Freedom Day, Monday 27 April 2020
The Hawthornden Field has played host to a number of exhilarating encounters over the years. Exactly 12 months ago, Wynberg battled back from the brink of defeat to snatch a draw in the final moments of their encounter with Grey High School. Three years prior, at our festival and in our 175th year, Maritzburg College snuck home with a one-point win, slotting the decisive penalty with minutes remaining. Wynberg, with one last opportunity to grab victory, threw everything at the visitors but came up inches short.
Whatever happens between the four white lines, whether Wynberg wins or suffers defeat, we are always united. Unity is an integral part of our DNA and is a value that underpins our rugby culture. This sense of unity belongs not only to the players, but the supporters too. Families from different cultures, religions and walks of life come together to flood the touchlines in rambunctious support of their sons clad in the famous blue and white stripes.
Rugby, more than any other sport it seems, has the power to bring South Africans together. It is more than just a pastime. It is woven into the fabric of our society and we miss it. We miss that shared identity we adopt on a Saturday morning, flat white in hand, witnessing the unadulterated enjoyment writ large upon the faces of the boys playing the purest form of the game. We miss the in-depth debates about the make-up of the First XV and their prospects for the season. This very long weekend, at our festival, we would have discussed young Ben Currie’s promising start at flyhalf and what a great decision it was to move the destructive Eben Tshimanga closer to the ball at outside centre. Damn, we miss it.
The various sports broadcasters have done admirable work in allowing us to relive past glories and agonies, but there is simply no substitute for the unscripted drama live sport provides. Pearson from PE and St John’s of Jo’burg were set to be the opposition this weekend and what a treat those fixtures would have been. From try-saving tackles to silky skills with ball in hand and last gasp penalties, we would have seen it all. Would the Wynberg boys have come out on top? It’s impossible to say – that’s the beauty of sport.
We miss it, but as we unite in the face of a different challenge we need to remain optimistic. We will be back on the pristine playing fields of Wynberg watching our boys do their thing, it is only a matter of time.
WBHS Sports Sports Co-ordinator