Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Some Thoughts About Rugby
By Nihal D Amerasekera
The beautiful game of rugby is quintessentially British. It started as a sport in 1824 at Rugby School which is 90 minutes drive away from my home in England. I have had the good fortune to visit this great school established in 1567 when my elder son played 1st XI cricket for a rival public school. The elegant sweep of the 500 year old school buildings is breathtakingly beautiful. The view of the school as a backdrop to the lush green sports ground is stunning. It was the British who brought over the ethos, curriculum and the sports to Ceylon from their own Public Schools. Eton, Harrow and Rugby were the breeding grounds for the army officers and administrators who helped to govern the colonies of the Great British Empire. The novelist George Orwell wrote: 'Probably the battle of Waterloo was won on the playing-fields of Eton’. Thomas Hughes attended Rugby School from 1834-42 and has written a graphic account of his life as a boarder in “Tom Brown’s schooldays”. He recounts the camaraderie, friendships, the highs and the lows in ‘vivid technicolour’. I have posted a photo of Rugby School in the hope that when you watch your next game of Rugby you will reflect on where it all started nearly 200 years ago.
I dedicate this short account to my friend and batchmate Sidath Jayanetti who played Rugby for Royal College. His fearless tackles and sweeping runs will be long remembered as will be his friendly smile and genuine kindness. I remember with much fondness our happy time together in Kurunegala all those years ago. How time has flown !!