Thursday, 11 March 2010

Some random sport thoughts:

* The new permanent roof on the Dunedin Stadium will be 37 metres above the playing surface at its peak in the middle. I wonder if that’s high enough to stop a Dan Carter bomb from hitting it? I think of the likes of former Southland fullback Jeff Gardiner, who had a towering punt, and wonder whether 37 metres would be enough to keep him at bay?

Some bright boffin has concluded the maximum height of an up-and-under to be “around 29 metres”. On the touchlines of the new stadium the clearance is reportedly only 30 metres. So will we see teams using the deflected bomb off the roof as an attacking ploy down the flanks? Regardless, I’m sure the new stadium will provide countless hours of fun at practice as the best kickers in Otago, the Highlanders and the All Blacks take on the challenge to hit the roof! My money’s on the ultra-competitive Jimmy Cowan to be first to try!

* A debate has broken out on Radio Sport as to whether competitive show shearing is a sport? That doyen of New Zealand sports broadcasting Keith Quinn, who was a guest of honour at last weekend’s Golden Shears in Masterton, concluded that indeed it is. Brendan Telfer, sitting in his studio overlooking the Waitamata harbour, argued otherwise, saying it’s no more a sport than milking cows.

So some meaningless rich-boys’ Louis Vuitton yacht race is a sport, while hard-working shearers whose athletic endeavour is the equivalent of running two consecutive marathons, don’t cut the mustard? Show shearing requires pace, skill, great fitness and coordination and is a pure man versus man competition. It’s a no-brainer Brendan!

* Sport and sportsmen have changed. And not for the better! Compare Aussie cricketer Michael Clarke’s dubious dash home to his beautiful but brazen fiancée Lara Bingle with the actions of kiwi cricketer Bob Blair more than half a century ago in South Africa. Blair’s fiancée, Nerissa Love, was killed in the 1953 Tangiwai rail disaster on Christmas Eve. On Boxing Day, because his country needed him, Blair bravely went out to bat. For his part, Clarke ran out, without facing a ball.

* Continuing the bravery theme, news of the courage of Kiwi soldier James McKie in Afghanistan got me thinking about what I’d do, put in his position. Was it an act of heroics or was it an obvious act of self-preservation? I’m no hero, to the contrary, I rather cruelly garnered a reputation for a lack of bravery under the high ball when I played rugby. But I think if some mad Afghani threw a hand grenade at me, and it didn’t immediately blow-up, my instinctive reaction would be to throw it back before it exploded. What have you got to lose? You certainly wouldn’t want to die wondering.


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