Mark Wyatt Headlines a Great Night of Rugby
Date: January 27, 2013
Mark Wyatt has the rugby credentials to gain attention wherever he speaks. However, his presentation at the Central Okanagan Rugby Enthusiast's AGM did not focus on his own rugby past. Rather, Wyatt chose to speak about the pride and passion of being a Canadian athlete in the modern world. It left the crowd of 80 local rugby enthusiasts feeling lucky to have heard such an inspiring presentation.
Mark used several examples from sporting history to illustrate the 'proper' expectations Canadian fans have of their national athletes. He cited Donovan Bailey's belittling of Michael Smith, who 'pulled up' in their classic 150 metre race, as an example of Canadians wanting a more 'polite' approach. More recently, Canadians criticized Christine Sinclair for her post-Olympic game comments about the poor officiating in their semi-final overtime loss to the US. Mark pointed out that not only was Christine correct in her comments but that her highly competitive and patriotic response should be applauded not criticized.
Wyatt showed a film clip of the 1995 rugby fight between Canadian and South African players. He described those players as part of a very special and proud group of Canadians who stood up to an edgy Springbok side that had been adding little extras throughout the game. Many would criticize those players, said Wyatt. We should instead be proud of national athletes with that much patriotic commitment to their team and country.
An especially telling part of Wyatt's presentation was a demonstration of how the French responded to Zidane's famous head-butt of Italian player Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup Final. His action may have led to France's loss of that game. How did France respond? They erected a 15-metre-high statue of the head-butt, honoring Zidane for defending his family above all else.
The audience clearly enjoyed Wyatt's presentation, giving him a standing ovation after it was done.
The night also featured other important presentations, recognizing key contributors to the local rugby community. School Superintendent Hugh Gloster gave awards to Leana Marton, Evan Orloff, and Rob Bunce for their years of contribution to rugby in the local school district. Al Perry, the volunteer responsible for expanding our Founding Member base, recognized two new contributors whose families donated funds In Memorium to their fathers. Doug Leadbetter was recognized for his love of the game, as was Giriard Kirby, Al Perry's father-in-law.