2020 in bullet points

Sport Review #139

Annus shittus. A glovebox filled with shit. Using a mouse made from shit. Shit on bread. Five trucks filled with shit piled up on the motorway after its surface had been cleaned. With some shit. What a year it’s been.

Bearing in mind that nothing magical in and of itself will happen between 31 December 2020 and 1 January 2021, except for a hangover, a pile of empty Lindor wrappers and sand that somehow got in your jeans, everyone’s glad to see the back of this one.

Thankfully for us in Aotearoa, the sweatpants-and-Zoom-call-dream-time is over, for now. There are challenges now, and challenges ahead - how we think about big concepts like family, home, work and time have been turned upside down.

A standout moment was getting on a train to Eden Park to see the Blues play the Hurricanes in Super Rugby Aotearoa’s first weekend. There were people. And things were changing.

It’s heartening to see how our sports and sporting bodies haven taken the challenge to throw out the old ways and evolve in a hurry (it’s glaring where they haven’t). Sure, there’s work to do about making it all sustainable, but once we’ve all had the jab, I think sport will be in a better place for all this.

  • Cricket is as comforting as falling asleep to Ashley Bloomfield narrating The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. Kane scoring lots of runs, the seamers mashing up stumps. And sitting on grass banks. We’re in the midst of a golden, golden era, built on world class players, a team ethic that’s unparalleled, and wonkish planning over a number of years.

    Sure, we might not get the chance for an away series for a while, but this World Test Championship is giving fantastic context to what’s happening here at home. I’m really looking forward to a summer of enjoying this team

  • Rugby has issues. Super Rugby Aotearoa was great, but the All Blacks were like a cold bath. Giving the people what they want with the local derbies and day matches was a revelation. The feel good factor of crowds was matched by the rugby, and even though the Rona robbed us of the final weekend, it was a roaring success. But it went downhill when the All Blacks turned up. Trying to throw their weight around with the ‘home for christmas’ campaign, when a lot of people are doing it a lot tougher, and many sporting teams spending that day apart from their families, lost more public support that it won.

    The results weren’t that flash, and many are suspicious still of the Sam Cane / Ian Foster cabal, when there’s a certain coach just hanging around doing some breakdancing down in Canterbury. Yes, it’s probably a bit unfair to judge in such a tumultuous time, but if you graph the rugby feelgood factor this year, it started high and ended low. Let’s see what happens next year, and hope the Chiefs can join the party and all

  • Football is wild. The Premier League is the same but different, especially the bit where Tottenham were top of the league. I still can’t decide if I like Jose Mourinho or not but I’m enjoying finding out

  • Yachts are cool. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but after seeing the fast boats flying around over where the Waiheke ferry normally goes, all those punter boats on the water and a packed viaduct, I’m pretty amped for the America’s Cup. I’ve no idea if it’ll be a walkover or if we’re in trouble, but it’s going to be fun and exciting either way

Sport Review will take a sabbatical between now and sometime in January.

Thanks for reading through the year, especially the bits where there was no sport, I really appreciate it. I hope things are healthy and well with you, your family and your work and wish you all the best for next year.

Thanks for reading - Richard

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Want to come up to speed with the America’s Cup in a hurry? Suzanne McFadden’s cheat sheet is the best place to start [Newsroom]

One series into the summer, and Andrew Alderson is already talking best Test era ever - he’s got a point, you know [NZ Herald]

Meanwhile - Ian Anderson looks at the worst-ever cricketing tourists [Stuff]

If you’ve ever tried to explain cricket, you’ll appreciate what Sportsfreak took on at the Basin [Sportsfreak]

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Video nasty

Why not relax these holidays with The Cones Of Dunshire? Bonus link - watch this one next.

Long read

The Egg Men - what it takes to be a short-order cook in Las Vegas. Spoiler alert - you don’t have what it takes [New Yorker]

Recommendation

You’re Wrong About podcast is a treasure trove of history and current affairs, broken down, given context and debunked in a throughly entertaining fashion. If you’re got long drives coming up, this is highly recommended.

Selected weekend fixtures 

  • The first T20 for the BLACKCAPS and Pakistan is free to air on TV1 this evening from 6.50pm, get in there

Bring back the gif 

When 2020 will soon be over.

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