Armchair Challenge

The atmosphere in the pub was electric. Just five minutes to go before our challenge. And ten minutes before the match. No one there was under any illusion as to the seriousness of the challenge. It paled into insignificance compared to the match. Yet after weeks of friendly banter, the time had come for our new-found friends to show what they were really made of. And who knows, the result might just be a good omen.

The odds were terrible. Two against fourteen. And with a few minutes to go others might join them. Nevertheless, I wasn't worried. At worst, we'd have to foot the bill for a bottle of wine; red, of course, to match the shirts of our heroes. At the same time, I was quietly confident. In France singing didn't mean what it meant to us. A moment's silence and the band struck the opening notes. As we were playing in Cardiff, the French had the right to sing first. Nothing happened. At least, it sounded like that. In reality, two or three of those around us, managed to creak along to the end of the first line. One even continued humming a few lines more, before throwing in the towel. They were no match for us. The glance my son sent in my direction said everything. The question was, should we still give them first blast, or tone things down a bit so as not to humiliate them so much. But do you know a Welshman who doesn't give it his all when singing Mae hen wlad fy nhadau. We didn't fall that far short of bringing the house down, but the applause that followed was fitting testimony to the fact that the bottle of wine was ours. Of course, we shared it out and soon other bottles followed. Indeed, by the end of the match, more or less everyone was in their own way singing along to those famous Welsh tunes; not just in the stadium but in also in this little French pub hundreds of miles away, where friendship and rivalry had become welded together in a chorus of benevolence. And who cares, who won the match. Now if the truth were told...


what a great post :) what is sport if it isnt something that brings people together, bothe before, during and after the event.

13 February 2009 at 14:18  

Only sport can bring us all together..

Good thoughts here!


13 February 2009 at 15:01  

A friendly rivalry turns into friendly camaraderie. Well told.

13 February 2009 at 18:18  

great story!

13 February 2009 at 23:22  

Sounds like pub-poetry!

14 February 2009 at 01:28  

that's competition in the right spirit. Love the post.

14 February 2009 at 04:15  

I have heard about you Welshmen singing. I worked with a welshman and he was a great singer and sang all the time, he said he grw up like that. I have a bit of welsh blood in me too. Nice post, to tie music, international relations and sport together.

14 February 2009 at 12:44  

Just how sport should be played - and enjoyed by all.

14 February 2009 at 22:57  

There's no singing in American pubs, but you sure make it sound like fun!

15 February 2009 at 07:34  

A wonderful sport. Absolutely. And very well told.

15 February 2009 at 16:53  

Hmm, sports are definitely different outside the U.S. Here, they'd probably be throttling each other.

16 February 2009 at 04:25  

this sounds like a lot of fun!

16 February 2009 at 15:33  

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