The drop goal in rugby football is a beautiful feature of the game: the player, usually from a distance of twenty to forty metres, eyes the space between the posts, stops running, drops the ball to the ground and just after it bounces, he kicks it, trying to send it between the posts. Some men are experts at it, others sometimes succeed, some can't do it at all.
Probably the most famous drop goal which won England the match against Australia in the World Cup a couple of years back and, indeed, won them the World Cup, was that executed by Jonny Wilkinson. From about thirty metres he drop-kicked the ball between the posts and the match ended soon after with a win for England. It was one of those never-to-be-forgotten moments, shown over and over on TV.
I heard a story about Wilfred Wooller who played rugby for Cardiff and Wales before WW2. As he was going on the field a supporter said to him: "Do you know that you have never dropped a goal?" Wooller said: "You're right." Then he said: "If I do one this game, will you give me your umbrella?" "Of course," replied the man. Well, in the course of the game Wooller had the ball and was hareing for the score line when he suddenly remembered the drop goal and the umbrella, so he stopped and dropped a goal instead of scoring a try (which to his captain must have seemed crazy, the try with conversion scoring higher than the drop goal); he then ran to the touch line and grabbed the umbrella off the man. "Thank you," he said. "You're welcome," the man said.
When the outside half playing for South Africa in a World Cup match years ago dropped five goals (four maybe?) to win the game and put England out of the tournament, he said, after the game, "The Lord was on my side."
I used to meet a man on a bus stop every Friday evening on our way into Cardiff. I told him what the South African had said and added: "I didn't know God was a drop-goal specialist."
He didn't smile even. He was an ardent church goer I found out later.
I must learn to be more tactful.