Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Rugby and the REAL World Cup

With Rosh Hashanah a fresh memory and Yom Kippur close on horizion, it's probably a little irreverent to talk about the Rugby World Cup. After all, this is the time when matters of Life and Death are decided for the year- though for some the rugby may be even more serious than that.

Now, rugby is not a classical Jewish sport. I couldn't imagine Jewish mothers enjoying seeing their boychicks getting roughed up on the field, and most Jewish players would probably prefer to stand in the back and shout instructions to their colleagues on the offensive.

[One thing I do know is that, if the All Blacks were really Chassidim, there’d be a lechaim at every scrum…]

Anyway, Jewish or not, the game captures the imagination of millions of people- and (like everything else in life) carries a few spiritual lessons for us as Jews.

Lesson 1: TRY

A “try” in rugby means you have actually reached your goal. We're used to saying “I’ll try” as a pre-excuse for things not working out. Rugby teaches that when you succeed, you know you have made a real "try". (Heard this one from Rabbi Dovid Hazdan a few years ago)

Lesson 2: GET MORE THAN YOU BARGAIN FOR

Once you’ve scored a try, you get a chance to make a conversion. In Talmudic terminology, this is called the “Yogato umotzoso” principle. People normally expect their efforts to bear relative results; Torah guarantees that when you invest effort, you see results beyond your expectations.

Lesson 3: JOIN TOGETHER & LIFT

Sometimes during the game, rugby players will bunch together and lift one player to catch or throw the ball.

Social gatherings are often a chance to get together and put others down. Life woulod be more pleasant if we took the rugby approach: When you get together with others for a chat, use the opportunity to give someone else a lift.

Lesson 4: KEEP MOVING FORWARD

Unlike other sports games, rugby sees the ball going backwards to move forward. Too often, we think that of we’ve taken a step backwards, it’s all bad news. Judaism believes that every slip-up can be the catalyst for growth. Even when you toss the ball backward, remember to keep running forward, you’ll eventually get there.

Lesson 5: PLAY ALL THE WAY

Of course, it would be pointless to enter your team in the World Cup and only play the first one or two games. Sure, it gets tougher as you progress, but you have to be motivated to play through to the very end if you want to take the prize home.

Well, Rosh Hashanah is the launch of the spiritual World cup- and the winning team plays all the way to the final on Simchas Torah.

Hope you’ll be there!

2 comments:

chutzpah said...

Lesson 6.

Go to King David, Ref on Yom Kippur

Yehudi01 said...

Great post! It's funny where you can derive spiritual lessons from when we have our eyes opening and looking! I will link our sites...I'll be back often to read your 'latest!'