Sunday, 22 February 2009

Home again.

Back in Nu Zild, escaping the Credit Crunch for now ... maybe if things get worse we can just get Ben to “move the island”?

But due to relocation costs back from the UK, a Sky subscription is a long way off for my house so I have been unwillingly weened off telly sports; no Premiership (ironic considering I can see more live games here in NZ), no re-fed Channel 9 cricket (I’m loving Radio Sport’s ABC feed though), and no Super 12 ... sorry, old habits ... Super 14 en mi casa either. How do I cope? Easy. I am one of the handful of chumps to renew their Cake Tin season passes again.

I kept these cursed things the whole time I was in the UK. Through a mix of friends using them and reimbursing me, and then giving other games or entire seasons out to family, I have retained a spiritual presence in Aisle 14, but going for the first two rounds this year I am questioning it. I believe the initial season pass sales broke the 15,000 barrier in the early Noughties; this year it has fallen to about seven thousand? Pathetic.

We used to have ‘buddies’ sitting next to us in the near capacity crowds back in 2001-2003 ... the same punters who turned up every week to watch the Canes, and to put up with relentless barricking from my Waikato mate when we played the Chiefs or the pure Mooloo Bell Ringing Lunatics in the NPC. Now they are gone and I am surrounded by a sea of empty yellow plastic, and the vista across the stadium is no better. Plus some Random Fat Bloke (RFB) has taken a liking to my seat the last two weeks and I reckon he may be some sort of porky jinx - not a problem when there is no shortage of seats, but its the priniciple. Bleedin’ liberties.

Hurricanes? Well, its like watching an episode of The Office or Curb Your Enthusiasm these days - I do it with hands raised to my face, occasionally fanning my fingers apart and peering sheepishly through gaps. The Warratahs game was, frankly, cack and last Friday night just as bad except for the fact they somehow won it in the 35th minute or something. Nuts. How the hell all these pundits were putting the Hurricanes down as favourites for 2009 is beyond me. There is no on field leadership there, and against the Highlanders they looked rudderless for long periods again. Crusaders next week - Ouch. If they make the playoffs, hell will be a very cool place ... and Vietch will be fronting an ad campaign for Womens Refuge; he could take his mate Deaker door to door.

I am honest enough to be clear on one thing though: I am keeping my season passes through to any clear entitlement that gets me 2011 World Cup tickets. That’s really why I will keep turning up .. I mean, I love going, but this year there is no benefit to having a season ticket. You can turn up 15 mins before kick-off and sit anywhere you please. Its all very well for Wellington Rugby to say they look at providing value for their loyal season ticket holders, and that they look to survey those members every year, but I have NEVER been asked my opinion or offered any sort of special deals or upgrades despite forking out thousands of dollars (more fool me!) over the last 8 years.

I’ll be there every week though - torturing yourself through team support is all part of it. Why back Man U when can I suffer as a West Ham fan? Why back the Ngati One-Eyes in red and black, when a bunch of (mainly) local kids can deplete my pleasure receptors every week or so?

Hopefully things will pick up, but the rugby is anything but ‘super’ at the moment. Its as faded and saggy as Captain Hurricane’s flight suit. Maybe we all need a bit of what Matt Stevens is on?