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  1. A wonderful story, excellently told. And besides the rugby, a reminder to us all how to be more resilient when dealing with minor adversity.
  2. Can I suggest that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy and Mindfulness can be of value, and a combination of both can be very effective. But I would really encourage you look towards professional intervention. And shame on those who reinforce your difficulties.
  3. I fully agree. And I don’t believe your view is miserable, or looking back through distorted nostalgic lenses: it’s a genuine yearning for a different spectacle from the one which exists now. Some think a better spectacle, some think worse, some simply accept the evolution. I don’t think we need to be “blamed” for this yearning. And I’m pretty sure our opinions are not doing significant harm to the sport.
  4. Other demographic analyses are also available. And are possibly more pertinent. This is not a Cambridge University debating society, it’s an internet forum for people who want to express thoughts about RL. It’s terrace talk, it’s chat around a table in a pub, or on the walk to and from the match. It covers all ages and genders and divisions. But it does contain a good proportion who care about the sport. And there does appear to be a strong and genuine concern that the game is not as good as it should be, that there are areas which could, if you are sufficiently involved, disappoint enough to cause a few miserable thoughts. These areas could include: a perceived general decline in the quality of the spectacle, the disappearance of large numbers of amateur teams and players, the lack of kids taking up the sport, a seriously diminishing national profile, a general feeling that issues are not being tackled, a polarisation of the haves and the have-nots. And it could include the continued distracting existence of teams from small ex-mining towns, or the fact that the aged fans of these small irrelevant clubs still expect to have a voice. Now that really makes some people miserable.
  5. You are very fortunate that you are thrilled by the sport: I wish I could still be. But there is obvious and increasing disquiet that the sport is no longer The Greatest Game, not what is could be, that it has become too homogeneous, a high-speed battering and wrestling competition played out by heavyweight robots, lacking the fluidity and exhilaration of skilful ball-handling and running and evasion. Again, you are lucky that this is not how you see it, but it is how may see it. A lot of people believe that it has become unattractive, even ugly at times, not something parents would want their children to be involved in, not something for youngsters to have a go at, not something to be played in parks and playgrounds and gardens. I’ll say again, arguments about league structure - essentially about who bumps along at the bottom of Super League - are a distraction. The sport needs to look at how it is played and how it is viewed.
  6. I have watched, played, taught, coached, refereed and preached rugby league for much of the last 60 years, believing it to be a sport like no other, and one I was fortunate to be attached to (by family and geography). In the last 20 years, the parts of the game closest to me have been marginalised (and often derided and scorned) because of the rise of a breakaway group - Super League - which gradually forced the sport to depart from the skilful thrilling game of handling and running and evasion, into a contest of high speed battering and wrestling, where the team with the most kilograms is the most likely to succeed. And in doing so, shed much of the enthusiasm outside of Super League, and produced an increasingly unattractive activity to which it is increasingly difficult to tempt new fans and new young players. My game has gone now, and isn’t coming back. It all seems like a good reason to be miserable. My fading involvement is of no importance. But if there are large numbers of modern fans of the modern game who are miserable, it could be time to stop fussing over the structure of the leagues, and look at the way the game is played.
  7. Rest in Peace Gary Cooper One of my great favorites as a lad, fast, skillful and exciting. He always seemed to create plenty of room to run into. One of three Garys in the Featherstone Rovers back line at one point, along with Gary Jordan and Gary Waterworth.
  8. Yes. An unfortunate addition to the interpretation of the rules which is unreliable and diminishes the game. But, as always in such discussions, only my opinion, and one, I suspect, not widely shared.
  9. Thank you for your considered response. In tactical sports, if one mode of play begins to dominate, opponents soon find approaches to counter. The acting-half-back “scoot”, though, is difficult to counter. It is generated by getting to the ground quickly and standing quickly, catching the tacklers out of position and the defensive line retreating. It can bring a lot of reward for quite a low level of skill. The counter is to delay the end of the tackle with wrestling techniques, not a particularly attractive feature of the game (for me, that is: most fans seem happy with it). Not quite what the O.P. was saying, but the “scoot” from the play-the-ball has become more significant - in my opinion - than it deserves to be. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to wonder if its impact could be lowered.
  10. As a teacher/coach of kids, I would often ban the acting-half-back from running with the ball in casual games, turning the role into one of distribution, with a play-maker at either side evaluating options. It increased the involvement of other players, increased general playability and enjoyment, and added, rather than subtracted, extra variability to the attack .The ramifications for such an approach are interesting, and worth a little consideration. Eliminating the acting-half-back “scoot”, for instance, would change the dynamics of the sport in significant ways, not all of them bad. The scorn and disdain poured, by some, on suggestions for change make me wonder if the sport has at last evolved to absolute perfection, can never be surpassed, must never need to react to changing circumstances. It doesn’t always look so to me.
  11. I need to ask: which specific mining villages are you telling us have no place in the future of the sport? Please name them: I’m sure they will have the resilience to cope with your assessment. And which particular places are the future of RL: cotton towns, chemical manufacturers, pie baking towns, towns with glass works, suburbs of ports? A list would be useful.
  12. A slightly disturbing choice of metaphor. In addition, the use of a metaphor is more likely to obfuscate than elucidate any point you are trying to make. Might help to say what you really think. Though it won’t help me: I won’t be reading it.
  13. And confirmation bias by yourself, of course. The simple fact of the matter is that Leeds and all other teams would break the rules less often if the expectation of sanctions was higher. No more "debate" with you. You appear to be one of those who needs the last word. Please indulge yourself: I promise not to reply.
  14. You are easily astonished, aren't you? Please consider that their may just occasionally be a tiny element of validity in the opinions of those with whom you disagree. Watched, played, taught, coached RL for decades. I found that coaching from the touchline had little effect: players were a little too busy to listen. I found that when refereeing, the less said, the better: in most walks of life, repeat the same comments over and over again for long enough and it becomes meaningless twaddle. Forum behaviour show that. I watched Leeds v HKR on tv last night with, for once, the sound on. The referee pestered, coached advised, instructed, announced, admonished from before the kick-off and throughout with hardly a pause for breath. It didn’t seem to enhance the flow of play, or stop Leeds with their hands on the ball at the end of the tackle, or moving off the mark when playing the ball. In fact, for all that he said, I saw little modification in behaviour throughout: perhaps he should have said more. At least HKR enhanced the flow with adventurous play and entertaining rugby.
  15. What an astoundingly ridiculous thing to say. Take it to its logical conclusion and see how much sense it makes. The sport has allowed itself to drift into sacrificing far too much in the search of a faster flowing game. If it needs doing, be brave enough to change the laws, not an individual’s interpretation of them.
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