Peter Reynolds

The life and times of Peter Reynolds

Posts Tagged ‘Rugby World Cup

Today Would Have Been My Mother’s Very Special Day.

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Wimbledon, 2015

Wimbledon, 2015

Mum would have been thrilled.  Surely Andy Murray is to take his second Wimbledon title today. In truth, her real, crush was on Tim Henman but Wimbledon fortnight was the highlight of her year when she even took precedence over my father with the TV remote control.  For those two weeks she was glued to the telly from late morning until bad light stopped play.

Every year Mum applied for tickets in the wheelchair seats and most years she was successful.  I had the privilege to take her last year to her last Wimbledon.  We saw Roger Federer amongst other, more lowly players.

Mum would also have been made immensely proud and happy by the Wales football team’s success in the Euros. The scenes in Cardiff when our heroes rode an open top bus through the city would have delighted her. She was strange sports fan, my mother.  Not what you would have expected from this petite but fiercely intelligent woman who built her life around her husband and children. It came from her father, Jack Evans, who was a physiotherapist and perhaps the first ever sports medicine specialist in Wales.  My father, three brothers, sister and I were all keen participants in sport when we were younger and Mum put in the hours taking us to games and practice sessions. My very last memory of Mum and sport was when I returned to her in the early hours of the morning from Twickenham after Wales beat England in last year’s Rugby World Cup.  Her joy was unconfined.  It was glorious.

So it will mean great a deal to me if Andy Murray lifts the trophy today.  As far as I’m concerned, he’ll be doing it for my Mum.

Written by Peter Reynolds

July 10, 2016 at 5:25 am

The World Cup Beckons

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The Big Match

I despise football.   I really do.  It’s everything it stands for – the appalling, vulgar display of tasteless, oafish, dare I say “chav” behaviour.  It’s a thin, insubstantial sport populated by overpaid primadonnas who behave appallingly and set a terrible example to youth.

What a pompous old git I am!

It’s a completely different thing isn’t it when it gets infused with the spirit of international competition?

It’ll never be rugby though,  so those that want to see the original, totally uplifting South African story go to the 1995 Rugby World Cup finals.   That was a similar occasion but with a proper sport.  In fact,  go to Invictus, the absolutely fantastic movie which tells the whole story.

I have been taken up by it though.  Africa has a wonderful exuberance and I was caught by the romance of the first match, delighted that South Africa managed a draw.   Then, who could resist a chance to see the French go down?   And go down they did!  Well, they scraped a draw against a 10 man Uruguay side when they were the favourites.  Lovely to watch!

So it looks like I’m hooked in.   There’s nothing else on anyway.  It’s been a welcome relief from the tribes of harridan, conspiracy-obsessed bloggers in the US.  As a Brit, a Welshman living in England, I am grateful to live in a country which has a sense of perspective.   We are not of Europe.  We are certainly not of either the Middle or Far East.  Thank God we’ve got more history than the Americans.  This is still the land of the free.  Nowhere else comes close.

And tomorrow Barack Obama is going to find out whose arse is “gonna get kicked”.  Then maybe he’ll mind his manners and remember who his friends are.

En-ger-land!

Invictus

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The Real Thing

This is the new film, directed by Clint Eastwood, about how the South African rugby team, the Springboks, won the Rugby World Cup in 1995 and helped to reunite the country on a wave of patriotism just five years after Mandela was released.  Morgan Freeman is simply mesmerising as Nelson Mandela and Matt Damon is superb as Francois Pienaar, captain of the team.

I’m a complete believer in the idea that international rugby is more important than most things in life so, granted, I was almost certain to enjoy this movie.  I didn’t expect to be quite so emotionally overwhelmed though.  This film is a wonderful, triumphant experience and a lesson in life.  See here for an excerpt.

Invictus bears no resemblance to the anodyne pap that Hollywood has fed us this year.   It is a work of art, a political manifesto and an inspiration to the human soul.  The title comes from William Ernest Henry’s poem of the same name in which Mandela found comfort while in prison:

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
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,
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:
I am the captain of my soul.

If “Up In The Air” is up its own a*** and an insult to its audience;  “Avatar” is an adolescent technogeek’s fantasy, terribly badly realised; “The Hurt Locker” is just another good but not great war movie then “Invictus” is a wonderful, uplifting story that deserves all the praise, all the admiration and all the awards.

The Movie