Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Jamie's Weekly Sports Thought - 7/11

June 1, 1985, when the All Blacks faced England at Lancaster Park was a watershed day in my sporting life. It was the first inkling my long-dreamt All Black fullback career might not eventuate.

Robbie Deans had caused me some consternation a couple of years earlier when he made his debut against Scotland but he was fully 39 days older than me so I always figured my time would come. But when Kieran Crowley took the park against the Poms, he was nearly two years younger. Time was passing me by!

The ageist blows have continued in more recent times. Barrack Obama is the first American president younger than me. John Key has a good chance to repeat the dose on Saturday in the Prime Ministerial stakes.

Not that you’d want the latter job. It doesn’t pay as well as being an All Black!

Buck Shelford’s new book The Man, The Story, The Truth was launched this week. I found it a little disappointing when it came to the most controversial part of his career. Here’s an extract:

In the years since, many rumours have circulated about why Wyllie agreed to sack Shelford. ‘I didn’t punch Grant Fox in a changing shed, I didn’t punch Wyllie and I didn’t have an affair with Grizz’s wife! It’s amazing the stories you hear. The only one with any semblance of truth is the Fox one. We had a “chat” after the second Scotland test. That’s it’.

I interviewed Shelford this week and tried to get him to elaborate on the “chat”. His long-winded and evasive answer would have done any politician proud. Maybe Buck’s looking to join the likes of Ben Couch, Chris Laidlaw, Tony Steel and the incomparable Grahame Thorne as a dual All Black and MP?

The Tour of Southland is a marvelous event and the cyclists are magnificent athletes. When you see them in the flesh, there’s not much to them but don’t let their lean, lithe frames fool you. Cycling is an extremely aggressive sport and the riders are just as testosterone-pumped as their counterparts in some more physically-combative sports.

From all accounts, Wednesday’s conditions were as bad as anything experienced in the 52 years of this iconic event. A couple of the stages were shortened but there’s no where to hide on a bike and the riders gutsed out the sleet, hail and snow.

What’s more they take their chances in all conditions over six grueling days in a row.

Am I the only one who finds it ironic that some of our beefiest and toughest All Blacks can’t play five tests on consecutive Saturdays with six days off in between each of them?


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