I know that there are more important things happening in the UK at the moment.
However recently at Twickenham, both the English and New Zeland teams along with thousands of spectators stood in silence for a minute in honour of the 100-anniversary commemorations of the end of world war one.
At the end of the minute while NewZealand the visiting team prepared to perform their haka the BBC TELEVISION MATCH COMMENTATOR alluded to how the English supporters would react to the traditional Haka.
(The haka is a type of ancient Māori war dance traditionally used on the battlefield, as well as when groups came together in peace.)
What took place was what can only be described as a display of ignorance to behold.
Some of us remember when there was some respect shown for a penalty attempt but to chant down a cultural tradition with a slave song ” Sweet Chariots” (even if described by the commentator as a spiritual song) is the high of bad manner.
Believe it or not, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot doesn’t have its origins in a pitcher of beer and a soiled rugby jersey.
Its beginnings were as a hymn written and sung by American slaves,
It’s difficult not to ask just how the familiar refrain ended up as one of the most recognisable anthems traditionally sung at ENGLISH INTERNATIONALS rugby matches.
Originally composed, it is believed, by a slave named Wallace Wallis in the 19th century, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot is regarded as a “negro spiritual”, a Christian hymn that combined spiritual belief with the hardships of daily life as a slave in the United States. As a result, the lyrics “Sweet chariot/Coming for to carry me home,” symbolise less victory over an opponent, and more the sweet release of death.
The differences between an early 20th-century recording of the song and a typical rugby match version are stark.
One is pleading and spiritual, something that wouldn’t feel out of place in a Coen Brothers film, while the other is noticeably more celebratory.
The British appropriating of the song for rugby matches appears to stem from a 1988 game between Twickenham and Ireland when a group of schoolboys from the private Douai School in Berkshire began singing the song to the black player Chris Oti after he scored a hat-trick. It is unknown whether there was any racial intent to the choice of song, but the anthem was quickly picked up by other members in the crowd.