All Blacks: Sporting World Champion of Chokers? Part One!
If you are one who not only reads Black, but bleeds Black, and 'All' of the time, you may want to loosen that collar, as you don't want to get that 'Gaga' feeling going all over again, as we are very good at it... don't you know?!
Yes, as is often the case from our friendly Colonialists, time and again, at the moment of their choosing, out will trot the line that the All Blacks are chokers. Considering where the All Blacks continue to reside in the world of IRB [Insert: the IRB is a flightless organisation devoted to the status quo of their best interests] Rugby rankings, and with a Rugby World Cup soon to be upon us, in New Zealand no less, it seems only reasonable to expect that those who can't beat the All Blacks in between World Cups would see now as a fitting time to bring out their secret weapon, in another brazen attempt to make mockery of those in All Black come World Cup time!
Exhale People!... I know that was some sentence, but you don't want to get caught on a semi-consonant in a quarter-final!
It should come as no surprise that Patrick Kidd of The Times Online has made another outlandish claim (covered in the NZ Herald here), deciding that the 1999 All Blacks Rugby World Cup team are the BIGGEST chokers in the history of the World of Sport... Truly... However, and Patrick is not 'Kidding'... such is the All Black propensity for bottling it, it only seems reasonable to also include the 2007 version who were 20th on the list.
I mean, as the Paddy Wagon was keen to underscore, our problem with "Wayne's World Totally Un-Excellent" [Insert: See the Movie] officiating was very obviously, only the Yellow Card on Luke McAllister and the almost not- forward pass [Latest Gag: What is a Pass that is almost Not Forward... Answer: Forward... Ah Classic, Rock On Referees!]. Finally, just because we do it so well, it would be remiss of Patrick "I Kidd You Not" to also include a little sniping run with a 1991, 1995, and 2003 reference on the All Blacks debreath, I mean, debrief.
Suffice to say, and he was, the All Blacks do not do the Rugby World Cup Neck-Tie Very Well!
What Do We Have To Say In Response? Is Patrick the Kidd Justified in his Words? Do We Just Have to Face the Facts, Swallow Hard and Wear T-Shirts?
In Other Words, Are the All Blacks Really the Sporting World Champion of Chokers? Is It Really True That The All Blacks Show Again and Again That They Are The T-Rex of World Rugby in Between World Cups, Only To Prove In Each World Cup That They Have The Gag-Reflex of a Diplodocus... Docile and Defeated... and Extinct While We're At It!
Let's See If We Can Reason Together!
An important point of reasoning that gets lost in the rhetoric is that the All Blacks should have won in 1999 [Insert: Pick a World Cup] is not the same as saying they are chokers. That, Ladies and Gentleman is a non sequitur, which is to say, that the conclusion, that the All Blacks are chokers does not automatically follow on from the premise, that they should have won all these Rugby World Cups, with 1999 emblematic!
The reason this is important is that it helps to move the debate on from a dead-end of an either / or fallacy!
The debate is generally framed in a way that either the All Blacks are Rugby World Cup Champions or they are Chokers, and while such is red meat for the heretics, it is both boringly mundane in its creativity, and in this blogger's humble opinion, it does not do justice to the nuances, variables, and history of the Rugby World Cup-All Blacks phenomenon. It also pigeon-holes any dispassionate investigation of why the All Blacks have fallen short, negatively impacting on the likelihood for All Blacks fans to debate what has actually taken place!
Bringing in this last area of emphasis... we All Blacks fans...further highlights an area of perceived vulnerability from those who generally make these claims, as they move their glare toward the All Blacks nation. You see, the choking informers are wont to take the argu-mental high-ground, claiming that the All Blacks fans are unable to deal with this question, let alone answer it.
The argument is that because an All Blacks fan's position does not allow them to hold an unbiased position to objectively deal with this question, such a position hardly has any validity! The result being that in practice, this becomes a very one-sided argument!
While All Blacks fans are definitely predisposed to subjectively favour their team, let it also be put on the record that those who make such "choking" claims are also similarly predisposed... meaning, they do not hold some intellectually neutral high ground in assessing the All Blacks claims. Those who generally hold to such a choking attack are not fans of the All Blacks, and use such rhetoric as an explicit tool to hit back at this rugby nation.
In short, those who are not fans of the All Blacks and want to argue that the All Blacks are chokers are in no better position when it comes to answering this question objectively, as they are just as subjective, meaning they hold to an opposing position to All Blacks fans. They Are Not Neutral Indeed!
Therefore, this understanding helps to free up the debate, putting the onus more on the arguments that will inform these views, which is where we are heading!
Now, while this may not sound like Cricket, let alone Rugby, it is an important foundation to grasp, as the outcome of this debate is greatly impacted by the position one holds!
Next time, we will do a bit of a history lesson, while looking at some other facts and figures in this debate, but let me close this with the following... I know, I close big-time!
Truthfully and Honestly, as fans, we should be able to frankly dialogue on these ghastly historic events as our All Blacks love, loyalty, and future is not beholden to what has taken place and what will take place on the green fields of Eden, as we project forward. The All Blacks are our team... PERIOD... They represent and encapsulate much of what we hold dear as New Zealanders, project much of what we deem best in our melting pot of a nation onto a world stage, giving our small nation of some 4 million souls, a living witness that our nation is to be respected, while at the same, also capturing the love and loyalty of many an individual from the four corners of this planet who join our Team, join our Union, and Join our Backing of Black!
We are, and will remain, All Black... Period!
Please offer your thoughts, reactions, feelings, or perceptions... and, let's reason a little together!
I am coming back to you very soon, and there is much more to add to this "thoughtful" introduction!
Until That Time