Saturday, May 28, 2011

Being a fan of Trinity Rugby

My father used to be in charge of tickets for all Trinity rugby matches, so it was a routine exercise for him to take me to the matches (I guess he thought that leaving me alone at home was too dangerous). I used be  one of the first to get into the stadium (because only after he reaches the gates are opened and the ticket sales starts) well before even the under 17 match kicks off.  From day one he asked me to go and sit in the school boys section. For a couple of years I used to be the youngest spectator there. For some matches, like Vidyartha match, which used to be our season opener and at times played during school holidays, I used to be part of a handful of spectators. I think it was probably the first few matches that father had to drag me out of home and then I got the taste of it. After that point I would be all dressed up and ready leave with him.

The men who dawned the red, gold and blue jersey were my childhood idols.At home I would stand in front of the mirror pick the pillow and imagine that the pillow is the lion mascot and try an Ayaz Deen walk. I would pick the bundle of socks at home, which used to be an improvised shoe brush, and use it as the ball and try place kicks (or was it drop kick) like Muhandiramge and imagine putting over a penalty on the last minute to win the match. Then would imagine myself as the winger scoring a try and make a dive on to the bed from a few yards away to get the sliding effect. I used to think that it was only me who had these wild imaginations, but later on I got to know that this is a common syndrome a lot of fellow Trinitians share. 

As soon as the match ends, whether we win or loose we would always make our way into the middle to wish our idols. I can remember we would wait for both teams to go through the procedure of exchanging their complementaries to each other and then we would go in and give a pat to each player. I can remember when I wasn't tall enough to reach the jersey of the players I would try my best to jump and reach it and on some lucky instances some players would notice me and would bend and shake hands with me and that would make my day. In rare cases in which Trinity lost, next day I would end up having a stroke of fever and be in bed. My mother would know what had made me sick and would tell me that there is no medicine for this type of fever. It was called as "Trinity fever".

I grew up to understand it was a sport and why Trinity rugby was different. I understood the traditions and the sportsmanship with which it was played. I learnt that when we are outplayed, its gentlemanly to accept that you were defeated and wish the opposite team. I learnt that referees were humans and are prone to errors. If we loose because of a refereeing blunder its not the end of life, we can always come back and show what we are made of. I understood why it was important to be ruthless in the field and then when the long whistle is blown to leave that ruthlessness on the field. I learnt the fact that rugby was a rowdies' game played by gentlemen by watching Trinity rugby. Most importantly I learnt that irrespective whether if its recorded as a win or loose on the score card as long as they had upheld the great values of sportsmanship they are heroes in our eyes. These Trinity rugby traditions and values are not built over a year or two, but its built over by generations of Trinitians. To my memory two Trinitians had to pay extraordinary price in the process of trying to uphold these values even in the face of utter rowdyism. One was Mathivanan, who had to pay the ultimate price and Buwaneka who still carries the scars of a severe collar bone fracture.

Moving into the senior grades I got occupied with extra curricular activities and frequency of attending matches dropped drastically. Obviously rugby at Trinity was too sacred for someone like me to play, so I had to opt for extra curricular activities which suited my strengths. All though my attendance frequency decreased the great respect for the red, gold and blue jersey was already engraved in my mind and to date whenever I see the boys run in to the field wearing it, the heart pounds faster and the expectation soars high, even in front of a computer, at times miles away from the venue very naturally shouts of come on, work it, go low and all the other instructions are barked out. Funnily few weeks back I was watching the Kingswood match at a hotel room in Jakarta on the live stream and all of a sudden I heard someone ring the door bell , I opened the door and a hotel room boy asked "Are you alright sir?!" Ironically I never played rugby at Trinity except the occasional touch rugby at the quadrangle when guys would take me in only if they didn't have enough numbers. Although being a guy who can boast of such a limited rugby profile I still feels like shouting all the instructions to the boys when they play for college, I guess thats the Trinity Spirit!


  1. Don't you still do stuff like "make a dive on to the bed" and "having wild imaginations" though for entirely different reasons?


  2. "I would be all dressed up"
    Oh boy when was this ;)

  3. Ado Sayya, now you have to come with your romantic side also ! May be girls of Trinity staff or knocking a girl during a chess game,Now don`t say you didn`t have any......!!

  4. Sounds like his Rugby career is not limited to 'touch rugby'...

    room boy asked "Are you alright sir?" and after realizing it was Sayya, said "Ah, you are back. Keep going Sir."

  5. Now now guys...stop twisting always I am still innocent

  6. It was a great write up with sharing of thoughts and your experience. You are the second next to my old school principal who said rugby is "a rowdies' game played by gentlemen". Hope you don't share the same DNA....

    It still hurts the event you watch when you were in Indonesia. (Not the event you were casting)seven tries to non was a good example of dominance. But we had our glory days, i mean Kingswood had, but we too humble enough to accept the result. Glad to know that we have a General having a passion for rugby..I can imagine you wearing NUMBER 3 blue gold and red jersey...