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And the award goes to…

If sports awards were decided by Flappy Bird

If sports awards were decided by Flappy Bird

Here we go again, I don’t know if I can take another one of these so-called ‘debates’ where unlike most real debates, logic is nowhere to be found. Having to listen to New Zealand sports pundits find new ways to run down the achievements of our footballers really wears me down to the point where I struggle to find the tolerance to even read the sports section of the paper while it’s going on.

Last time it happened was when the All Whites went through the 2010 FIFA World Cup unbeaten.

It was only the biggest sporting event in the world bar none featuring a pathetic little minority sport played by a piffling wee 250 million people. The number 1 sport in a mere 200 countries… Our team only drew with Italy (I’m almost over it), Slovakia and Paraguay, and finished the group stage ahead of the reigning World Champions. So it was no surprise that when they got nominated for a Halberg Award, of course most New Zealanders thought they should be overlooked in favour of the All Blacks – winners of a four team tournament in a sport that’s the national game of arguably one country – us (football is far more popular than ‘kick and clap’ with the majority of South Africans).

We like to chuckle about the USA and its ‘World Series’ of baseball but would they give any sort of sporting excellence award to their national baseball team if it won a world cup? I doubt it. Yet that’s pretty much exactly what we do routinely. The argument goes that winning something, anything, is better than punching way, way, waaaaaaaaaaaaay above your weight. Seriously, what kind of nonsense is that?

It’s like me saying I’m a great sportsman because I can clock Perry the Platypus on my iPhone.

Is it not stating the blindingly obvious to say that it’s a much greater sporting achievement to perform a miracle by upsetting some of the best in the world in your chosen field, and finishing higher than anyone ever dared dream you could, than to win a trophy that everyone expected you to win?

Football is the national game of the planet Earth. End of. It’s the game that the overwhelming majority of people in this world care about more than any other. When you do well in football, you are beating the world. When you do well in almost any other sport, all you can really say you have achieved by comparison is the status of a big fish in a very shallow puddle.

Yes, you’re damn right I’m bitter.

Auckland City FC are finalists in the 52nd Halberg Awards, having won the bronze medal at the FIFA Club World Cup. They shocked the world by defeating the hosts, the champions of Africa, the champions of Asia, and the champions of North and Central America not to mention taking the champions of South America into extra time. Will that be enough to overcome a team such as our national rugby league side who won a trophy in a sport that’s the national game of pretty much nobody and is only taken remotely seriously by three countries?

Let’s hope that sanity prevails.

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

3 replies

  1. totally agree with you Enzo, such is the place of ‘minority’ or womens’ sport in NZ! only need to look at the likes of softball who have either won or been runner-up in the last 6 (approx) world championships over the last 25 odd years and they do it all on the smell of an oily rag. all of the players have jobs and until recently had to fund-raise or spend their own money for their share of the costs in attending said world championships. dont get me started on the comparison between netball and rugby!

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