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2021 - like fist fighting a cow poo
Sport Review #183
Let’s wrap this up. For me, the 2021 sporting experience mainly happened at night, with the Test championship, World T20 and Premier League football taking up my headspace.
The year started with sitting on the banks watching Mitch Santner leaping in the air to win a thriller against Pakistan at the Mount, and got better.
Our bubble met India’s bubble in Southampton and it was amazing. Winning the first World Test Championship put to bed the concerns in the back of my mind that we’d not get across the line with this brilliant, brilliant team. The greatest trophy in the greatest format are fitting rewards for this group that’s given us so much over the last few years.
And the World T20 campaign was a really nice little creme brûlée on top of a fine meal.
My call for 2022 is we can drop the tales of woes about following the team through the dark times. We don’t need them any more, everyone can enjoy this.
It was all rollercoasters. England were incredible at the Euros and did unprecedented things, before rudely reverting to the precedented in the final.
Tottenham sacked a manager, hired a new one for the laugh, sacked him and now have one that is in my top two all time managers already. I’m always going to warm to an Italian yelling like he’s being buried alive on the sideline, and there are promising signs on the field already which I’m hoping will be backed up my spunking heaps of money around soon.
There’s plenty to be excited about here with a new Phoenix Women’s team and the All Whites and Ferns playing regularly after the Olympics. It’s been another interrupted season at home, but let’s hope the vaccines mean things get better next year.
The Olympics were great, rugby was largely meh. I enjoyed my Chiefs getting their mojo back. I really enjoyed the US Open, and my new hero Daniil Medvedev winning and doing a FIFA celebration. Legend.
My spirit animal was Kit in the criminally under-seen Bowfinger:
The Auckland lockdown went on so long I had to reassess my personal lens that they’re meant to be a general bacchanalia of chocolate, chips and whiskey. What was worse than staying home was the endless arguing about what we’re doing or not doing - I really recommend this article if you want to re-focus on the big picture. Deleting Facebook helped a lot, I’ve kind of forgotten it exists and it feels good.
Thanks go to the vaccine boffins and roller-out-ers. I love your work, long may it continue and can I please order a new-variant-free 2022.
I ended the year playing tennis twice a week, and loved it. I didn’t break or sprain anything, spent hours in tennis YouTube rabbit holes and trying to work out which of your backhand, volleys or serve are falling apart from week to week is a really enjoyable mental challenge.
Anyway. The family’s well, we’ve got a little break coming up and work is good. We’re lucky to be in New Zealand and I’m determined to be optimistic about things in general.
There's so much telly at the moment hey? We really enjoyed Trapped, Succession (obv), Mare of East Town, White Lotus, Yellow Jackets, Line of Duty, Undercover (watch it) and loads more I’ve forgotten.
Didn’t watch many films (I need something that’ll take up a lot of time, yinnow?) Fav movie was probably a Magnolia re-watch, even if it was very stressful, and introducing the kids to Happy GIlmour.
My reading has been shocking this year, the best was The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson, which is extremely highly recommended, as with all his books.
My best album was Robert Quine and Fred Maher’s Basic, which is excellent for getting shit done. My two most listened to songs were This Must Be The Place by Talking Heads and Fly Like An Eagle by the Steve Miller Band, finger on the pulse as usual.
I really enjoy Dylan Cleaver’s The Bounce Substack for the mix of weighty pieces and guest contributions, with about as much weekly sport analysis as I need mixed in. My fav podcast was How Long Gone and old favs Off Menu, Between Two Beers and Adam Buxton, along with new discoveries Trash Future and The Content Mines mixed in as well as well.
Thanks for reading - I love my Thursday / Friday ritual. I’ve appreciated the feedback and when you recommend it to your friends. The most popular editions were:
Power ranking: Christmas day activities (hey, that’s last week! Thanks!)
Sport Review is heading to the changing shed / carpark for a few weeks now, but will see you in January - stay safe, enjoy your holiday and bloody good on you if you’re working through.
Thanks for reading - Richard
This week's best NZ sport content
Couple of contrasting end of year wraps - Simon Day reckons this was the best year ever to be a BLACKCAPS fan, and he’s right, while Dylan Cleaver says this was the worst year ever to be an All Blacks fan. Going by my and my kids indifference to the whole thing he’s probably also right [Spinoff]
Black Sticks legend Helen Clarke and husband Glyn have both faced cancer battles, drawing on each other and their experience as athletes to face it down [Locker Room]
Best tennis shots of the year. There’s some goodies.
Pakistani ex-pats in America conceive an illicit import / export ring to get the freshest Mangos from the motherland hot off the back of a plane, all organised through What’s App [eater.com]
Bring back the gif
Getting ready to roll out the Christmas wrapper / rapper joke for the year.
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