Super Rugby has come to an end and while the Sharks, alas, failed at the final hurdle, I’m still walking tall as a proud Sharks fan.
We were all asked to suspend disbelief towards the end of this year’s campaign and right up until the final, our Sharks continued to defy the odds in winning, winning and winning some more, even in games they were meant to – and expected to – lose. There was so much energy, enthusiasm, passion and commitment shown not only by the Sharks, but also their fans, over these last magical five weeks that I simply could not imagine ever wanting to support another team. For me, ultimately, that feel-good vibe is back in a big way and even though the Sharks didn’t bring the cup home this time, I know that we’ve emerged from this campaign as a stronger unit – players, coaches and fans.
At various stages during this (and other) campaigns, we, as fans, have become rather frustrated and critical, perhaps overly so, as the result of a perceived lack of progress from the Sharks – the feeling that the same mistakes were being made repeatedly, that lessons weren’t being learned. Some of that has boiled over and resulted in calls for change, for the rolling of heads, sometimes quietly and at other times very publicly. The question in my mind, right now, is whether those attitudes now persist; do we still feel the same way, or have the Sharks “done enough” in recent weeks to change our minds?
I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that, from the perspective of the suits at Kings Park, John Plumtree certainly has and I’d be very surprised to hear any further calls for his contract to be terminated at this stage. Fans, though, have short memories and I’m afraid that we’re no different here. What we want, at the end of the day, is to be able to walk with our heads held high, proud as can be of the team whose colours we deem worthy enough to adorn ourselves with. I hope I speak for all Sharks fans at the moment in saying that I feel that pride, in overwhelming abundance right now, but also realise that Saturday’s match should be seen as the beginning of something special, not the unfortunate end.
What we want, in a nutshell, is consistency. We have seen the game that the Sharks can play and, pardon the expletive, we fucking-well LOVE it!. What we want is for that game to be the game that the Sharks play all the time. We realise that personnel comes and goes, but we want the Sharks to do their utmost to keep the boys who play that game – as well as to develop others to take over when the circumstances demand it. We know that no team can ever win every game, but we have seen the passion and commitment that the boys have shown over the last five weeks and we want to see that same passion and commitment in every game – whether they win, or whether they lose. That, ultimately, is a non-negotiable. We can handle the Sharks no winning. What we struggle with is the Sharks not pitching up at all.
We’ve got a difficult time ahead of us, though and as fans, we need to be prepared for our commitment and pride to tested to the utmost over the next few months; the Sharks will be weak in the Currie Cup, having lost two thirds of their team to the Boks and also carrying far more fatigue into the competition than the other sides and they will lose some games that we’d like them to win. What we need to focus on is the game that they play and the passion and heart they show doing their utmost for the jersey.
That, I feel, is what will bring us to the start of Super Rugby in 2013 with a larger, healthier, more confident and more united squad than ever. 2012′s final was lost through being forced to play away. Let’s get behind the Sharks to ensure that 2013′s is played at Kings Park!
My name is Rob and I believe in the black and white!Tweet