I’m growing a mo for Movember… It’s all about raising money for awareness of men’s health. Being as hairy as I am, it took only a week before a clearly defined dead rat lay resting under my nose. And there are those less fortunate than myself who are completely bald, or indeed, they have the unfortunate problem of hair migration (whereby hair shrivels back into the scape only to reemerge from the nose and ears to make it’s way down to the back).
Please… if you know someone growing a mo, or know someone with one of those male health problems we don’t talk about, please donate a portion of your hard earned stipend to the Movember cause.
If you are feeling particularly generous, you might like to donate directly to my mo… As you can see from the featured jpeg, it is a fanciful thing, complete with shaving mishap spot on the right-hand side of the mouth. Lovely.
Please go to http://www.movember.com/nz/donate, enter my registration number which is 72170 and your credit card details. Or, if you are one of those old-fashioned types still stuck back in the 80s wearing your ‘relax’ t-shirt and singing Do They Know it’s Christmas, you can sponsor me by cheque made payable to the “Prostate Cancer Foundation of New Zealand” clearly marking the donation as being for my Registration Number: 72170.
Please mail cheques to: Movember, PO Box 87 150, Meadowbank 1742, Auckland. All donations over $5 are tax deductibe
Thank you all
PS: I will update the below pictograph on Nov 31…
PPS: I had another look at the photo recently and realised it was far too large. You can see all sorts of blemishes and nose bandits. I have reduced it to save any further embarrassment (Boon – Dec 15)
Greetings and hello-type salutations to you all.
There is a definite theme running through the nicknames of the various sporting teams that represent this great land on the international sporting stage. There is a desperate need in most sporting bodies to try and cash in on the All Blacks cow. The thinking is: if the team’s name sounds something like the All Blacks, people will watch.
It all began many years ago… New Zealand, through some kind of international sporting fluke, qualified to play in their one and only football world cup – Spain, 1982. New Zealand had played qualifying matches not in the usual national colours of black with white bits, but in an all white strip. Most of their matches were played in extreme heat against Pacific Island nations and Asian nations. I believe they may have also played a match against Israel, who were not as welcome in their neck of the woods as you might think. They ended up playing in the Asian league. A bizarre choice made by FIFA – there are plenty of Muslim nations in southern and eastern Asia…
Anyway, the white strip with black numbers, and the fact that a national side was winning quite a few matches, led to a bit of support being thrust their way and lo and behold, a nickname was born… The All Whites – a nice and simple play on the All Blacks. It was a wonderful world cup for the All Whites. 2 goals for, 12 against. The two we did score put Scotland out of the cup.
The national netball side, the Silver Ferns, need to be mentioned here. Not because they play a minority sport – far from it. More people play netball in New Zealand than rugby – mind you, it has a long way to catch up to gardening as the top leisure activity. They have been called the Silver Ferns for a long time, and their nickname has been cut up and thrust into the melting pot also.
At some point in the late 1980s or the early 1990s the serious money started to flow into New Zealand sports. Some of the country’s largest companies began throwing all sorts of riches around – figures in the hundreds of dollars were regularly mentioned. Of course, once the money starts flowing then the bean counters start counting. Returns on investments have to be made. Profiles have to be increased. The public have to be able to identify with the players and the team as blokes or blokesses who could be their neighbour or dairy owner or taxi driver. Someone to cherish and support. Once this thinking began, then what started out as a slow trickle of crappy nicknames turned into a nomenclature tsunami.
So now we have the Tall Blacks (men’s basketball), the Tall Ferns (women’s basketball), the Black Ferns (women’s rugby), the Black Caps (men’s cricket), the White Ferns (women’s cricket), the Football Ferns (women’s soccer), the All Whites (men’s soccer), the Wheel Blacks (wheelchair rugby), the Black Socks (men’s softball), the Ironblacks (men’s gridiron – American football), the Ice Blacks (men’s ice hockey) and the Ice Fernz (women’s ice hockey). I didn’t realise there were people in this country that played those last three sports. The rule seems to be: men’s teams have to contain black, womens need to have ferns in there somewhere.
The winner of the stupidest use of Black or Fern in their name has to go to the New Zealand men’s badminton team. Their national body decided on rebranding the team one year recently and started releasing press statements which talked about the strong performance of the Black Cocks. After the laughter had died down they decided against this most turgid of monikers. And quite rightly. I shudder to imagine what the women’s team would have been called… (comments readily accepted thank you).
I know I’ve been talking sport a lot recently… I promise to include other thinks in this column in the coming weeks…
And so the torture begins again…
We now live in an marvelous age when the rugby season merges into the cricket season. They can play cricket on Eden Park the same week of a Super 14 match (the Super 14 is like a rugby version of the English premiership football championship, but without the hooligans or flamboyant, one-name, showponies who drop to the grass at the thought an opposing player may brush their shin lightly with a wayward ankle).
To all our Northern Hemisphere counterparts who perhaps think cricket is a small chirpy insect with a tendency to bounce tall bushes in a single hop, I am talking about the game. I say it’s a game because you can’t really call cricket a sport because when one is “playing”, one tends to spend most of one’s time waiting around for something to happen. Like a wicket, a run, or that most cricketing of intervals – the tea break. Indeed, they stop the game to have afternoon tea. Good plan that. So knackered after an afternoon standing around waiting for nothing to happen. Better have a sit down and a cuppa.
The same can be said for watching the game – although even more so. You can wait and wait and wait and wait and wait. Then you bend down to pick a toenail or scratch yourself and the moment is gone. Thankfully if you are watching the game you have the benefit of an action replay to help you come to grips with what you missed. If you are playing and you miss something, you might have to wait for a match report, or wipe the blood from your shattered nose.
For a gentle game such as cricket, there are an awful number of ways one can be severely injured. Being hit in the conkers is one (either by a ball, or someone wafting a bat). Smashed in the face by a ball even. I heard that an Indian player tripped over whilst running and was impaled on an upturned stump. Thankfully, however, most of the time cricket is a walk in the park – or rather, a stand in the park. Thanks to long periods of inactivity back when I was playing, my nose was consistently free of any mucusy build-up whatsoever.
Unlike the New Zealand rugby team (a featured extra during my last column) who are consistently winners (except at those important occasions when it counts), the New Zealand cricket team are inconsistent winners – some might dub them perennial losers. There was a brief moment of glory in the early to mid-1980s when the likes of Sir Richard “Paddles” Hadlee, Lance “Master Blaster” Cairns and Geoffrey “Gin” Howarth were the mainstay of our team. I remember several of my teen summers spent on the couch watching as we thrashed the likes of Sri Lanka who were then dubbed ‘minnows’ – today’s Scotland. The New Zealand team would turn up with all these fantastic players and beat all sorts of great teams, including Australia, who were the laughing stock of the cricketing world. Greg Matthews and David Hooks were no match for our thundery might. Hadlee would thunder into bowl off 6 paces at the start of the game. The crowd would be banging their cast-iron Double Brown cans together and chanting, and every so often there would be a wicket off the first ball. Fantastiko!!
Those were the halceon years of New Zealand cricket. Years when you could spend days in front of the box waiting for that split-second moment of excitement. Back in the day when the unbiased commentary of Dunedin in-pat Billy (coach of Geoff Howarth) Ibudulla rang true from the booth. Picture Geoff Howarth walking out to bat in one test; “Oh I think that Geoff Howarth is looking very good,” Geoff Howarth continues to stroll amongst the sunshine of the day looking slightly bemused possibly due to the Seagar’s – but, according to the strict libel laws of this country, perhaps not. “I predict,” continues Billy, “that Geoff Howarth will be in for a big, big score today.” Geoff Howarth hits the crease, ready to face the first delivery, “I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes out today there and knocks up a ton.” Geoff Howarth eventually out for a skillfully and masterfully acquired 3. The commentary arse-lick session was made all the more hilarious by Mr. Ibudulla’s thick Otago accent.
As I watch the New Zealand cricket team at this time of my life the buzz has gone. No longer are we called New Zealand, or the Kiwis. We are now known as the Black C(r)aps. A team full of great names? When you look at the Fultons, the Marshalls and the Cummings of this world, as you watch them on the pitch giving it their all for the country, you can’t help thinking to yourself, “you know…. I would rather have my john thomas and jatz crackers pinched in an unfortunate bicycling accident than watch this abortion.” I remember when I first heard the term underwhelming – it was used to describe the Black Caps. Those good old Black Caps – useless ’til the bitter end.
We’ll see at the end of the summer how things go. I’m picking shite. But at least we’re playing Bangladesh this year… and England. So there might be the odd win peppered in amongst the failures.
Bring on the rugby season.
PS: having said all that they’re not doing too badly against the Saffies overnight…
In addition to my previous PS, the mighty Black Craps have capitulated to a record loss in South Africa. What a bunch of losers.