Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ain't A Winner in the Game, He Don't Go Home With All

Geez, the people here are really into sport. And that means playing, not watching.

I came for the waters.... I was misinformed.

Often the first question asked to from a new acquaintance is, "What sport do you do?" Luckily, I play golf, and that counts as a sport around here, Rick.

I have been trying squash, being prompted by Bill Gansline, the current world champ from Tucson, Arizona. But I must admit, I have the racquet and the club membership, but have not yet managed to get a regular schedule. I have only played a couple times. And I suck.

Many here have TV, but not cable with all the channels like I do. I tell them that we Americans have the strongest thumbs because of pushing on the remote.

Kiwis have an impression of us as eating at McDonald's and sitting on the couch getting fat.

I hope I was not sent here to erase that image.

So I play golf whenever I do not teach and I have gotten my handicap down to 14. But here, there are no golf carts, although I have seen guys hooking up to motorbikes and riding them on the course.

Most everyone walks, or I should say, scampers through 18 holes. They expect to finish the round in less than 4 hours. All players understand and there is never any waiting around to hit.

There is also no driving into other players to hurry them along. This is quite a civil country.

I remember watching students in California during PE. They all had lame excuses why they could not participate. They would sit around and talk whenever they could and try to avoid working out.

This is how it works in NZ:

The boys have over an hour for lunch so most of the time they are at the fields playing games that require much running and agility. You would think that would be quite enough for one day.

But I took a PE class right after lunch and for another hour they ran and jumped and dodged and shot balls of all shapes and sorts. There was no name calling, fighting, arguing, complaining, or fighting. Everyone participated and ran like devils for the entire hour. At the end, they picked up all the equipment and went out, saying "Thank you, sir" to me, the guy who stood on the side and watched.

There are heaps of national sports teams here playing some games we never heard of...Like Underwater Hockey and European Handball

New Zealand is proud to be so small and able to put a competitive bunch on the field of play.

The country's uniform colors names are black, white, and silver and the team names reflect that.

The rugby team is the ALL BLACKS

The woman's Rugby team is the BACK FERNS

Men's basketball - TALL BLACKS

Woman's basketball - TALL FERNS

Women's netball - SILVER FERNS

Wheelchair rugby!!?? - WHEEL BLACKS

Field hockey, male and female - BLACK STICKS

BLACK CAPS - cricket

Women's cricket - WHITE FERNS

ALL WHITES - soccer

Men's softball - BLACK SOCKS

Men's gridiron - IRON BLACKS

There are more of course, but I have saved the best for last.

The men's badminton team is known as...and you can look it up...


I know this is hard to swallow, but it's true.

I gotta run now myself...

Jerry Springer re-run is about to start.


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