Who am I kidding? It’s 3 in the morning and I am not asleep, facing the laptop screen and typing some stuffs here.
Okay, let’s get staight to the point. I was watching Arsenal beating Cardiff 3-0 *cough* and yeah, I could not sleep. Realizing the next game was Newcastle vs WBA (BORINGGGGG), I tuned to some channels. Then, I could not resist to watch a Rugby Union game between Australia and Wales. Surely, these two powerhouses will give me a great game to watch.
So, let us get straight to the point here. The thing that fascinated me about rugby is how clean the game is and full of respect. For all baseless and sourceless stereotypes who see the game as much of a violent game, I am here to interject. True, this game is made up of hitting people and gettinf bruises and bleeding out or anything. But this game is played cleanly.
What do I mean by clean? For me it is RESPECT. Not the typical showing of ‘hashtag respect’ or the ‘like for respect’ as we often see at social networking. Does rugby need that? No. Simple enough to say, rugby already acquire that respect. And by this respect, I mean the respect to obey the rules and to the one that dictates the game…(wait, dictates sounds bad). Respect to the rules enforcer then, to the most knowledgeble about the rules and to the one that control the game. The Referee.
Referee, or in my language is called ‘pengadil’, derived from the word ‘adil’ or can be translated to fair. These referees are human beings, they make mistakes. Yet, it is unarguable that the referees are the only person who can see the game at both sides and interests. They make a big decision to ensure that the game is being played fairly.
Their presence is paramount in any games. They have gone through trainings and courses. They are there to make good decisions. They respect the players as professionals. But why arent the players giving back the respect?
What makes me adore the game of rugby so much, is not about you cheer the tackles and hits as if it is the Roman Empire’s Gladiatoric era or the Barbaric era, but the amount of respect that the players give towards the referee. Often enough, we always see the referee stops the game, gives a penalty or free kick and explains to the players why. In needing further clarification, video replay will be shown. These players, with the humongous size to be compared with the referee, obey the decision and play by the rules. Simple enough.
No matter how tough you are in rugby, if the referee says “you’re out!”, you’re out then. True, fights always happen between players. But so does other sports. In a heated moment of sport, temper is not something easy to be dealt with.
In contrast with rugby, football players are often pressuring the referees, and worse they came from both sides. They are normal human beings and when you pressure them more, of course they will have a high tendency to make a poor decisions. The rule only captains confronting the referee does not work, does it?
With the vulnebarility of the referees exposed, people are deemed to take advantage of them. Players start to dive and have theathrical responses (*cough* not targetting any teams *cough*). It will be further worsen by boos and jeers by the fans (tho it is inevitable) and unpleasent remarks from the managers.
Referees Union will be pressurized. Thus, when refereeing big teams, they will have higher tendency to give decisions in favour of the dominant team (usually the home side or simply the better team). That is why you often see very controversial decisions given that resulted in a unfair game won by these dominant sides. How can you blame the referees if they were already psychologically affected? People would argue it is a mind game but a constant mind game towards a vulnerable side is indeed a dirty game.
This is my honest view about the respect in sports. Sure, there will always be a disagreement and dissatisfaction but as what I’ve always been thought while I was playing rugby, ‘Referee is always right’. Of course, I would not agree 100% but consider this, you are in a heated moment of a game, who has the most rationality? Surely respect towards the referee will not hurt the game.
It makes the game much better and enjoyable to watch.