By the time you read this the result of the 2011 Rugby Would Cup will be known; the adulation of the new world champions (surely it’s New Zealand’s turn) will be dying down and the losers’ post mortem will be well underway. Players, coaches, organisers, management – all will be examined and critiqued. No doubt Martin Snedden and his team will be debriefing after the event. The media will be calling for changes and the experts will be discussing the what-ifs and the critical mistakes made.
Some heads will roll, some contracts will be terminated and others will be extended. Advertising hoardings will be removed and we’ll all return to our pre-RWC lives while basking in the highs and wallowing in the lows of the past 10 weeks or so.
For me it’s been a wonderful time. I’ve absolutely loved every moment of it. I’m quite unashamedly a raving fan! I think I’ve been a pretty good sport through it all but would admit that once or twice my passion did get the better of me. My friends on Facebook will have read my comments and know exactly how passionate I was.
But it’s over, it’s gone. Another 28 years before it returns, if it ever does. It’s just history.
So now what happens? What do we do with that adrenaline-laden oomph which has kept us fired up over the last two months? Are we suddenly feeling a bit lost as to how to use the surge of energy that’s inspired us and generally consumed almost every conversation we’ve had in recent weeks?
Perhaps we could take some time to think about the 19 nations that joined our national team and imprinted their special mark on the New Zealand landscape and its people. For a few short weeks each of these teams was a part of the Kiwi family and it is somewhat sad to see them go. They were good for us and brought out the best in us. It’s possible that, in rugby terms, we may not hear from them until 2015 when the rugby world meets in England and gets all excited again.
As I reflect on the competitiveness, the colour, the character and the courage of each of these nations I begin to imagine what heaven will be like and the vast spectrum of multi-culturalism it will contain. If, on that glorious day, there’s as much energy as the 2011 Rugby World Cup, what a blast it’s going to be.
In the lunchroom today, three days before we’re due to play Australia in the semi-finals, someone asked, “How are we all feeling about Sunday night?”
One tongue-in-check response was, “Why, what’s on? Is there a church service somewhere?”
As we chuckled over that comment we reflected on the reality that it’s almost as if the nation is preparing for a service of worship.
I wonder how we pour some of this RWC energy into the lives of those around us who have been attending “rugby church.” Imagine the difference we could make if we used our RWC energy to take the love and grace to our nation and all the nations in an amazing Kiwi way?
• Peter is General Director of the New Zealand Baptist Mission Society (NZBMS) – New Zealand Baptists Reaching the World.