Team Sport & Liberalism

The Grumpy Teacher

It’s a Saturday afternoon during the Six Nations, and a man’s thoughts turn to rugger.

Last term I took my under-fourteen ‘B’ team to my alma mater. They were dismally uncompetitive, and it turned out to be one of those games that no one gets much out of.

The obvious conclusion, especially for a reactionary like me, was to blame progress. The decision to admit girls has weakened the school’s results in boys’ rugby matches as much as it has improved the school’s results in public examinations.

But chatting to their coach over a cup of coffee and a biscuit (the quality of the post-match tea has declined too, I noted) another reason for their bad performance emerged. Boys are no longer told that they must play rugby; if they opt to do so, they are no longer told that they must attend training sessions. If they wish to…

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