Let’s learn to enjoy State of Origin

Letters, Normal

The National , Monday, May 30, 2011

IT is disappointing for a Blues coach to see the New South Wales side lose yet another State of Origin test to the Queensland Ma­roons led by legendary and record breaking skipper Darren Lockyer.
It is even more disappointing to see the disgraceful reactions of Papua New Guineans when they witness their favourite team losing.
Since returning to Papua New Guinea two years ago after a stint over­seas, I have observed and come to the conclusion that the State of Origin fever is even higher and more rabid here than it is in Australia.
What started out as a test of skills between two Australian states has turned into an illusion that is forever embedded in the hearts, minds and way of life of Papua New Gui­neans.
The State of Origin is now a part of PNG culture and psyche.
It infuriates me when I browse through the pages of The National after a State of Origin match only to find headlines such as “Man bashes wife over Blues and Maroons game”, “Brother stabs cousin after losing one carton of beer over State of Origin bet” or “Man gets life with hard labour” after he murdered his friend just because he taunted him over the loss of NSW.
Wake up, PNG!
This game is played in Australia by Australians representing Australia states as part of the National Rugby League.
Do we realise that we, Papua New Guineans, are being looked upon as uncivilised savage acting on instinct and that we cannot control our emotions just because our favourite team lost?
We have become the laughing stock of the Pa­cific, if not the whole world.
How can we hope to change this image if our children continue to watch their parents’ reaction to this simple rugby game which at the end of the day, has one winner and one loser?
It is sad to say that the loser is not the Blues or the Maroons but us, Papua New Guineans, as we cannot change our mentality and control our emotions.
Let us leave the ples type ting ting where it belongs and enjoy this year’s State of Origin series as what it truly is – just a game.


Douglas Watai