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Friday, 25 September 2015

Maureen Green on the cathartic effect of national sporting pride.

 It’s the Rugby World Cup, an international fixture on the calendar that occupies the thoughts of many nations. The fixture that engenders a plethora of emotions that bring grown men to tears has arrived.  Everybody's an expert. This stage is the moment of truth. Hours of training, planning, team work and honing of individual skills are now to be pitted, nation against nation. This is the moment when dedication and preparation are to be put to the test. National expectation runs high.  I settle myself into my chair, switch on the T.V. for the long awaited moment of our team's first match. The hubbub of the opening ceremony sidelined, the teams take the field, line up behind the national emblem and 'male bond.' The music strikes up. The first strains of the our National Anthem fire my emotions; send me back fifty odd years when I too, with the silver fern on my chest, felt the surge of national passion rise.

Then, my heart tight in my chest pulsed with uncanny speed in my ears at the opening phrase, Eh Ihowa Ahtua. Nerves jangling and muscles taut, I tried to sing. My body on fire, only a squawk  squeezed from my constricted throat. I ranged my eyes over the sea of faces looking down on the oval.  A tingle of doubt wormed its way so I averted my eyes and stared at the ground.  Exhilaration dampened and a sudden fear that I would not perform gripping, tears trickled down my cheeks. I raked them and doubt away and concentrated on the ground until the closing phrase of our anthem, 'Make her praises heard afar.' "Yes," I mumbled. My mind cleared of niggling doubts. "Our praises will be heard afar."

Maureen Green

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