San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum waves as he rides through confetti during a victory parade for the World Series champions in San Francisco. Photo by Reuters.
There is nothing worse in sport, if you really think about
it, than boredom.
Scandal, poor sportsmanship, a dearth of talent, excessive
violence, spoiled athletes, intractable administrators -
these can all have grievous effects on a given code.
But, really, no tool is as powerful as boredom for sucking
the life out of a sport, for halting a sport's momentum, for
shrinking a sport's support base.
I'm not saying the All Blacks will lose fans, or yet another
northern tour (yawn) will provide nothing but dreariness for
I'm saying that was the most boring All Black squad in the
professional era named by Steve Hansen on Monday.
I thought it was part of the New Zealand Rugby Union
constitution that every All Black squad had to include a
bolter, a shock, something strange, something weird.
Yet there goes Shag, unveiling a squad about as exciting as
an episode of Midsomer Murders.
Same old faces - some getting very old, by the way - and just
two new caps, both of whom effectively picked themselves.
Hansen and the All Blacks deserve huge credit for their
efforts in 2012, and I fully expect them to sweep all
northern foes aside.
But wasn't this the ideal opportunity to blood six to seven
To shake things up just a little bit?
• ... might have been nice
These are the players I would have preferred to see on this
Andy Ellis (not Piri Weepu): Boom, I've immediately
contradicted myself. As usual. It has been years since Ellis
was a fresh face. But he's in form, and Piri's World Cup
heroics seem a looooong time ago. Thought this one was a
Steven Luatua or Jordan Taufua (not Adam Thomson): No, I
haven't relinquished my membership of the Thommo Fan Club.
Founding members signed up for life. It's just that our
favourite Highlander will soon leave these shores. And he's
not a first-choice All Black.
The real bolter could have been picked in his position.
Any lock (not Ali Williams).
Maybe James Broadhurst, or fellow Taranaki man Craig Clarke.
Maybe this young Dominic Bird fellow from Canterbury. Heck,
maybe underrated Otago second-rower Rob Verbakel. Just not
He's not there on merit.
Hika Elliott (not Keven Mealamu): Mealamu gets a break, and
another contender gets an opportunity ahead of an eventual
Mealamu-Hore double retirement.
Jeffrey Toomaga-Allen (not Ben Franks): The Wellington prop
is a big lad, and Franks senior has had plenty of
opportunities without really demanding selection.
Tom Taylor (not Dan Carter): No, seriously. Carter needs
regular breaks between now and the next World Cup, and this
could have been a good place to start. Taylor's got the
• In all honesty
You have to be careful about giving too much endorsement to
sportspeople who, for want of a better word, slag off
officials from a public platform.
Sport needs a certain level of freedom of speech, interesting
characters and raw emotion, but constant querying of snap
decisions made by officials without the benefit of
slow-motion replays gets a little tiresome.
Er, in saying that, what a BRILLIANT post-game interview from
Phoenix captain Andrew Durante following his side's loss to
Diving = cheating. And the aptly named Jeronimo was guilty of
one of the worst dives I've seen.
That Jeronimo has escaped punishment, and Phoenix defender
Ben Sigmund has copped a suspension for nothing, only
encourages the cheats to keep diving.
• Hoop dreams
Ah, NBA season is upon us. And a full season at that. No
pesky lockout this season.
You might recall our feature almost a year ago in which we
suggested how to find a team to support.
No need to regurgitate those guidelines. Just put the house
on the Miami Heat defending its championship, the retooled
Lakers taking advantage of the Thunder's decision to offload
James Harden to reach the finals, the Bulls being dangerous
if Derrick Rose makes a complete recovery (and virtually
irrelevant if he doesn't), the Celtics going as far as Rajon
Rondo takes them, the Spurs with Tony Parker ditto, the
Pacers/Nets/Cavaliers being potentially interesting, the
Magic/Bobcats/Nuggets/Blazers/Kings being hopeless, Anthony
"Unibrow" Davis being rookie of the year, and my beloved New
York Knicks, um, ah, doing SOMETHING interesting.
• Queen V visit
New Zealand sporting royalty is in Dunedin next week.
Double Olympic gold medallist Valerie Adams - New Zealand's
favourite woman? - is here promoting her new book.
She will be at Whitcoulls George St (11am-11.15am), The
Warehouse South Dunedin (11.30am-11.45am) and The Warehouse
Mosgiel (12.30pm-12.45pm) on Wednesday. Go say gidday and get
her book signed.
• Caring canoeist
The Brighton Surf Life Saving Club folks raising money for a
new club rooms and community facility advise they have found
another (figuratively) big supporter.
Olympic kayak champion Lisa Carrington, no stranger to
life-saving, has donated a signed Olympic shirt to the cause.
It will be auctioned soon.
• You betcha
Nine little league football coaches have been arrested on
charges of bookmaking, ESPN reports.
The coaches allegedly ran a gambling ring involving youth
football teams of, get this, 5 to 15-year-olds.
As much as $100,000 was bet on the season's final games.
• Birthday of the week
Adolf Dassler would have been 112 today.
Stumped? His nickname was Adi. Adi Dassler. Adidas.
Adolf and brother Rudolph started cranking out footwear after
World War 1, and shod Jesse Owens when he won four Olympic
medals in Berlin.
The German brothers joined a party run by some other Adolf -
Rudolph was apparently the more fervent Hitlerite - but
parted ways after World War 2.
Adolf created Adidas, Rudolph created Puma.