Come On Wales!

James Proclaims (4)

I am Welsh. Sort of. I was actually born in England, to an English mother and a sort of Indian father. My father was born in India, but moved to the UK when he was four years old. He grew up in England but moved to Wales when he was eighteen to go to university and never really left (except once, briefly, around when I was born). I’m not sure what nationality he considers himself to be but I don’t think he’d be unhappy to be considered Welsh. My mum, I think, considers herself to still be English, despite having lived in Wales for almost as long as my dad (they went to the same Welsh university but my dad got there a couple of years earlier), but she’s an English person who is fond of Wales. Both my sisters were born in Wales and definitely identify as Welsh. Which brings us back to me. I was, as I say, born in England, but I really only lived there for six weeks, before my parents returned to live in Wales. So I’m Welsh more than I am anything else.

None of this matters of course. I set very little store by nationality really. And I obviously have links to both England and India. And my wife is English. And I now live in England. And to a lot of people who don’t live in the UK, it would be hard to make a distinction between being Welsh or being English anyway. But there is a difference. And it becomes abundantly clear when it comes to sport. And in particular the sport of rugby.

Regular readers will know that I am something of an armchair rugby fan (by which I mean I enjoy the sport of rugby from the comfort of my armchair rather than being a fan of a sport called ‘armchair rugby’. Although if that sport did exist, I feel I might be quite good at it). To be more specific, I am a fan of the sport called rugby union rather than the sport called rugby league. To explain the difference between the two different kinds of rugby would be as difficult as explaining the difference between being Welsh and being English. It’s hard to do and yet the differences are all too clear to those who are familiar with the two sports.

Anyway, if you are a fan of rugby union, then the months of February and March are quite a big deal, because that is when the Six Nations Tournament takes place. The six nations in question are Wales, England, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy. This in itself is confusing because some people may consider Wales, England, Scotland and a bit of Ireland to be one nation, which they are when it comes to some sports, but not others. Certainly Ireland is rarely considered just one nation, given that the Northern bit is part of the UK and the southern bit is not (and consequently still part of the European Union, which is a whole different headache post-Brexit). Anyway, for the purposes of rugby union, Ireland is just one nation and Wales, England and Scotland are all individual nations too. And they all play each other every year. And everyone beats Italy every year. But generally it’s harder to predict who will win the other games and most teams are capable of beating each other. Which makes it quite a fun tournament to watch. Wales, in particular, have been successful for the most part since 2005. They were pretty rubbish before that, for most of my life, but apparently they were quite exceptional before I was born. And rugby is a massive thing in Wales. When the national team does well, everyone is happy. When they do less well, everyone is less happy.

Match days in Cardiff used to be one of my favourite things. I haven’t been since Little Proclaims was born, but I used to regularly make the trip down to catch up with my friends and enjoy a few beers while watching the game. And then a few more beers after the game. And eventually a really bad hangover the following morning. But Little Proclaims’ arrival has certainly put a stop to that kind of behaviour. For now. Obviously the worldwide pandemic has put a stop to that kind of behaviour for everyone for the time-being so it’s not like I’m missing out.

A few weeks ago I wrote a post while watching Wales’ opening game of the tournament. I had very low expectations because the Welsh team captured the overall mood of 2020 by being quite rubbish throughout. But Wales had been good in 2019, so there was always a chance they would find some form again. They did beat Ireland but it was far from convincing and Ireland had a player sent off, so my expectations remained low. Then they beat Scotland, but Scotland also had a player sent off and so although Wales were two for two, expectations remained low. Wales had been lucky rather than good. Then yesterday Wales played England.

And they won again. There were some controversial moments, and some people might say Wales were lucky again. But it is incredible good luck to win three international rugby games in a row without being any good, so I’m starting to think that they might be quite good again.

Not that it matters, because when Wales play rugby, I drink beer and shout at the TV. And when they win I cheer loudly and I’m very happy. And Little Proclaims really enjoys it when I shout at the TV and cheer loudly and am very happy. So she joins in too.

Mrs. Proclaims does not join in, less because she is English and more because she has absolutely no interest in televised sport. But she does allow me to shout at the TV whenever there is a game on so she supports the Welsh team in her own way.

Anyway, yesterday Proclaims Towers resounded with the joyful sounds of a large inebriated man and a small energetic child shouting “Come on Wales” over and over again. And then, at the sound of the final whistle there was even more shouting and a bit of dancing. It took a while for either of us to calm down.

Still, I’m not sure that Little Proclaims really understood what was going on and this was confirmed earlier today, when I flicked on the TV and discovered that the BBC was showing a football match. It was Crystal Palace versus Fulham (two teams I have no interest in) and it was a boring nil-nil draw. But even though it was a different sport and an incredibly dull fixture, to Little Proclaims it was people running around on grass in a stadium and it looked and sounded very similar to yesterday’s rugby game that we had both so enjoyed. And Little Proclaims was clearly in the mood for some more of that action, because she looked at the dour game on the TV as if all her Christmases had come at once and shouted at the top of her voice “Come on Wales!”

  24 comments for “Come On Wales!

  1. February 28, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    Priceless!
    I hope it is anyway ’cause I’m not paying for that!

    Liked by 2 people

    • March 2, 2021 at 3:19 pm

      You read it. You already paid.

      Like

  2. February 28, 2021 at 5:55 pm

    We were in Edinburgh a few years ago at the start of the Six Nations, and even though I knew next to nothing about rugby (and my attempts at watching on TV/YouTube videos have only increased that to a little more than next to nothing), it was hard not to get caught up at least a little bit in the excitement. If I remember correctly, Scotland won or had a big game coming up while we were there, and the cab driver on our way to the airport was very eager to talk about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 2, 2021 at 3:21 pm

      It is quite a magical tournament in that respect. People with no interest in the sport can still enjoy all the excitement that surrounds the game. Cardiff on match day is like a carnival.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. February 28, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    Generally, I cheer on Wales as well, seeing as being Cornish is closer to being Welsh than it is to being English. If they’re rubbish, I can cheer for Ireland on the same basis and generally get to Scotland as a third choice. Then France and Italy. There is honestly nothing in the rumour that the Cornish hold any grudge against England going back hundreds of years since they stole Cornwall and assimilated it into England..

    Liked by 3 people

    • March 2, 2021 at 3:22 pm

      And that lack of a grudge comes across very clearly.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. February 28, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    Better team won no doubt about that. England didn’t do themselves any favours but those two tries were…… interesting to say the least! I’m from Hull so it’s rugby league for me. Hopefully get the crowds back and get that atmosphere going!

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 2, 2021 at 3:25 pm

      They were ‘interesting’ tries but I did enjoy them both. Not a big rugby league fan but I always enjoy the Challenge Cup. And I went to a few world cup games one year, but Wales are hopeless at League so I do grudgingly support England in that.

      Like

      • March 2, 2021 at 3:34 pm

        Yeah it’s a funny thing being brilliant at one code and crap at the other. I actually shout for Wales anytime the play anyone else. Always have since Jonathan Davies played. And we he went to league he was sensational. As long as Scotland get beat I’m happy!

        Liked by 1 person

      • March 2, 2021 at 3:41 pm

        Jonathan Davies is one of the greats of both codes, but we’ll always be a little bit bitter that the Welsh union’s slump of the eighties and nineties was partly because our best players all went to league. Scott Gibbs, Scott Quinell and Allan Bateman all spring to mind too but Davies was the one that hurt the most.

        Like

      • March 2, 2021 at 4:17 pm

        Yeah you really had some great players. Davis was brilliant.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. February 28, 2021 at 7:44 pm

    I sure like that Little Proclaims. When it comes to sports I’m probably on her level, perhaps a little lower.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 2, 2021 at 3:25 pm

      She enjoys herself and that’s what really counts

      Liked by 1 person

  6. February 28, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    I try to put League in the WWF category rather than Sport. A lesser Union. No lineouts, little finesse, brute- emphasis on brute- strength. But carry on Wales, well done, boyo. As for the Palace/Fulham ‘game’? Literally nothing to cheer about. And ninety minutes of immutable boredom for a lousy point.Each. What’s the point? Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 2, 2021 at 3:27 pm

      Certainly the Palace/Fulham game was not a great follow up to a six nations game. I’m always surprised at how amazingly good NZ are at rugby league because surely every Kiwi grows up wanting to play for the All Blacks?

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 2, 2021 at 6:33 pm

        Rugby here IS religion. Look, in the stands, any stand, on even the most provincial of games and you see a healthy dollop of flush faced WAGS not just making up the numbers, but egging ‘their boys’ on. A lot- a LOT are otherwise staunch conservative matrons of pensionable age who wouldn’t say boo to a goose. But they are up there, bellowing away like Brian Blessed with the best and worst of men.The winning All Black coach gets a multitude more ‘bless you’s’ than God himself on any given Sunday. IF we won the game on Saturday. The Church Of The Sacred Starting Fifteen even welcomes back those who go to the Thirteen Man Dark Side. The swollen headed psalm singing and palm slapping congregation is quite forgiving. In the highest of spirits even.
        But should we lose- for the coach, for his disciples- there’s the devil to pay.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. February 28, 2021 at 9:06 pm

    I once had rugby carefully described to me and while I was still in a state of disbelief they went on to describe the difference between League and Union. So, without any further confusion, I am now with that Little Proclaimer “Come on Wales” Sport is always better when you have a dog in the fight. cheers

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 2, 2021 at 3:28 pm

      Always better to have a dog in the fight and Wales are always a good rugby dog for the neutrals. Small plucky nation, often the underdogs, but always have a chance of winning.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. March 1, 2021 at 3:30 am

    Being an American I don’t really support a team But I love Rugby. Where I live there is a college league i sometimes watch but If I ever got to see a six nation game I would bring the beer. Great story and I’m with Little Proclaims “Come On Wales” no matter whos playing

    More laughter means more of everything else

    Liked by 1 person

  9. March 1, 2021 at 4:23 am

    Too cute. I might just have to go start an armchair rugby league. It sounds like fun.

    Liked by 2 people

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