Dear Australian Rugby
I first fell in love with you in 1991. I was having a hard time at boarding school when I first heard about these two kids who had gone to a boarding school nearby who were playing for the Wallabies against New Zealand. I started to pay more attention when my best mate talked about the game, and I asked questions and figured out the rules. Then I recruited my sisters into following your beautifully chaotic game ruled by intricacies and kaleidoscopic patterns.
For the next few years, all rewards, weekends away from school, and surprises were geared around going to see the Reds play at Ballymore. I collected autographs, won free tickets wherever I could, and I put up posters on the walls and doors. Six days after I turned 18 there was a Bledisloe at Suncorp; it’s where I bought my first beer. We almost won that day.
When I was in my 3rd year of university I was invited to the Uni Rugby Club by the Colts 3 coach and I felt like I’d come home; like my family had grown. You were there for me in the dark days after my Dad passed away, when the coaches stepped in with fatherly advice when I needed it. And all the while there was this game – you – I got to spend time with every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. I couldn’t stop talking about you to everyone I met. And even now you’re at the centre of the stories I tell the most.
Some stories are happy, some funny, some are disappointing, some euphoric and some are desperately sad.
You’ve given me the best and worst days of my life. I’ve loved you for 23 years and even when I’ve hated you I’ve still cared enough to watch the next game: to give us another chance.
But I am done. My trust and faith in you is so damaged that I can’t summon the effort to care anymore. I’m hurt that you’ve placed one player above the team, the brand, and the game. I’ve always trusted you to be the caretaker of the game for the long haul. You have failed. I’m walking away. I can’t do this anymore.