There has been one benefit to following Irish teams throughout my life – a tremendous ability to cope with crushing sporting disappointment as if it were a friendly neighbour knocking on the door for a cup of tea.
It was Michael Lynagh who started that association with despair, scoring a dagger of a try against Ireland in the quarter-final of the 1991 World Cup. It all seemed such a surprise – the heartbreak, the “what-ifs” – but little did I know it was the beginning of a pattern.
But what use is this resource if it cannot be shared? So it’s with great generosity that I can bring to modern Wallabies fans something to serve them well in the present – and possibly the future: a survival kit for being average.Messiahs
Anointing saviours is absolutely crucial to maintaining a cheerful disposition. Do not be led down the path of reason, it is not your friend. Pick a player or coach – it doesn’t matter which one, any will do – who has enjoyed any form of success and attach all your dreams to them. Of course, you know deep down that one man alone cannot turn the tide, but you will learn to suppress that to keep the confronting truth at bay. And when they fail it doesn’t matter. Discard them and choose another, and yell so loudly about their qualities that everyone will forget about the one who has been dispatched to the gutter.Humour
The blacker the better. Happily, Wallabies fans are already embracing this with gusto. Peek at the timelines of Twitter feeds during and after Tests and it reads like a competition to produce the best gallows humour. This is for the eventual betterment of the nation.Alcohol
This is often linked to the above, in the eyes of the consumer at least. But drowning your sorrows to sporting failure serves another purpose – it allows you to produce another excuse for unacceptable behaviour when the others are starting to wear thin. For example, if you’ve had a few too many the night before and fall asleep in a park while you’re supposed to be looking after the kids – meaning they got up to goodness knows what for three hours – it wasn’t actually your fault. “It was the Wallabies.” Flexible enough to work in a variety of scenarios, from leaving your work iPhone in the pub to brushes with the law. Remember: “It was the Wallabies.”Denial
There are many subsets in this category for those with nimble minds. “The wind conditions” (even if the stadium is enclosed), “the new balls”, “the English/All Blacks”, “Paddy O’Brien” and so forth – the creative denier is never left without something to hold on to. The best strategy is to mix-and-match, so that any accuser who cannot see that the planets were simply aligned against your side is unable to pin you down for repetition.That glorious day in the sun
It comes to all teams. Twenty years after Lynagh’s cruel try, even Ireland had their moment against the Wallabies one famous Auckland night in 2011 (never mind the subsequent loss to Wales). And when it does, it is accompanied by a rare joy that has been heightened by all the near-misses.
You see, it is not all bad being average. The Wallabies will return, and when they do you will appreciate it even more.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.