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Being a Bok supporter is in my genes

I love to watch sportsmen or women competing against each other at the highest level. During the Olympic Games, I know exactly which athletes progress to the later rounds.

During the Soccer World Cup, I know which players pose the greatest danger to their opponents. And now, I follow the Rugby World Cup closely.

“I don’t support a team,” I like to tell people. “I am fascinated by individual brilliance. “I support greatness in players, not teams. Nationalism is dead – I can appreciate excellence, no matter which team a person plays for.”

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And I look at people’s Bok shirts and giggle on the inside, because I believe I have evolved to a level above loyalty to a bunch of strangers who just happen to be born in the same part of the world as I.

“Then why did you enjoy the Springboks’ victory over the Scots so much?” I asked myself when I looked into the mirror on Sunday evening. My primitive support for my tribe shocked me.

“I am a fan of running rugby,” I told myself. “And Kurt-Lee Arendse is the pinnacle of a running rugby player. He has speed, agility and rugby intelligence.”

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But deep down I knew better. I have recognised the animalic pleasure inside of me when I saw the Bok scrum demolishing the Scottish pack.

Something uncivilised awoke in me when I saw Eben Etzebeth confronting his opposition with the potential for violence hanging in the air. And I took great pleasure in seeing Finn Russell, the brilliant Scottish flyhalf crumbling under the Springboks’ defensive pressure.

I knew I was a fake – I’m not the sophisticated sports lover I have always believed myself to be. I support a team from one country and I want to see them succeed. No matter how great the opposition is, I want to see them fail.

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This evening, I’ll go to the mall and buy a Bok supporters’ shirt. I’ll get snacks for the game and when Siya Kolisi’s boys run onto the field to face the finest of Romania, I’ll be dressed in green in front of the TV.

Albeit with drawn curtains and behind closed doors. I have realised that being a Bok supporter is in my genes, and resistance is futile. Go Bokke!

from The Citizen https://www.citizen.co.za/news/opinion/being-bok-supporter-in-my-genes/

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