Field Theory by Hadyn Green

51

Straight for the throat

This short piece comes from Roland Maul and is his thoughts after the Wales - South Africa match.

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On Saturday, despite the fantastic match that had unfolded in front me, I felt sick. Sick and angry.

The game is reaching an edge-of-your-seat crescendo, the match nail-bitingly close and tense.  With eight minutes to go and his team behind, Wales flanker and captain Sam Warburton is named Man of the Match. With eight minutes to go. And his team behind.

His teams loses the match. This is a hugely important match. The immediate aftermath where morale has hit rock bottom (if only for a short while) is where a captain is needed to rally his troops.

Shattered physically and (probably) emotionally he heads toward the dressing room to reflect, while thinking about how to restore confidence in his beaten men.

He doesn’t quite make it.

He is grabbed by media personnel for post-match interviews. Giving him no time to fully digest what has happened, he is questioned on how he feels about the match and asked for detailed information to help breakdown the result.  I wish I’d heard what was asked and answered. It is cold and raining out in the middle of Wellington regional stadium. The interview finishes and Warburton goes to leave. But he is grabbed again by media personnel. He needs to stay for his Man of the match award.

The other interviews begin. The winning captain. The losing coach. The winning coach.

Warburton stands alone, in his soaking uniform. The wind-chill factor must be making it less than 5 degrees out there. No one offers him a jacket. His team sit in the dressing room waiting for their leader.

Finally his interview begins. I wish I could have heard what they asked him and how he responded. But I'm glad I didn’t because I'm sure I would have sworn. Loudly.

Maybe it went something like this. ‘So you just won man of the match, even though you lost. How do you feel?’

I would have forgiven him if he’d told the collected reporters to go fuck themselves. Heck I would have forgiven him and given him a medal.

This is shocking media vampirism. A thirst for information regardless of the willingness or condition of the subject. And for what? What meaningful insight can a shattered man possibly offer? Is this some sort of sick voyeuristic hunger that sports fans have to see a man in pain struggle through even more? Who demanded this in the first place.

It makes me sick and angry.

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Thanks to Samsung for the use of their Galaxy Tab 10.1 for the duration of the Rugby World Cup. The lovely little device is the perfect machine for a journalist on the go, like myself.

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