Taking One For The Team

Harlequins Leinster Mike Brown.jpg

How insidious sporting metaphors are as they sneak unremarked into our corporate-speak.

“Team spirit,” “pulling together,” “weaker players,” “extra coaching” and the currently popular “taking one for the team”.
Sitting in the west stand at the Stoop watching Harlequins vs Leinster in the quarter-final of the rugby European Cup on Sunday, I observed that there are indeed plenty of useful life skills you can pick up at live sporting events. Skills that you can put to good use at all levels of corporate and family life.
Key amongst these would be
  • how to stand up and sit down in quick succesision
  • how to shout and swear in front of children
  • how to be highly partisan but still make small talk with the enemy
  • and how to wave a flag without poking someone’s eye out.
Stadiums (OK stadia, but who says that?) have improved greatly in the last few years. You can get a reasonable and hot cup of coffee throughout the game, and the all-seater under-cover venues now have plastic seats which are almost wide enough for your average rugby-sized man.
But the most important lessons I have taken away from time at sporting events over the years are:
  •  any meat from any stand, even Deathburgers, smells DELICIOUS
  • any song is invested with great emotion and poignancy if sung in the open-air by enough people (so long as they don’t fluff the words.)
Even Manfred Mann’s “The Mighty Quinn (1968), the words to which are:
“Come on without
Come on within
You’ve not seen nothing like the Mighty Quinn.” (repeat)

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