby….answer is simple…BOTH.
These are two sports that I feel have qualities and demons alike, but are very different….let me try to explain.
A Game For Thugs?
The phrase “a game for thugs played by gentlemen” is well renowned with its links to rugby. The brutality of certain fixtures cannot go unoticed, but equally the restraint shown is just as remarkable.
Let’s not forget that these are extremely fit men, and women, that are on the field. They have bulk, stamina, power, agility and immense focus. Add all these attributes together and you have an extremely formidable opponent.
Rugby is a great stress reliever! The pace of the game is relentless and you will never see a “lull” in any part of the game as you do in football. Sure, some games may not be as exciting, but all are played at a ferocious level with the best team spirit you are ever likely to see.
With players having the joy of being battered for 80 minutes, and they all give as good as they get, it is surprising there are so little skirmishes. Sure you will get the odd rumble, but in ratio to the red hot potential of flare ups, this is very low.
Reason for this is simple…….
This is where football can learn from rugby. Players can talk to the referee, but do you ever hear them swear at an official…..No!
Yes, I know players swear, but if they do so to an official in rugby it is a straight red card….and right too! In football there is so much lack of discipline it frightens me!
You only have to look at the Chelsea versus Paris St. Germain match. Players surround the referee, all having there say at once, shouting, swearing, pointing the finger, gesturing for a card (usually the request is red!) to be shown….undesirable, unnecessary and extremely ugly.
Dealt with respect, restraint and calmly as can be. Yes these guys are upwards of 17 stone most of them, but they have to have control, or let’s face it, someone could be killed.
There is no back chat, 10 metre penalty if there is, and the ref can be heard speaking in a controlled, assertive manner….he is the boss!
This can be easy to install in football but nobody seems to want to bring it in……..why? Can you tell me…..?!?!
So, with the love of rugby going deep, what makes football appear to be attractive as well?……
……Pleasure or Pain?
Not the physical, although that can happen, it is the emotional tie to the sport of football that seems to run so deep in every player and supporter.
Your team loses in football…you get the hump, go home and kick a chair over….
…Your team loses at rugby, you have a pint with a supporter of the opposition…
….I know which one I would prefer!!
This vast contrast visibly shows the difference in mentality between the two games. Football supporters take every game to heart…every kick…every header…every foul…every time their team plays.
This is total escapism…. A retreat from the reality surrounding the every day humdrum…. A chance to lose yourself for a few hours….receiving stress and pent up frustration.
The ball hitting the back of the net, beating your arch rival, getting to the Final…..all to make you feel better. In rugby, this emotion is much more controlled. Lose a rugby game and there is always next time…..lose a football game and there is nothing but the here and now…the pain next day is unbearable.
Having such different outlooks on games, different emotional effects and different passions make both sports so enjoyable, treasured and at opposites to each other….. Which is why they are both so attractive.
There is so many pointers I could make to argue for both, it would one hell of a post.
So, which one floats your boat….Football, or Soccer….. or Rugby……??
Such a decision…but hey, why choose?