Rugby is a favourite past time of South Africans. It’s a game that unites and divides families, households and friends. Fans get carried away. “Was it a try?” “Why didn’t he pass it?” “Come on ref!” “Courtnall, you biscuit!” and “Why didn’t they take the 3 points?” are all examples of expressions uttered by the live crowd and TV fans while watching a game of 15’s. At BESA, Touch Rugby does very much the same to us. We are passionate and we get a little carried away. We are South African after all.

The lines are drawn in the grass, the players get psyched and the spectators ready themselves to cheer their house on until the end. The mutterings emanating from our BESA crowd are similar to 15’s game, but different at the same time. “Which team is winning?” “You’re running the wrong way!” “Go Phoenix!” “Come on ref!” and “Leah, you biscuit!” are some examples of the crowd expressions during our ‘friendly’ inter-house competition.

For many of the players this was their first exposure to the game of touch rugby. So it goes without saying that errors were made and rules were bent, if not broken on occasion. Our inter-house tournaments are held in the name of participation and fun but a little inter-house rivalry always slips in as the matches take place over the course of the tournament. We want to win, but we want to have fun doing it!

So, to the rugby…

We kicked off with Pegasus versus Griffin on both fields. On Field A were the boys and on field B were the girls. We won’t get into the nitty-gritty of the matches but let’s just say there was some Campese-esque goose-stepping going on, some Jantjies-esque hairstyles on view and some fanatical cheering coming from the sidelines in the form of supporters and squad members. On the boys’ field it was much the same.

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Justin and Steven (two of our Grade 12 learners) were charged with keeping this lot under control as referees. If you think playing the game is tiring, you should try being a ref. The ref is constantly guiding players as to where the offside line is, running backwards at all times and all the while counting the number of touches. It must be said that they both did a sterling job. Mrs Botten stepped in at times to add some muscle to the refereeing team. It’s a little known fact that Mrs Botten represented South Africa as a touch rugby player, so she knows her stuff. Autograph hunters, line up with your gear for a signature in Maths class tomorrow.

Matches took place over the period of two and a half hours. There were wins for Griffin, wins for Pegasus, wins for Phoenix – each house exchanging blows like McGregor and Mayweather. Each respective team win earned points toward the overall team competition. The combined tallies of each team’s match performances, including team spirit, were combined to give us an overall winner.

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Mr Young read out the results in reverse order…

Now at this stage it must be said that while I am impartial, being the author and all that, I quite like the blue team. The blue team is called Pegasus and it is the best team with the best learner team members and definitely the best teacher team members. But as I was saying, I am quite impartial to the whole thing.

Mr Young came over the PA system. “In third place, it’s…PHOENIX!

Cue celebrations from Pegasus and Griffin, since they didn’t come 3rd (last). Commiserations to the Phoenix team who played really well on the day.

It was Mr Young’s turn once again. In second place, it’s…

It must be said that neither team wanted to hear their name at this point. To hear you’ve come second isn’t great when coming first is the alternative. Team members from Griffin and Pegasus were holding their collective breaths. Surely it will be our name that sir bellows out, they were all thinking.

In second place, it’s…PEGASUS!

Mr Young broke Pegasus hearts with the announcement. They thought they had done enough to secure their first house victory of the year. Alas, it was not to be. The Griffin team took home the victory. The reds had done it again. They were gracious champions however, offering congratulations to the losing Pegasus and Phoenix teams. A lap of honour was on the cards until we realised that it was almost the end of the school day and we had to pack up and go home!

Another inter-house tournament had come to a successful end.

With massive thanks to Mr Young, our organiser, Mrs Botten, our resident ‘touch’ expert and referee, the staff members who assisted in making sure that the day ran smoothly, to the spectators for cheering on their teams so enthusiastically and most of all to our players for ensuring that we had such a fun-filled, fancy-free, sun-drenched, voice-crackling, side-steppingly awesome day!

BESA…YOU BISCUITS!

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