5 weeks ago
Sunday, October 24, 2010
I sat on the floor looking at the tv screen. The Australian Kangaroos had beaten PNG Kumuls by 42 points. In rugby league terms, that was a total flogging.
I felt sad, angry, ashamed and even foolish. I wondered why i was so pumped at the start of the game, when the defence was outstanding and the big hits were bone jarring. I knew we had hope for an upset. When they got a penalty, i was elated. The referee was clinical but didnt have a feel for the match. I shouted everytime a huge hit was made on the kangaroos by PNG players. But by the end of the game, i felt deflated...why did i care so much for this rugby league team called the Kumuls? Did i have to feel so hurt and demoralised by the end of the game? Did it even have to matter to care?
Yes it did have to matter! We wanted to prove to the world again that rugby league was all about passion, bravery, camaraderie, skill and style. We wanted to show the world that this was our national sport, something that we cherished and to play for ones country was something to be cherished forever. We wanted to show these Australian 'professional' players who had huge salaries that money couldnt buy our love for 'the greatest game of all'. We wanted them to know we knew how to play the thinking man's game too. Above all, we wanted respect on the field.
But alas, we let the game slip out of our hands and got a 42-0 flogging. We were much better than that but we didnt get to show it. We let our mistakes ruin every oportunity we had.
I guess my post about the kumuls is a symptom of me wanting to see PNG succeed in sports at the international level. Over the years, there have been patches of brillance from individuals such Geua Tau, Ryan Pini and Dika Toua, Lynch Ipera but teams sports havent made their mark too often.
Success by PNG at the international level, in any sport, is and always should be our ultimate goal. Why? Because, as cliche as it might sound, success in sport goes a long, long way in uniting this country. The last time i celebrated and had tears in my eyes was when Ryan Pini won Gold at the Commonwealth games. He sure did make me proud to be a Papua New Guinean that night in 2006. We shouted and danced in the corridors and talked about it for days. That night was special for this country. I wanted all nights to be like that...
There are only a few sports that are played in almost all parts of PNG. Rugby league is one of them. For a sport that is well liked, it pains me to see us get 42 put aganist us.
To the Kumuls, we love you regardless because you wear the red, black and gold. Play strong in the next game against New Zealand and put some respectibility back into the jumper!