Sunday, January 22, 2012

RWC 2011 - NZ v FRANCE - 8-7

Bit late for a blot referring to the RWC isn't it!  I was looking back on old posts and saw post #2 was about the Football World Cup and how super super proud I was to be a Kiwi that it suddenly occurred to me I didn't write ONE WORD on how great it was to A Host the RWC and B to win it... just!
Yes, the world was here to play

This little pea's experience was as follows.

I didn't go to any of the games even tho I live two mins away from the North Harbour Stadium which hosted games, 20 mins away from Eden Park, which they did up specially for the world cup but we all got quite patriotic... ie, all work places decorated their offices, cars had flags or two or four in their windows supporting their teams, towns adopted a second team and supported them as well.  I'm very close to Browns Bay (the South African head quarters of NZ) so there were tons of SA flags flying.  Schools did "Black Outs" which means they all dressed in black to support the mighty All Blacks and also "Dress as your fave team" days.  So even tho I didn't physically go to any games the atmosphere was fantastic!

TV coverage was really good - almost all public channels played the games, more so when the finals came about.  My fave coverage tho has to be the Maori channel simply because of their commentators and because they broadcasted every game.

The Cup, Ritchie McCaw & our Coach finally smiling
If you weren't attending the opening ceremony and game everyone made plans on how to watch it. My family and I were very lucky to watch it with our good friends who also happen to have a perfect view of the Harbour and the Sky Tower.  We could watch the fireworks display as well as listen to the music on the TV for it.  Unfortunately Miss 11 decided it would be the first time in five years that she would feel sick and vomit! Oh my gosh!

We watched almost all of the All Black games together.  It was quite frustrating they were so late when you have kids tho.  Apparently that was because they wanted to cater for rest of the world for their timezone.

Misc highlights would be everyone getting behind Tonga... they weren't supposed to get as far as they did.  Oh the passion they displayed!  I really really really enjoyed the kids and their friends saying if the All Blacks didn't win then they support ......... country!  This is  because their schools are so multi-cultural.  My kids have many S.A friends so they were very very supportive of the S.A's.   Oh and WHO can forget Sonny Bill Williams shirt being ripped off! Oh yes! Highlight of the tournament!!!!!  Boy was I glad my opening ceremony hosts had My-Sky... pause... rewind... play... pause... rewind... replay... What else? Ummm... walking past the different teams... France being the main one.. then Oz... in Takapuna where I work.  It was a pain when there were major games at the N.H Stadium becuase the mall across the road from it was PACKED!  But oh!  The colours and flags and facepaint of everyone at the mall and just general happiness was so catching....  I like Jay Jay's top 15 players... that was very good.  I also like the Irish team giving it a bloody good go!

Oh, other best highlight was the Piri Weepu jokes after he played phenominal.  I swear he reached hero status.  Then you see the downside of us Kiwis.  We raise our heroes so high that they have a loooong way to fall when they show they are just human! Oh did I feel for him when his Grandfather died.  But boy were the Piri Weepu jokes brilliant... Keep Calm, Piri's got this!  Or the references to the Chuck Norris jokes - hilarious!!!!

There were also Fan Zones set up around the country and once they got into the second or third round they set up one at Albany Lakes which is right by the stadium and mall. That was really good.  Massive screens to watch the games on.

Things I didnt like much... well there wasn't much to not like.  I didnt like how the Kiwi-Ozzie rivalry seemed to get a bit out of hand.  There has ALWAYS been a friendly rivalry between us, it's just part of who we both are but I think the media sensationalise it. If what they say some of us Kiwi's said really happened then I'm quite ashamed but I dont know anyone who doesnt enjoy having a laff about the Australians losing.  We all know every Kiwi supports the All Blacks and anyone playing the Australian team.  I also got mad reading how hurt the Australians were - why?  Because if we lost they would be the FIRST people to rub it in!!!!  I also didnt approve of Quade Cooper's treatment.  Sure he did some dumb things and spent most of his time dropping the ball but come on... sometimes things are just not funny!  It wasn't just Kiwi's in those stadiums too people so who knows who exactly was booing him.  Not cool anyway!  This is funny tho... new Urban Dictionary entry... to stuff something up is now called "to make a quade of it"... hahahah.  Oh and of course all the All Blacks dropping like flys from their injuries; not cool.  Other dislike would have to be the transport stuff up on the opening night.  Those poor poor people who missed out.

Finally after many many weeks we reached the final game... not before almost dying watching the semi final games... oh my gosh!  Talk about heart in your throat material.  I was happy Oz didnt pull thru because I honestly thought if anyone was going to beat the All Blacks it would be them!  My family and I watched the last game in the BEST place, our local movie theatre.  Tickets went on sale way before this and they were expensive so I ruled that out.  About two nights before the final game they said that the tickets were free. Cha Ching!  Booked in just in time, the theatre was almost booked out.  When it came time to actually attend tho it was only half full.  What a fantastic experience.  On edge since the first whistle.  Wow!

Hero of the day was Stephen Donald.  So hilarious! He was what; fourth in line to kick after the might Dan Carter?  He was whitebait fishing on the banks of the Mighty Waikato River when he got the call the hall his butt up to Auckland.  Yes! If it wasn't for Stephen Donald the score would not have been 8-7 (ironically we last won the cup in '87).  Hearts breaking for Piri Weepu's performance; minds counting what we would have actually scored if we got all our conversions and tries... oh man... talk about SCREAMING at the screen!  Yes, I'll admit it I got teary when we won; when Richie McCaw and Dan Carter hobbled up to touch the cup; when I walked out of the theater and could hear the roar of happiness over at the Fan Zone.

Some of the Crowd at the Parade
Finally there was the Parade in town. Wow! 90 mins in the heat to wait to see our hero's.  I almost didnt go because my two kids decided that would be the day they would play up something chronic but I calmed down and thought hey - this is a part of history.  I didnt want to battle with parking so we went down to the local park n ride to catch a bus into town... oh my gosh... the rest of Auckland had the same idea.  That was one of the best bus rides I have ever had.  Strangers talking to strangers all saying "oh my gosh how close was it" and recalling how we were all screaming at the TV and how we simply could not believe the cup was finally ours and how damn proud we were of the win.

Now... 3 months later... it's almost forgotten; the hype has died down and we Keep Calm and Carry On!