Why do we have to idealise the past – and only the fairly recent past – because we seem also to have an idea that the world was somehow only waiting for us to arrive on the scene to really get going. At school, our year group was the important one; in the army we felt a bit sorry for those who were already there – yet we felt a little superior to the fresh intake who came after us.
These thoughts came into my head most recently in relation to rugby – not a matter of earth shattering importance I know but each Saturday I go to Moss Lane to watch either the first team or the second and the game has gone through some huge changes in recent years – the biggest one being the coming of professionalism. Not all that long ago, rugby claimed to be an entirely amateur game. We paid to play, paid our subs to the club and paid a fee each week to cover expenses such as travel. Jugs of beer for the opposition and so on. (There were always cheats of course, brown envelopes, “expenses” and so on but, in the main, we were amateurs.) Anyone who even had discussions about playing Rugby League would be banned for life.
I got the following from an old mate who played as an international for Union and League;
“The average weights of the current Lions and New Zealand teams are 14st 12lb and 15st1b in the Backs and 17st 9lb and 18st in the Forwards. With Mako Vunipola weighing in at 19st and Brodie Retallick at 19st 5lb! Enough said! A visit to any SuperLeague rugby league club’s gymnasium would reveal a mass of weight lifting equipment as an aid to the body for the seemingly endless forward drives in midfield. And any visitor would be hard pressed to find a cupboard in the changing room housing a pair of running spikes for every player as in days of yore. Both codes of rugby are seemingly obsessed with size and strength as a means for success and the smaller, sidestepping, pacy player is now a rarity behind the scrum. As is the14/15st ball playing forward capable of opening up play in midfield and out wide with the most subtle of passes or a surprising burst of speed on the outside.
Oh for the days when gifted runners and handlers, regardless of size, like Jonathan Davies, David Watkins, Alex Murphy, Barry John, Roger Millward, Gareth Edwards, Shaun Edwards, Bev Risman, Tom Brophy and more were allowed to dictate and dominate in either code of rugby. When pace and innovation was the priority and not size and sheer strength alone. “
There is great concern in both codes about the effects of being involved repeatedly in “big hits” because concussion can result without there being any head high tackles. The situation in American football is even worse; helmets and padding seeming to be part of the problem and not a solution.
Our club is now strictly amateur again and it is heartening to see so many people willing to spend their time and money to keep it going.
The key question is:"Would I like to go back to a time when things were done differently-in rugby or in life in general - and the answer is most certainly "No." I firmly believe that things,in general, get better. If that were not so life would not exist. In rugby, the system of leagues is a pain but the alternative would mean going back to the snobbery and injustices which went with the "friendly" system.
Nostalgia -- from the Greek 'nostos' == 'return home'' and algos == pain.
From the Oxford Compact English Dictionary : "sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past".
I certainly have a wistful longing for the past when I did not have the excruciating ache in my back and also now the arthritic pain in my left shoulder and thumb joint.
BUT, to go back to when I was young and healthy, no sir, I don't think so. Just the thought of having to go all through that again fills me with 'algos'
I must admit, though, that living where I do, close to Manchester Airport, I do feel occasionally a little longing to be back up there when I see the aircraft flying off to some exotic location as was my wont when working.
I am puzzling over the correct grammatical usage in the sentence '....having to go all through that again.......' Should it be '' having to go through all that again???'
Corrections on one of the new 10 pound notes please.
I can't look back quite as far as this but I do remember when "caps" were (literally) awarded. None of these chaps had taken "dietary supplements" to increase their bulk:
Beards weren't fashionable but moustaches were.