Saturday, May 23, 2009
When men were men, and women watched
Montgomeryshire YFC Rally today, held in Llanbrynmair. I always enjoy this annual festival of competition and fun. Takes me back to my youth. Our Berriew YFC team used to practise regularly, honing our attack by attaching the rope to a vehicle with its brakes on, and honing our defence by attaching the rope to the trunk of a tree with a bit of give in it. The tug of war is a very serious competition. This photograph was of an early round. Around 500 watched the semis and final. What is new today is that the ladies take it as a serious competition as well. In my day, we men stove to impose our dominance on the other teams, while the ladies were simply required to appear demure, shout encouragement and admire our virile physicality. This appreciative audience inspired much strutting and muscle rippling. It wasn't a place for showing off your mind. Today the girls are sweating and striving alongside the blokes. Call me old fashioned but it doesn't seem quite right to me. They'll be playing rugby next. For the record, Dolfor YFC won the Men's Championship, while Llanfair Caereinion won the Ladies. I arrived in some style. An open top Four Wheel ATV happened to be leaving the car park for the Rally field when I arrived, and the two lads upfront offered me a lift. I stood up in the back, for all the world as if it was a Pope-mobile. When I asked whether my exposed position complied with health and safety, the driver said "F*** health and safety", and opened the throttle. I was tempted to perform the 'Royal Wave' but thought it would be seen as a touch ostentatious. I also enjoyed watching Emyr, drawing heavily on a fag as he commentated on the tug of war. The YFC movement is still in very good heart.