A golden era of Rugby

A golden era of Rugby

I try and tell myself that it’s important to enjoy the Rugby win or lose, which isn’t that difficult supporting the All Blacks, who win over 90% of their games,  or if you go back for the last 115 years or so, 78%.  Making it the most successful team anywhere, in any sport, league or country.

Well that feels better already! I woke up this morning wondering if it was a (bad) dream. No, it wasn’t.  I was suffering somewhere in the grief cycle. The grief cycle! Really? Shock-Anger-Resentment-Acceptance-Hope. Time to get a grip – it’s a game. Sports!

I love Rugby, especially the All Blacks. I’ve watched every game since 2008 which has been a stunning era in New Zealand Rugby. Even when they lose, they’ve sorted it out, taken the learnings and grown some more legs.

The trouble with a RWC playoff game, is that there’s no coming back. Well not for “four-more-years” (ouch). Hardly seems right, we get to change the government more frequently than that!

So what to do? Phone a friend, listen to some talk back (very briefly) to realise how really troubled some people are, find something that means something special to you other than Rugby – some selfish indulgence – maybe a new project, and if you’re stuck remind yourself that England would have to keep winning until long after you’ve gone to catch up!


The last twelve years have been a golden era of Rugby for the All Blacks. It hasn’t ended, they won’t be #1 now on the official rankings or holder of the Webb Ellis Cup. But they’ll be back before you know it, thrilling us with entertaining and fast-paced rugby and a Haka that only us Kiwis get.  And mostly winning!


p.s. Webb Ellis is the supposed inventor of the game of Rugby Union. He was an Anglican Clergyman. Little did he know he invented a new religion for New Zealand. He might be disappointed I sense.

Rugby on 9/11

If you enjoy Rugby Union it’s a feast right now. There’s always something less tense about watching two teams other than your own battle it and the England vs Argentina and South Africa vs Wales games had plenty of tension with a result that any one-eyed ABs supporter could live with. Although you’d have to say surely that penalty goal was in?! Lots of the action was happening while American was remembering the murder of its people on September 2001 in New York and Washington DC. Was I the only one that realised I was much more interested in the Rugby than in remembering 9/11? I guess 9/11 will go (and perhaps already has gone) down in history as one of those dates like Friday 13 where we remember bad things happen and to be cautious about.

On Friday 13 October 1307  French King Phillipe IV conspiring with Pope Clement V commenced the arrest of the Knights Templar. Most of their alleged crimes were related to the sort of claptrap we now view as laughable such as denying religion, idolising false gods (how do you choose which one is false!?) etc. As you can imagine, many were killed including being burned at the stake for (as the arrest warrants asserted) causing displeasure to God (not a false one I presume). There’s no universal agreement that this is the cause of our fear of Black Friday, but it’s a good start for thinking about 9/11 in a weekend consumed by that (false?) god of Aotearoa, Rugby.

A man called Rick Perry  who is the governor of Texas would like to be the next president of our most powerful country, USA. He has expressed skepticism about evolution as scientifically valid and claimed that the two “theories”  – evolution and creationism were taught in Texas. Turns out he was wrong on the teaching part as it’s been ruled unconstitutional to teach a religion, which is what creationism is part of, in school. He has used phrases like “it’s only a theory” and “there are gaps” to somehow put down what is, frankly, beyond any doubt. As far as scientific theories go, the court will rule beyond any doubt that it’s true.

The events of 9/11 were obscene and as I’ve blogged here in the past, murder. It is inescapable that those who put this together and executed the plan used religion as some sort of twisted justification either to themselves, their families and the global population.  Included in this justification was a “belief” that there would be a reward in the metaphysical world for their actions. Communities far and wide including the Muslim world were and are repulsed by this. As intelligent beings we are entitled to a belief. But that belief must be based on credible and justifiable propositions, facts and reasoning. As a potential leader of the USA Rick Perry shows the same dark-ages belief system as those who controlled the events of 13 October 1307 and 11 September 2001. No, Rick Perry isn’t burning anyone at the stake (although his state has executed 473 of the 1266 people executed in the US since 1976), or flying plane loads of innocent passengers to a terrifying death.

My gig in leadership is authenticity. Everyone knows that. Being authentic in leadership means being real. Being yourself. It also means being real and true. Hanging on to absurd, middle-aged and demonstrably false “beliefs” when aspiring to the highest leadership in this world is dangerous role-modelling at its worst. There’s always going to be crackpots who say, deny the Holocaust, but our most powerful, would be “world’s policeman” shouldn’t be anywhere near this. Even being in the argument as he must inevitably be provokes the worst in those who are denied or have limited access to science. He has no excuse.

We know Rugby is our false god. That’s okay. We’ll be gutted if we don’t win the World Cup. But we’ll survive and no-one will (I hope!) get hurt or suffer irrational consequences for enjoying their false-god religion. In fact, come to think of it, we should encourage everyone to support a false god like Rugby. It’s a heck of a lot safer than the true one!

Go the ABs!


Ridiculous leadership

Pastor Jack Edward from the Shema Evangelism Ministry in Papua New Guinea along with a group of fellow church ministers requested that the then acting prime minister Sam Abal approve a new public holiday to be known as Repentance Day.  Mr Abal apparently went along with this and gazetted this new public holiday so the citizens of PNG could have a day to ask for repentance of sins.  Pastor Jack meanwhile, is the co-ordinator for the day, presumably co-ordinating the various transgressions to be repented on the day.

No this is not a Monty Python skit, it’s true. A country where most of the population live in poverty, a country who’s unique flora and fauna is under serious threat from mining interests, a country where crime is rampant and this is the (acting) leader’s priority. Was he drunk or what?

Maybe Mr Abal want’s repentence for his son’s transgressions (allegedly killed a waitress in July).  But wait there’s more – Port Moresby was ranked near the bottom of a most liveable cities in the world survey. The top ten cities are in Australia, Austria, Canada and New Zealand (Auckland #10).

I checked and as far as I can see none of these four countries concerns itself with a Repentance day. These are generally prosperous, safe and educated countries – not perfect of course – but countries whose leadership concerns itself with things that hopefully make a difference. 

I ran a workshop this evening for a group of partners at a professional services firm. We talked about leadership. I talked about the components of authentic leadership and focussed the group’s mind on vision. A vision will separate a leader from a manager.

In the end I feel sorry for the people of PNG. Struggling with so many problems which won’t change without a vision and leadership. I don’t know how Mr Abal got to be selected for the acting role, but I can imagine why he will only ever be acting.

No vision, grasping at superstition from silly old men in a pathetic attempt to do what?  PNG people should say stick it and ignore such ridiculous leadership (and the stupidity of the day off) for what it is. The power of the people sometimes need to show leaders that more is demanded.


Say it for Valentines Day leader

Two news items came out in the last couple of days concerning religion. One was about the leaders of one religion saying it was against the religion and it was immoral for unmarried people to celebrate Valentines Day as terrible things (my words!) might happen, like kissing and sex. Then two religions are accused of marrying off 13 year-old-girls. Apparently, if it’s within the confines of a religion then it can be moral, if it’s like, not.

Of course religion has no right to own morals any more than I have and one should never be confused with the other. Otherwise, we end up doing all sorts of things from the downright stupid (like not allowing young people to court) to forcing children to marry. Religion might agree with some of my morals, like not stealing, not killing and not perjuring myself. Thankfully in this beautiful country (I’ve just had a late evening walk on Tamaki Drive from St Heliers to Kohimarama which puts the phrase beautiful country in my mind!), most of us realise the difference between morals and man-made rules.

When John Key was asked today at the Big Gay Out if he supported civil unions he refused to answer. It is reported that he voted against the legislation when it was introduced into Parliament. I guess it was a conscience vote, whatever that means. I wonder why he wouldn’t say whether or not he supported it. To at least some of the people there, it is probably important to know what his view is, especially as he had previously voted against it. And he’s the leader of our great country.

If you want to enter into a contract with another person of your own free will, go for it. It’s none of my business and if you don’t kill or steal while you’re doing it, I wish you luck. If you’re a young person and you want to express your love for another person on Valentines Day, go for it. Do the same if you’re older, whether you’re in a contract or not. None of this is my concern. So should we be concerned of a leader who thinks he or she can tell you whether or not you can even do any of these things?

Yes, because, if the answer is no you can’t do it, then we are entitled to ask: Why? A leader, especially a political one, should empower and enable us to live happy and authentic lives. Anything else is a slippery slope to places you don’t want to go. If the answer is no on moral grounds, that’s even more disturbing. What moral? Where could such a thing have come from?

But this is a leadership blog! And I reckon that there is an important leadership question in all of this: say it when it’s important to your followers. Agree with you or not, you’ll be seen as authentic. And if you really don’t want to say, you might like to ask yourself, why not?

Whatever the origins of Valentine, if it’s for you and gives you and your loved one happiness, enjoy. Don’t let anyone stop you. It’s your right to be happy.