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The Cape Crusaders ; Why they are needed July 7, 2011

Posted by cmfry in Rugby, Sport.
Tags: , , ,

As we bring the Stormers’ 2011 Super 15 season to a positive, albeit premature close, we can reflect on a season where the team played very well throughout the inaugural season of Super 15 rugby. This year, although the tour was not as big a factor, it is clear that 16 games in the world’s toughest regional rugby competition (including 8 local derbies for every team) tests everyone’s resolve to the utmost.

Off the field though, one of the bigger factors influencing the season was a phenomenon widely regarded as the Cape Crusaders. These are a set of fans who are dominated by a particular racial grouping in Cape Town who, largely because of the baggage of the past, steadfastly refuse to support any top level rugby team with ties to South Africa. Usually, they arrive in droves to support usually a New Zealand based team in the Super Rugby competition, or they get behind the All Blacks (no pun intended, for those who do not understand rugby whatsoever). And because the Crusaders are the perennial favourites in Super Rugby, they normally support this team.

Now Jake White, 2007 Rugby World Cup winning coach of the Springboks gave his thoughts on his blog here, although in truth, he gives his view as a coach.

As a die hard fan of all things Capetonian, on the face of it, one must ask; are these fans needed in the Cape? If they love New Zealand rugby borne out of an inability to reconcile with the past, why don’t they leave and join the many who for other reasons have emigrated to the land of the long white cloud?

The answer came to me on Saturday morning, while rushing to do the grocery shopping. A total stranger struck up a conversation with me, groaning about the long lines everywhere in the store. One thing led to another, and before I knew it we were talking about the day’s big game (read major disappointment!), and how we could beat the Crusaders. But he also went on about the people who supported them who lived in the Cape, and how that was akin to high treason! How people should support a team because they liked them, not just because of past indiscretions.

That 10 minute conversation led me to one undeniable conclusion. Every hero doesn’t always need loyal followers; he needs a villain. The villain exists largely to galvanise support in the fight against the danger the villain purports. And largely, the Cape Crusaders portray what might just happen if we all still hold on to the past and the threats that the past portrays. The very fabric of the life that most of us so love in Cape Town will be forever altered, and unless we continue to fight the demons of the past, we might never be able to again recover from such an injustice.

So yes, although I too despise the Cape Crusaders, I will accommodate them, for they, too, are needed. If they choose to support the Bulls in the Currie Cup, however, they will richly deserve the comeuppance they will surely receive!   



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