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

 

Review: The Magic Flute - Magic Moments

Max Rashbrooke: Mozart’s The Magic Flute is an extraordinary tale, blending a story of great solemnity, of elegant music and Masonic virtue overcoming hatred and discord, with elements of extreme silliness and pure fantasy. .. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: ‘Lovely Swans Of Art’

On Cillia McQueen's 'In a Slant Light': Diary-keeping forms the basis of much of this memoir – as with earlier poems – and we are led gracefully through the waves of her life as she sails through both rough and smooth waters. More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: From Here And There

Being Chinese: A New Zealander’s Story
by Helene Wong.
This is the fascinating story of Helene Wong, born in 1949 in Taihape to Chinese parents: her mother, born soon after her parents migrated here, and her father, born in China but sent to relatives in Taihape at seven to get an education in English. More>>

Chiku: Hamilton Zoo's Baby Chimpanzee Named

Hamilton Zoo has named its three-month-old baby chimpanzee after a month-long public naming competition through the popular zoo’s website. The name chosen is Chiku, a Swahili name for girls meaning "talker" or "one who chatters". More>>

Game Over: Trans-Tasman Netball League To Discontinue

Netball Australia and Netball New Zealand have confirmed that the existing ANZ Championship format will discontinue after the current 2016 season, with both organisations to form national netball leagues in their respective countries. More>>

NZSO Review: Stephen Hough Is Perfection-Plus

He took risks, and leant into the music when required. But you also felt that every moment of his playing made sense in the wider picture of the piece. Playing alongside him, the NZSO were wonderful as ever, and their guest conductor, Gustavo Gimeno, coaxed from them a slightly darker, edgier sound than I’m used to hearing. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: King Lear At Circa

In order to celebrate it's 40th birthday, it is perhaps fitting that Circa Theatre should pick a production of 'King Lear,' since it's also somewhat fortuitously Shakespeare's 400th anniversary. If some of the more cerebral poetry is lost in Michael Hurst's streamlined, full throttle production, it's more than made up for by plenty of lascivious violence designed to entertain the groundlings. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news