This is not to say that the Incomprehensible One fits in with the legendary fiction that all Caledonians are tighter than the taxman, far from it. In everyday dealings with the rest of the usual gathering he is more generous than most.
But the outlay does amount to a serious leap of faith for a man who freely admits that while he enjoys the spectacle of a “roogba” match, he has little real comprehension of the rules governing the game and is far more comfortable with “fitba” and ‘’tha goff” he grew up with. A personal road far less travelled.
The chief architect of the Incomprehensible One’s paradigm shift in allegiance is the Demented Irish Miner, who had dragged his Scots mate – if not exactly kicking and screaming, at least a touch apprehensive – to watch the Lions play at their Doornfontein headquarters.
One bite and the Incomprehensible One was well and truly hooked and while his support for the Lions has not reached the manic proportions displayed by the Demented Miner – who has large decals dedicated to his team on either side of his muscle bakkie – the Scot has transmogrified into a Lions supporter.
It is a somewhat unfortunate corollary of this that he tends to take the outpourings of the Demented Miner as having more weight than perhaps they should be given. “Did you see,” enthused the Demented Miner in his normal rhetorical style, “how the Lions took the Kings apart in Port Elizabeth? Seven tries. Amazing.”
A look of some bemusement briefly clouded the Incomprehensible One’s brow. “Aye,” he said. “But are tha Kins no tha sayd evawun lathers?” It was the turn of the Demented Miner to look puzzled. “Perhaps there’s something in that,” said the Miner, the scars still raw from the Eastern Cape franchise having usurped his side’s Super Rugby slot in the 2013 season.
“But don’t forget, the Lions beat the Sharks in Durban and then came out top against the Stormers the following week. “They have to be the best side in South Africa right now.” The Incomprehensible One, not wanting to get involved in the semantics of a sport he does not fully understand and a match system almost as difficult to decipher as some of the twists in his own dialect, merely shrugged and added another “Aye” to what had become one-way verbal traffic.
“The Lions are going to win the Super Rugby title,” proclaimed the Demented Miner, seemingly forgetting the fact that to do this, his side would very likely have to beat three New Zealand franchises in play-off games en route to the title.
The Incomprehensible One, again ducking the possibility of offending his rugby mentor – or a man he frequently cycles with – over something as inconsequential as a win-lose ratio, took the path of least resistance. “Aye,” he said with a sage nod of the head. “Aye.”