Simple Executions In Rugby And Debate

Posted on March 17, 2009


If you have seen a rugby game before, a good one, then perhaps you would be perplexed at times on the number of things that the players have to do while adhering to a great number of at times mind boggling rules. If you have never played before, chances are you might excuse yourself from ever playing this beautiful game. It could also be viewed upon as difficult because the person or mayhap even the coach, explaining the game to you, wanted the game to be seen as complex and multidimensional as an indirect communication to you that he or she has mastered this game and as such is few levels above you. These types of coaches or explainers are the ones responsible for driving people away from the game.

If you were to ask me, a rugby fan, I would tell you:

  1. Grab the ball and run to the opposition’s try line;
  2. If you do not have the ball, support the guy with the ball or if the ball is with the opposition, grab him;
  3. Pass the ball backwards;

… you are now ready to play. The complexities of strategies, well when you play they will be better explained through in play coaches, teammates, referees, opponents and fans standing outside. Play the game and the game will coach you.

Surprisingly, as also a great debating fan, I kept seeing these complex coaches and explainers given a free hand and reigning over debate as if it is the most complex situational activity in the world. Debate is not, and very much like rugby NOT in the same league as rocket science.

Listen to me would be debaters:

  1.  Believe in an idea, support that idea and tell it to the faces of your opponents;
  2. They will say something back so like in a canteen food fight, throw something back at them, the bigger the stinker the better;
  3. Keep throwing at them and fend off whatever they throw at you. At the end, if they stink worse, you win.


– The writer is a former debater for Universiti Putra Malaysia and rugby player for the legendary Serdang Angels.