The time has arrived when it makes sense for us Georgians to follow in the footsteps of Welsh sporting journalism and unite in a kind of popular union, like, for instance, ‘Georgia’s Rugby Fans & Writers Club’. This might sound a little tongue-in-cheek, but we have a very attractive example before us to consider: The Welsh Rugby Writers’ Association already exists out there, vigorously and effectively functioning in the country, stationed in its capital city of Cardiff, and masterfully promoting rugby culture not only in Great Britain, but worldwide too. I am utterly convinced that we have to make the same practicable move, without any delay, in this country too. After all, we are the inheritors of the longstanding Georgian Lelo tradition, which indeed deserves much more public and governmental attention than it enjoys today.
Just two days prior to the memorable Saturday of November 19, 2022, the Rugby Writers Association, headed by its very likable chairman Alex Bywater, arranged a wonderful soirée for their Georgian friends and colleagues, who had arrived the same day in Cardiff to root for the Georgian Borjgalosani (a Borjgali is a seven-pointed symbol of the sun and eternity) rugby team in the game with the Welsh ‘Dragons’ that would see the host team losing the home game to the Georgians 12 to 13.
Alex Bywater is a Cardiff-based rugby and football journalist, who intensively contributes to the whole national press. This handsome and talented young writer and journalist did his utmost to make the Welsh-Georgian club-to-club interaction a real success. The evening turned out to be a genuine celebration of love and friendship between the Georgian and the Welsh peoples. During that warm and meaningful evening, the Rugby professionals as well as their fans exchanged experience and information, including the young and astute Borjgalosani coach Levan Maisashvili, who communicated with the audience in English, using a lot of zest and humor in his talk. The event was a marvelous warm-up for all present, and it worked as an excellent introduction to the hotly anticipated match. The author of this piece has also been given a chance by Alex Bywater to present the future Lelo documentary being created by the Georgian cinematographers. A promise was made to show the film someday in Cardiff. The reaction of the attending audience was enthusiastic.
On the Georgian side, the role of the counterpart to Alex Bywater was played by Nikoloz Alavidze, the bona fide go-and-get-it-done counselor to the Georgian Rugby Union President. The two gentlemen worked so perfectly well in ensemble that all of us participants felt extremely happy and comfortable all the way through our get-together.
Now, why do things like this matter? We are talking here not just about the present and the future of rugby in Georgia, but our national chance to turn Georgia into a factual distinguished international player with a prospect to move from a lower level of the world rugby community to the highest one, which definitely makes Georgia a talked-about and reckoned-with country. Just one victory of that level, which we witnessed that delightful day in the recent Georgia-Welsh game, filled the British newspapers with the hot sporting news that there is a nation somewhere out there that is capable of overpowering one of the strongest teams in the world. This fact cannot be ignored or even taken easy. This is a life-size fact that deserves deep analysis and consideration for the future of Georgian sports. I am more than sure that the relevant thinking heads and decision-making figures in Georgia have already elevated their activity to the level of better plans and efforts, conducive to even bigger triumphs. The incentive is in place and the public support is more than enough. And international encounters like the ones described above happen to be not just a trivial drop in a bucket, but the crest of a wave that could carry the Borjgalosani bunch of Sakartvelo towards even stronger wins and daring dreams.