|The disconsolate look of the Scottish fan|
Scotland is equally capable of turning infrequent victory glory into disaster, however. In 1985 all Scotland needed to do was tie Wales in order to get into a play-off game that would eventually see them qualify for the World Cup the following year. When the final whistle blew on the 1-1 game, the pub erupted into ecstatic celebration and songs promising eternal glory in the cup. After a few minutes somebody shouted out, "Jock's down."
Jock Stein, the beloved coach of the national team, had suffered a heart attack and died at the stadium.
As an aside, I arrived in Germany that summer to work at a factory. My host, and later good friend, Michael, picked me up at the airport and took me to his home. Within five minutes of meeting this family, the Germany-Scotland game kicked off. After 18 minutes Scotland took the lead and I danced a rude dance and dreamed impossible dreams, irritating my German hosts. It took all of five minutes for Germany to equalize. Germany won.
|The Bravehearts of 1977.|
At last year's Rugby World Cup, my 15-year-old son Morgan received a quick and brutal initiation into the Scottish Club of Pain. The boys in blue were ahead for most of the game, until they conceded a try with a couple of minutes to go - and lost by one point. The Scots were devasted; Morgan, who was born in America, asked if it was OK if he didn't support Scotland anymore. And why, indeed, would any father wish such a thing on his son?
All this is by way of introducing the latest chapter in Scotland's long history of making something other than a rare victory the main story line. Earlier this week Scotland beat the mighty Australian rugby team, ranked number 2 in the world, on their home soil. This made me a pretty popular guy in New Zealand, where they cheer for two teams: the All Blacks and anyone who's playing Australia. Having been born in Scotland, I apparently had something to do with the result.
All pretty good stuff, right?
|The price of victory|
OK, so the video of the incident is actually pretty funny. The Aussie commentator sounds as if he's going to piddle his pants a little bit. And of course the Aussie papers used the image and had a good giggle. So they got to focus on how funny Scotland was rather than the "humiliation" of the defeat - as the headlines referred to it.
And that's how the Scots roll:, never getting to strut - even if it's just for an evening.