About McPherson's Rant


McPherson’s Rant is an old Scots Folk Song about a Robin Hood Type Character who was hanged.

There is no connection, unless you count the “rant” part.  The world’s a strange place and sometimes a “rant” at absurdity and unfairness is just what’s required.

Here you can expect to find examples of stupidity, irony and idiocy , especially relating to Hong Kong, and with particular attention to the SCMP, and its’ letters page. A common problem with many blogs is their failure to find something new to say, I find the SCMP, and it’s letters page, provides plenty of ammunition on a daily basis and will reference them frequently. If you have your own letter not getting published, put it on our comments section.





How HK got Sevens into the Olympics

This post was actually written for the South China Morning Post’s Sevens Supplement last year.

“I remember a big South Sea Islander saying that, in his view, the Hong Kong  sevens were really the Olympic games of Rugby Union… The Hong Kong event captures all the really good things the game has to offer – splendid organization, wonderful sporting spirit, universal camaraderie, admirable field behaviour…” Bill McClaren RIP

Sevens Rugby is now an Olympic Sport, due, in no small measure to the reinvention of the game in Hong Kong.  It was only ever an end of season run about until Hong Kong came along and turned it into one giant party that echoed across the rugby world.

In 1985 I was on a train to Cardiff to see Scotland play Wales.  I was sharing beer and banter with some Welsh exiles, they were wearing Hong Kong Sevens Rugby shirts, miners hats with obligatory drinking tubes and extolling the excesses of: “The Best Tour in the World…ever…” Scotland lost but I resolved to go to Hong Kong one day.

I was at the inaugural World Cup Sevens in Edinburgh in 1993. It was cold.  It was wet, it was miserable. England won.  I thought about Hong Kong.

I finally toured here in 1995, and loved it so much I came back and made Hong Kong my home. How else could I guarantee myself a ticket each year?

Now I’m one of the Stadium announcers, it’s a far cry from a wet and windy, miserably cold Murrayfield.

I met a girl in the South Stand that first year, I met another one the year after, many people do.  It’s best to tread carefully in the initial seduction, some of those outfits are confusing, especially after a day in the sun and ten jugs of beer, but opportunity will knock.  Each year I find myself wondering just  how many kids are at the sevens today because their parents met in the South Stand, and in the frenzied heat of the moment, or the heat of a spring monsoon, decided it seemed like a good idea to perhaps hang out for a while!

How many kids have been inspired to say one day I’ll play on that hallowed turf.  How many old men, look fondly at the days when they were a player…in the South Stand…and like me, forlornly wish to be again.  Be warned Sevens virgins, Cupid drops his arrow and picks up an odd shaped ball when the South Stand fills up.  I could regale you with some fantastic Sevens stories involving Cupid and his devious ways, but Kai Tak rules still prevail in this town, even if Kai Tak doesn’t.

I love the contradiction of the Sevens, people travel from all over the world and many can barely remember what happened.  They just know they had a party.  There was a time when only stamina could see you through, drinking all night in Wanchai then heading to the Stadium at 7am to avoid the South Stand queue, not for the faint hearted.  And then around 1997 God invented Vodka Red Bull and suddenly 72 hour sessions were within reach of mere mortals.

Of course in Hong Kong it’s not only a 72 hour party, include the pre-sevens events plus recovery time and your looking at a minimum of 7 days.  This year I’ll kick off at the Manilla Tens the weekend  before, have a water break on the Monday and Tuesday and then play the full second half right through to Monday via Kowloon RFC’s Rugbyfest and the Hong Kong Football Club tens.

It’s a matter of record that the Scots played a hugely significant role in the history of Hong Kong in its Western Entrepot guise, not to mention it’s Opium dealings.  So it’s fitting that two of the three founders of the Hong Kong Sevens, were Scottish; Ian Gow and Duncan McTavish.  The Hong Kong Sevens served as the impetus for the game to emerge from the backwaters, on to the global stage and now the pinnacle of Olympic inclusion finally proves that rugby is inclusive and truly is a game for all.

Of course the vital catalyst in the evolution of Sevens was the way the community in Hong Kong, shouted: “Lets party,” and from that very first tournament in 1976, wholeheartedly embraced an event that allowed them to let their hair down or put more hair on, dress up or dress down, and consume copious quantities of beer in the hot glow of the tropical sun.

Lomo, Shuster, Gregan, Cullen and a host of others, a veritable pantheon of rugby gods, not invented here, but the Hong Kong crowds invested in their ability to entertain and roared with approval, an appreciative and inebriated adoration worthy of these giants of the game, and this roar of appreciation has finally and deservedly echoed all the way to the IOC.

So now Sevens is an Olympic Sport and we, all of us, are the only reason it’s there, without Hong Kong we would probably have to suffer the pain of watching Softball, or worse Roller Sports in 2016. So while we look forward to this weekend, give yourself a cheer and a pat on the back, it’s all down to  Hong Kong.

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