Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


All Black and White

Neikrie’s Notes: All Black and White

I didn’t even know the Sochi Olympics had started until I saw a replay of the opening ceremony the next morning. I was channel surfing and happened to come across it.


How had this happened? My family, along with most of the United States, had been counting down the days. After all, the Olympics are the world’s greatest sporting event, an international show of prowess and skill, of culture and history. The Olympics transcends border disputes or diplomatic tiffs, all in the name of watching people compete to run faster, jump higher, or–in the case of curling–sweep better.


My mom followed the trials for figure skating, my sister watched every preliminary event for snowboarding, and I knew every skier competing. So how had the Olympics suddenly dropped off my radar? Because few New Zealanders seemed to care.


I understand that New Zealand doesn’t exactly dominate at the winter Olympics. I’m sure the summer Olympics are a greater fare. But I was still shocked when I realized how little attention was given to the games.


At first, I have to admit, I chalked this up to being a bit of a national blindspot. Down at the bottom of the map, struggling to overcome its size and geographical issues, had New Zealand just gave up and stopped watching the Olympics?


But then I attended the Rugby Sevens tournament.


Amid all the drinking and partying and ridiculous outfits, I noticed something striking about the Sevens. For one of the biggest events in the country, the stands were largely empty and the crown fairly mild. Until the All Black Sevens team came out.


They didn’t even have to step foot on the field before the crowd went crazy. They did a couple of warm-up drills, threw the ball around a little, and then walked off with their hands on each others shoulders like soldiers about to go to war. And the crowd ate it up.


Never mind their thrashing of the competition. Never mind their crushing blows or exquisite runs. The All Blacks won before they even took the field.


In the U.S, football (or American Football as it’s known here), consumes everything. It’s more of an industry than a sport. With such a short season (16 games for each team), every match is treated like the Game To Rule Them All. And between the fire and the face paint and the rabid fans, you almost believe it.


But in America, sports divide people as much as they create community. All you have to do is look up the video of Marcus Smart, the Oklahoma State basketball player who shoved a (probably racist) fan to understand the negative effect sports can have on American culture.


This is what makes the All Blacks so special. Support for the All Blacks seems to consume every other sporting event, even the Olympics. Is there another national team so universally beloved, so unanimously supported? They have the history and the culture. The name and the legacy. And oh boy do they win.


In the U.S, such consistent dominance would only make a team more divisive. Ask any Major League Baseball fan what his favourite team is, and he will tell you it’s whichever team is playing the Yankees. Ask any American football fan which team they dislike the most and they will reply, “The New England Patriots of course. I hate how smug they are. They always win.”


The winning culture and competitive nature doesn’t seem to have pervaded other sports in New Zealand. But for the All Blacks, winning is an expectation.


I look around New Zealand and am proud to see the jerseys and colors of American sports teams. But as a new resident of Wellington, I am equally proud to say that American has never had a team like the All Blacks. And it never will.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Game Review: Midsomer Murders Meets First Year Philosophy

Developed by The Chinese Room, Everybody's Gone to the Rapture sees the player exploring what appears to be a recently abandoned idyllic English village trying to figure out where everybody's gone. Spoiler: they've gone to the rapture. (On a serious note, this review contains plot spoilers.) More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Clear Science

It was really after his move to Wellington, to Victoria University, that it became apparent that Sir Paul Cllaghan was much more than an eminent physicist... More>>

ALSO:

Francis Cook: Weekend SportzMania! All Blacks! Netball!

Sports were on all weekend. I normally don’t write about sports but with Richie McCaw tipped to be the next Prime Minister, and Colin Craig arguing sports are almost as important as politics, I thought “what better time to start!” More>>

ALSO:

Beervana: Aussie Pav Beer Declared Taste Of NZ

In a surprising upset, an Australian beer modelled on the pavlova, created by Brisbane brewery Newstead Brewing, the 250 Beers blog and Scratch Bar, has been announced the winner at the Beervana craft beer festival ‘Flag Brew’ competition, which challenged media and brewing teams to capture the distinctive taste of New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Transport: Air NZ Teams Up With All Blacks For Men In Black Video

Inspired by the Columbia Pictures global film franchise Men in Black, Air New Zealand’s latest safety instalment features All Blacks’ Captain Richie McCaw and Dan Carter as Men in Black agents. More>>

ALSO:

World Champions: BRADAS Of Identity Company Take On The World And Win Gold

This is only the second time since NZ has qualified for the HHI world finals that NZ has taken home a GOLD medal in this division. REQUEST Dance Crew being the only other NZ crew to achieve this. New Zealands only other medal this year was Silver for the Royal Family in a very close final in the Megacrew division. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Contrary To Popular Belief - Lloyd Geering

Many older Dunediners like myself, and indeed older Presbyterians and others throughout the country, will remember the controversy aroused by the articles and speeches of Professor Geering, Principal of Knox College Theological Hall in the late 1960s... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news