Game hits the right note

My collection of classical music contains some breathtaking works of aural art - works that speak of the majesty of human cultural achievement.

Just this weekend I took in Bach's Brandenburg concertos, each work featuring a breathtaking range of musical textures and colours.

From there I took to Beethoven's seventh symphony, as I quietly smoked my pipe and rubbed linseed oil on my thighs and wished I could be transported back to 1813.

Alas, that was not to be.

There are not many - if any - artistic achievements in modern times, of course, which reach the height of these classical masters.

I and other elderly Dunedin commentators agree on this matter: in the past things were so much better.

The only thing that comes close to the majesty of the olden days - when art and philosophy were king - is rugby league.

Just this weekend the NRL Grand Final was played in Sydney.

It was broadcast here on Sky Sport.

I don't want to talk too much about the main game itself.

I have a deep and lasting antipathy towards the team that won - the Melbourne Storm.

I feel strongly the team that lost - the Canterbury Bulldogs - should have brought their stunningly excellent fullback Ben Barba into the game much, much more.

But the earlier game, in which the Wests Tigers under-20s gave Canberra a good spanking in the Toyota Cup, was a fine example of the genre.

There was a moment in the game that reminded me so much of the second movement of Beethoven's sixth.

Star Tigers wing Marika Koroibete took the ball and broke the defensive line, before a special 60m effort that turned into a foot race with Raiders speedster Jonathon Reuben.

It was a race Koroibete was never going to lose.

As he sailed over the line to score, and as the mighty Tigers won, my mind turned to smoky parlours where mahogany shelves heavily laden with the classical tomes of great authors became sodden and sticky with the stench of tobacco, as groups of men whose thighs were soaked and stroked with dark, dark wood stain and boiled linseed oil and calamine lotion snored languidly as daylight passed and the gloaming settled on minds both tortured and at peace.

And life itself passed gently from forms solid to forms that shimmered uncertain in the darkness, as the final whistle sounded.

It was a grand game, and it brought to the fore the efforts of sporting clubs, and other societal groups that keep young people on the straight and narrow.

Because young people nowadays know little of the joys of Bach and Beethoven.

Except league players.

Long may they run.


- Charles Loughrey.

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