Good riddance is an odd phrase. With its positive negativity. Something a doting parent would say to a heartbroken child. Protective, vicariously angry at the rejection, trying to instill a belief that things will be better off without ‘them’. When we love something very much, we can quite easily fall into the trap of forgetting that others might not feel the same way.
Sam Burgess waltzed into our Rugby Union’s life with some seriously romantic credentials. His last affair was quite the talking point. They were recognised the world over for what they did together. So when his eyes turned on our favourite child, we got all, well, hopeful. It looked like he wanted to become part of our family. Who doesn’t want that sort of relationship to work out?
But life is complicated. Partnerships aren’t always, unfortunately, just about two individuals. Extraneous voices chatter, lots of people have advice on how to stay together; there are a lot of different ways to love someone, and if you chose to listen, lots of ways not to. Such a high profile coming together was never going to be left in peace, and that is often the way you really get to know one another. When you are left on your own, to listen to the bits inbetween the talking.
If he’s honest, this is probably what Mr Ackford of The Times is most angry about. Burgess and Rugby Union never really got to know each other. Sam and his beloved sport were a match made in heaven but they never really stood a chance. That sort of missed opportunity makes you say such things. And only because you want the best for your sport. “You were too good for him…” really means “I still love you…” Rugby Union has been walked out on, and for whatever the reason, even if it is self-inflicted, that still hurts. And someone who loves Rugby Union has gotten angry. And how can you blame someone for loving something, anymore than you can blame someone for not?
If recriminations are to be made, they should be aimed at the amount of people in this relationship. They didn’t really let the two of them just get on with it. Lots of people had an opinion on how to force the affection. ‘People will love him in this position.’ ‘No, he will love the sport if he plays like this.’ England were so desperate to show him off they tried to get him to do things he wasn’t quite ready for. And for that, you need trust; trust, in a relationship, allows you to achieve most things, but trust takes time.
It will take time to get over this. It will be a while before we try out such a match up again. If we ever do. But to suggest that it was wrong is misguided. Just like any future courtship between any athlete and any sport won’t be wrong. Because any two people can fall in love, all you need to do is let them.
Sam Roberts © 2015. (Text only). All Rights Reserved.