Guaging the television sportaholic’s contribution to marital strife

Well, the 2019 Rugby World Cup is finally over.

The 48 matches have duly been broadcast, we are the champions once again, usual business can be resumed and the television remote control can at last be handed back to the rest of the family.

My wife Naomi, bless her, who is English, thinks nearly everything about South African life is wonderful but there is one thing she has simply never been able to get her pretty little head around and that is our obsession with sport.

We had three sons, all of whom represented Border in one sporting code or another, and Naomi over the years has made enough “sarmies” for Selborne and Queen’s sporting teams to feed an army but still doesn’t know a rugby ball from the Darktown Strutter’s Ball.

And frankly, I imagine she couldn’t care less.

So, like television sporting widows everywhere, she clutched her forehead and threw her eyes heavenward in despair when I informed her with eyes bright with anticipation at the start of this rugby competition that all 48 matches would be broadcast live with analysis before and after each match for good measure.

Oh, the joys of sporting widowhood!

Sociologists and people such as marriage councillors like to publish erudite papers from time to time explaining reasons why marriages founder.

The bar at the club would, I think, come pretty high on the list and the man who prefers his beer to his boudoir, so to speak, is likely to be heading for the divorce court.

Undoubtedly there are other reasons for marital strife and one has to wonder how far up the list is the television sportaholic.

Although many of us males consider ourselves reasonably controlled sports fans, there are men out there who turn into monsters in front of the weekend TV screen.

During a Test match, a normally docile and manageable husband succumbs to a sort of sporting madness.

A charming and affectionate Jekyll becomes a dangerous Mr Hyde from whom his offspring retreat to the far corners of the house.

As the Springboks strive to cross their opponent’s goal-line in yet another blood and guts assault, the television set becomes a god before which the most alarming contortions and rites are performed.

Were a stranger to whom rugby was an unknown quantity to see the head of the house wailing and writhing, clapping and jumping and swearing and screaming in front of the little screen, he would be duty bound to call a doctor.

And that’s not all. When the World Cup rugger buggers have put away their blood-stained kit and wives can heave a gigantic sigh of relief and enjoy a well-earned break from constant instruction on the importance of finding touch, the merits of the substitution system, the gross ineptitude of northern hemisphere referees, they can brace themselves to have runs, wickets, boundaries and the merits and demerits of the review system and the ineptitude of northern hemisphere umpires thrust down their throats when the English cricket team arrive on these shores in a few weeks time.

Be that as it may, they can always retire to the bedroom to knit or consult their friendly neighbourhood lawyer on the best kind of divorce deal they can get . . . or subscribe to the “join ‘em if you can’t beat ‘em brigade!”

Tailpiece:

A huge jetliner landed at Heathrow Airport in London last Monday.

The four huge engines were shut down but those at the airport were puzzled by a continuous whining noise.

After a thorough inspection of the aircraft it was discovered that it was a planeload of whinging Poms who had just returned from the World Cup in Japan.

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