Greetings from Vermont on a nice sunny fall Sunday afternoon! The leaves are red and the tourists are in town!
Some of you, like me, missed out on years of RL because of circumstances under our control.
I believe it gives you a different perspective than if you have watched every Lions match for the last, what is it Spelly, 30 years?
In the same way all my nephews and nieces have gone from being kids of four to parents of kids of four in the twenty years since I last saw them until my recent visit, RL has gone from what it was in 1967 to what it is today, bit by bit.
Seen through my eyes, it wasn't incremental in either case, it was a step-wise jump from then to now, but with an occasional glimpse in between.
I read on here about big overweight prop forwards who couldn't run to save their lives! Arnold Thompson, anyone? That wasn't their job. Their job was to ensure we won the ball from the scrum. And don't get me started on scrums...... an integral part of rugby of either code, in my opinion. Play the ball? Doesn't happen. Forward passes? Rife. Offside? All the time.
So I prefer RL as RL was, not as it is.
The eternal argument as to whether Gowers was a better player than Tomkins can never be resolved, so I'm not going there, whoever the discussion is about.
There's a bigger picture here.
If someone like me, gone 40 years, was parachuted into Salford Stadium, or whatever it's called, during a Sales Sharks match, would the game be a reasonably close version of what I might have seen before I left? Try the same thing with the Salford Reds. There has been one significant rule change that dramatically affected RU, the change to professionalism. Otherwise the game is more or less what it was. Does consistency breed loyalty?
Now, ask yourselves this question, which is the better supported code, better managed, better promoted? Which one's in the Olympics coming up? Which one has British Lions? Tours down under?
Like it or not, I believe overall RL is a pale shadow of its former self and on a downward spiral.
None of which stops me from shelling out my hard earned money one or twice a year to see the Lions play, but if it wasn't the Lions, I'd not be interested.