Now that my heartbeat is back to normal, life can continue. My fingers have unfurled and the seagulls have fled my stomach. Ireland v. Italy yesterday really took it out of me. Twice I had to get up and leave the pub because I just couldn’t bear to watch any more. I think I wanted Ireland to win as much as some of the lads on the pitch. But more than winning, I didn’t want them to lose. And there is a difference.
Okay – so if you win, you might say, you don’t lose. But you can lose and still win. But had Ireland lost, it would have been a loss, loss.
Take Wales v. Fiji. Even though Fiji lost, they won. They played their hearts out and gave the world a stellar game of rugby. The emotion. The heart. The spirit – it was all there. So far they’re not on the scoreboard but the rugby they’re playing is super (in my humble opinion and yes, what I know about rugby won’t take me far). Compare that game to the England v. Australia game … let’s just say that I missed the promised brilliance.
It was interesting. I watched the England game without any vested interest in who won, other than wanting Wales to win because I’d very much like to see a Wales v. Ireland final. [And I’ve been stockpiling Irish rashers and sausages and black pudding for a pre-match breakfast for my Welsh mates should the occasion arise.] I may as well have stayed at home, though. It just didn’t do it for me. I’m not one for watching sports unless I can relate – I need to feel the pain, to have my heart stop, to take my anxiety to a whole new level. If there’s no emotional involvement, it simple doesn’t work for me.
I posted this on a Welsh friend’s page last week – and man, did I pay for it. Just a game, me arse!
Ireland delivered a result yesterday. We won. But we failed to deliver on form. Irish captain Paul O’Connell apologised to the fans for not giving us something worth looking at.
The lock apologised to Irish fans, who made up the majority of the 53,187 in attendance at the Olympic Stadium, after the game.
“The crowd were amazing,” he said. “I wish we could have put on a better performance today… It was a shame we didn’t match them [for energy and enthusiasm].
I’m mad at them for driving my blood pressure through the roof. But I’m grateful we won. Grateful we didn’t lose. And really grateful that none of our boys was hurt. We have a place in the quarter finals. Sometime between now and Sunday’s game with France, we need to rediscover our form.