I'm off to Durban for some meetings at the University of Kwazulu Natal. Let me say right at the outset that it is great to be a Stormers supporter in Sharks country... [wiki links inserted for non-South African readers]. I'm fairly certain that this is the one occasion on which God doesn't mind me harboring secret feelings of superiority... I'm sure God feels the same (after all, God is also a Stormers fan! Want proof? Well, let's do the literalist test... Please read your bible from cover to cover and see if the words 'Shark' or 'Bluebull', or even the current champions 'Cheetah', appear in there... Back already? So what's the verdict?! Not there are they!! However, did you notice the word 'Storm' numerous times!? Yup, just goes to show who God supports, that's why he snuck their name in there plenty times!) Anyway enough of God's team the Stormers...
[PS. if you're looking for a HILARIOUS take on God and Sports, please read Stephen Colbert's book "I am America, and so can you!" I read it on Friday night - it is offensive in more ways than I've had hidings from my dad for taunting the neighbors dogs! But, I laughed, and that is good.]
Now back to Rugby...
I am always intrigued by those 'sports clothing and accessory' stores in the airport departures lounge (here in South Africa at least). Seeing the Springbok merchandise one sale got me thinking about the world cup, the people associated with it, and the money that is being made (and not being made) - there's a lot to be won and lost around the sport of Rugby at the moment. And, wherever there is money and power there is sure to be some controversy.
So, there, right in the centre of it all, you have a South African icon, Jake White, sticking it to the man!! Good on you Jake!
No, please understand that I am not opposed to transformation in Sport - but, sport is sport! Have you ever considered what the AIM of team sports are? The AIM is to construct a team of persons that are so good at their GAME that no other team can beat them... That's the aim... You choose the BEST people to put into the team in order to achieve that aim... IT'S A GAME!
By my simple little mind the answer is development, not quotas. We should be developing better 'black' rugby players at school to feed our national teams in years to come, and let me add we should also be developing better white soccer players to feed our almost entirely black soccer teams in years to come... It's about being the best - that's why its a GAME!!!
Anyway, Jake stuck to his guns, refused interference from the politicians, and it came at a personal cost. He called the nonsense of the SARFU Rugby bosses for what it was, and still had the courage, determination, skill and single mindedness to help us win the World Cup.
Then, he chose to stick it to the politically entwined bosses by walking away from a very lucrative coaching job, which I am fairly sure he would have had to be considered for if he had applied, after all he has just lead us to victory. Public sentiment would at least have counted for something...
In all seriousness, I am quite certain that the truth of the conflict between Jake White and SARFU is somewhere in between what each of them is saying.
However, it did just remind me of two things:
First, that what Paul tells us in Colossians 3:23-24,
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.Not that I am suggesting that Jake White was doing anything for the Lord - however, I am saying that in general it is wise to do Godly things, for God's glory, not seeking any other reward except God's 'well done'. That way you will receive what God wishes to bless you with, regardless of what the rest of the world does.
Second, I was reminded that the real world is quite a cut throat place! Even sport is not a safe place anymore - it CERTAINLY is not fun and games! It is politics and money...
Here's to you Jake!