Happy belated birthday Goldie; I feel old now

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is flipped upside down after a play during the second...
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is flipped upside down after a play during the second quarter against the Sacramento Kings at Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, California, earlier this week. Photo: USA Today Sports

The man...

What makes me feel old?

The greying hair, of course. My son nearing my height. The realisation I have been a fulltime journalist — and not bribed by the Labour government, Winston, I assure you — for nearly 26 years.

And TikTok, of course. TikTok makes me feel old.

But I recently became aware of an event that really made me feel dusty.

I saw some very entertaining photos of a party that featured some of the greats of Otago sport and celebrated one of our own turning 50.

Yes, it’s true. Jeff Wilson is 50!

Goldie reaching the half-century really feels like one of those moments.

. . . with the golden boots

Jeff Wilson in action for Otago. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Jeff Wilson in action for Otago. Photo by Craig Baxter.
He is a suave(ish) fixture on our television screens now — and there are no traces of the golden locks — but, to me, Goldie is forever preserved as a pure symbol of 1990s sporting innocence and glory.

He was the schoolboy prodigy who once scored 66 points in a First XV game. He was the whip-quick, uber-skilled outside back who loved trying to create opportunities. He was our last traditional double international, who could have been a triple international had he focused on his other great sporting love, basketball. He was — still is — one half of a golden Otago sporting couple alongside former Silver Ferns captain Adine Harper.

Goldie just had the magic touch. You wanted to watch him just to see what he might do next.

If you were to animate his life, you would have a cartoon — Super Goldie? — that would enchant and inspire.

It still feels shocking that he walked away from rugby at the age of 27, having scored 44 tries in 60 tests.

Happy belated birthday, Goldie. Thanks for making me feel old.

Mr Manager

"The Last Word" sends warm congratulations to long-serving Highlanders manager Paul McLaughlan following his appointment to the All Blacks.

I don’t pretend to know "Moose" well but he has always seemed like a stand-up chap, albeit one who has taken more delight than our co-deputy prime minister in shutting down requests for interviews.

My one real Moose story involves soup.

It was at Carisbrook — google it — and the Highlanders had just finished a training session.

It was freezing (naturally) and Moose, as assistant manager then, had rustled out a big pot of steaming pumpkin soup.

One of the players, a prop from memory, kicked a ball towards the sidelines. Intentionally or not, his aim was remarkable. The ball landed in the pot, and hot pumpkin soup splashed all over Moose’s face.

I really should not have laughed. Sorry, Moose.

Double duties

While I support the back-to-back-to-back NRL champions, the mighty Penrith Panthers, my in-depth knowledge of rugby league is not particularly impressive.

Someone needs to tell me why Michael Maguire could not coach the Kiwis and New South Wales at the same time.

There are no real conflicts of interest, as far as I can see. And when you are talking about three State of Origins and three or four New Zealand tests a year, it does not sound like an uncomfortably heavy workload.

Fresh off the 30-0 demolition of the Kangaroos, the NZRL should have locked Maguire down and let him work out how to fit his New South Wales role around his international job.

Southern hospitality

Journalists cannot be bribed — sorry, Winston — but they do appreciate a couple of things.

They like dealing with teams who are accessible, welcoming and talkative.

And, while the popular misconception is that they are all rather nasty and they just love tearing strips off teams that lose, the little secret inside most sports reporters is that they prefer to cover a winning team.

My hat tip this week is for the Southern United footballers.

There was to be no fairytale ending but their efforts in the national league this year were astonishing.

They have also possibly set a high mark for Otago sports teams in terms of their interaction with the media, which was taken to another level at the weekend when they went the extra mile to look after my colleague Kayla Hodge in Auckland.

Bravo, Southern.

A terrifying thought

Indian police arrested seven students in the Jammu and Kashmir region last week under anti-terror laws, Reuters reports.

Their crime?

Celebrating Australia’s victory over India in the Cricket World Cup final.

Yep. Seven students from an agriculture university (of course) were detained after a fellow student filed a complaint accusing them of raising anti-India slogans and cheering for Pakistan along with Australia.

"The Last Word" calls on the new government to consider anti-terror laws for anyone cheering for the Crusaders.

Making moves

A brickbat and a bouquet for the National Basketball League — far and away the New Zealand competition most willing to try new things.

I am not a fan of "rapid" basketball, the four-minute-quarter clashes involving only bench players that will be held before NBL games following a debut in the Tauihi women’s league.

But that was great news about the introduction of an NBL trade window. Teams will get a three-day window in May to make some moves, as long as players are on board.

Super Rugby needs this sort of thing as soon as possible.