We Do Know How Lucky We Are

We Do Know How Lucky We Are

March 16, 2021

You know what, I just love being a Kiwi. Why? Because we are a little tiny nation at the end of the world and when we choose to be good at something we are good.

I remember a moment at the start of the match between the All Blacks and France at Park du Prince in 1994. I flew over in the morning from London on my own – just because I wanted to see the All Blacks play France in France – cos that ain’t easy. Paris is a great city, however I don’t speak the lingo more than “une biere, s'il vous plait”, so getting to the ground was an exciting adventure. The atmosphere inside the ground was something else, despite the language difficulties, I quickly established that the French know how to party.

Right at the start of the match a skinny little fella ran out in black in shorts and top that looked way to big for him. I realised this was Andrew Mertens, a man with a big job description “All Black First Five”. The French crowd were giving it to the whole team and I was a lone voice right in amongst it. It was going off as they say.

I have a few memories from the game. How aggressive the French were. How calm Andrew Mertens was – he didn’t do anything outrageous – he caught the ball, the passed it, he kicked it – very well. Frank Bunce walking over the offside line during a ruck and right up to the French centre to have a chat to him. Jeez, even I was scared. And Eric Rush getting the ball in space on the halfway line, right in front of us, skinning his opposite and setting sail for the try line. I mean, just how good is that? You give an All Black wing space and he scores. No fuss, no bother, that’s what he does. That’s a skill that’s in the DNA of our game. The big loud French bloke in front of me turned to me offered his hand and said “that was a good try”. Respect earned, respect given. That’s sport.

The result? we won of course, it was the All Blacks! When we are away from home, doing our OE thing, the All Blacks are a wonderful way for us to feel that our roots are back on home soil.

Louise and I watched the Americas Cup racing yesterday. Te Rehutai is a magnificent looking piece of technology. A statement in itself. In black. Built here. By us.

The guys on board are us. Like Merts years back, calm, collected, good at their job. The pressure on them, emanating from every bar and living room in the country is immense. You wouldn’t know it. They just do their job.

Yesterday’s racing, to first pass them and to then take a swim and get back up to beat them, was sport like no other. Patrick & Louise were stuck to the screen, both unable to watch with fear and cheering loudly at the screen. “They are in the drink, we’ve got a chance!”. It was something else. Heart pounding stuff.

Whatever you do. Whoever you are. When you’ve got this passport there is always a chance for greatness. And ain’t that just plain wonderful?

Keep believing New Zealand.

We do know how lucky we are.

Patrick



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