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Laws of Sports Neutrality

Oscar Foulkes July 14, 2006 Uncategorized No comments

With all the international sport on at the moment it’s worth re-visiting the old issue of which team to support. As a starting point, I share with you Blackshaw’s Law of Sports Neutrality. Always support South Africa. When South Africa is not playing, support the side that makes better wine (for example, this would see one supporting France against Australia).

I suspect, also, that on the losing-with-good-grace scale, France is not a bad team for us to lose to. Twice in one weekend? Difficult, but defensible when one can stand back and admire the phenomenal talent of a young flyhalf, like Bauxis. Ireland and Wales are good teams to support, especially when giving England or Australia a bloody nose.

The latter teams are a no-no under most circumstances, but as with all scientific issues, there are always exceptions. So, I happily supported Australia in the Ashes series against England last year.
The soccer World Cup raises a variety of issues around which team(s) to support. These have been addressed by a friend living in London, who produces a blog at I still don’t quite follow the logic, but he somehow made a case for supporting England. And he’s a Transvaler!

Golf confounds the whole matter even further, especially when it’s a major, being played in the US. American parochiality reaches new heights when commentators pick up microphones. I suspect they regard it as a curiosity that non-Americans swing golf clubs, and even produce an International Leader Board to reinforce this view. So, it is no hardship at all to support even Australians and English golfers under these circumstances.

As you all know, in the Land of the (non-)Free they play sports which ensure that Americans will always be the world champions. They even play the World Series (baseball) against themselves (some people would argue that there’s a case for changing the ‘against’ to ‘with’). So I’m seldom pressed to make a call on which team I’m going to support when Americans are involved. The exception, of course, was Lance Armstrong in the Tour de France, who – to the best of my recollection – is the only American sportsperson I have supported. The way he powered up mountains is an image that will remain with me for a long time. Which all goes to show, that – at the end of the day – it’s sporting prowess that really counts, not solely national fervour.

Especially in the Cape winter, I prefer to watch with a glass of red wine in hand, but as we all know, there are exceptions – even I prefer to drink beer occasionally. I’m told that beer sales in Europe are massive this summer, to the detriment of wine.

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