On Friday the rugby romantic in me was awakened after a long slumber, only to be given a strong sedative a couple of hours later.
The necessary evil which is professionalism has all but killed the romance associate with the game of union. The days when blood was spilled on the field only to be washed away with a couple of beers with the transgressors afterwards, is all but a memory.
The days when a team was a brotherhood, and friends were made that would last a lifetime, a rarity.
And the days when the jersey meant more than the paycheque you would receive at the end of the month, lost forever.
It is not often that we get reminded about these kind of days in rugby, but Friday night’s Vodacom Cup semi-final was one of these occasions.
The Pampas XV from Argentina hosted the Sharks XV in their South African adopted home of Potchefstroom in what was for a Vodacom Cup match, a thrilling encounter.
Many forget that these men are the second string outfit from Argentina, a country in which rugby is still very much an amateur sport. With their top boys earning top dollar in Europe, the team that we see in the Vodacom Cup is at best a collection the best club rugby players whom I would bet my house on, all still have day-time jobs back home.
Not only have they progressed to the final of the Vodacom Cup, a professional competition in South Africa, they have not lost a game in the process.
The passion and pride you see in these guys are obvious every time they score a try and after every game they win, and although it might sound unpatriotic, I for one wish that their fairytale season has a happy ending when they play the Blue Bulls in the final.
After they demolished the Sharks XV, I sat wondering how tough this must be for them? They sit for months in a country thousands of kilometres from home, most of whom are possibly on tour for the first time let alone first time visitors to South Africa, playing against professional teams and professional players who compared to what they would be used to, have the best structures and coaching available to them not forgetting earning top dollar for their efforts.
This was amplified when not even an hour later, I sat through one of the most shocking displays of Super rugby I have witnessed in a long time.
As much as the Cheetahs have turned their season around and gave their fans something to feel proud about, the depth of chaos the Lions have fallen to is shocking.
For weeks now I had to listen to comments about the Lions where the lack of quality players are continually highlighted as the biggest reason for their continued failure. What utter rubbish.
There is a case to be made when you are outclassed by a better team on the pitch, and the Lions might not even have a handful of Springboks in their ranks, but a quick glance at the team shows me they have enough seasoned professional players with a number of Currie Cup and Super rugby seasons behind them to give a far better account of themselves than the rubbish they dish up for their fans at the moment.
It is not a case of losing, but how you lose or how you continue to lose because of the same reasons week in and week out.
Millions have been invested into the union, top coaches appointed, and still nothing has changed.
What we do see is a lot of finger-pointing and excuses, and I can just imagine the chaos that must exist in team and management meetings at this union.
Money has changed a lot of things in rugby, but one thing that will never change is having pride in what you do, and the team you play for.
There is nothing wrong with losing to a better team, but giving up, and losing respect and pride for the jersey you are wearing and what and who that represents, is unforgiveable.
The rugby romantic in me might have joined Rip van Winkle again for a long slumber, but at least the Pampas have shown there will always be some things money can never buy.