Sunday, 7 February 2010

This belated column was originally going to be a colour piece on the New Zealand Masters Games in Dunedin.

Tragically though, a dodgy knee put paid to my half marathon and indoor rowing aspirations, leaving only the less onerous events of golf and wine options (tasting) on my sporting itinerary.

Again, tragically, a morning tee off for my age group coupled with a desire not to add the burgeoning 7.3% unemployment figure, instead necessitated my entry in the afternoon competition with the 60-70 year olds (as a non-competitor). All of which rendered me ineligible for a medal, had my golfing prowess not already done so.

All was not lost, though, because I still I had wine options at 6-30pm to garner my gold! I can tell a red from a white, a chardy from a sav, as good as the next bloke, so I was in with a show until age again conspired against me. But this time it was in the form of the golfing group in front of us who moved at a pace more akin to 80-90 year olds than sprightly seniors 20 years more junior.

A very late finish, after more than five hours battering from the wind, the sun and the bone-dry Chisholm Park golf course, meant wine options at the Alhambra-Union rugby club on the other side of town was now no longer an option. That meant beer options in the golf clubhouse. Then it was home to watch the Halberg Awards on telly.

Always a source of controversy, for the presentation if not always the result, the Halbergs again didn’t disappoint in that regard. There were some nice touches. The show finale, a rap song mimicked by some of our leading sports stars including Valerie Vili, Mahe Drysdale, David Tua and Laura Langman, was very clever. And having Sir Murray Halberg, resplendent in all his bling, topped it off brilliantly.

Not so flash were some of performers who paid musical tributes to their respective decades. Ray Columbus is living proof growing old is not for sissies. His “Till We Kissed” rendition needed the kiss of life. Dave McCartney, from that great 70s band Hello Sailor, wasn’t much better.

Master of Ceremony Stephen McIvor is an acquired taste. I know it’s a Sky TV gig but it’s a shame we can’t have a real professional such as Peter Williams fronting our most prestigious sporting celebration.

I think Andrew Mulligan (Crowd Goes Wild) is a genuine talent but even he let the side down with some inane questioning. “How are you?” is a dumb opening question and asking Susan Devoy if she could’ve beaten Jahinghar Khan got the bollocking reply it deserved from the Dame.On a positive note, I’m glad the Evers-Swindell twins won the sports champion of the decade award. As athletes, they could well be inferior to Vili, Drysdale, Rob Waddell or Sarah Ulmer but you can’t argue against two successive Olympic gold medals. And the Halberg judges wisely didn’t.


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