My corner of the oval

… thoughts from a Kiwi cricket fan

Dear Wellington Cricket fans …

I am not calling this an “open letter” because it’s not really a letter; it’s a blog post, that anyone can read if they so wish, but I had to come up with some kind of title …

Anyway, I digress …

This weekend, I attended a One Day International cricket match between our New Zealand Black Caps and the Champion Australian team, and while impressed by the general overall behaviour of the 22,000 strong crowd at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, I did have a couple of moments of disappointment.

First of all, we seem to have this horrendous habit in this country of booing.  I mean, I can understand a sigh of disappointment, perhaps, when things don’t go your teams way, but loud choruses of “boo!” ringing around the Stadium for, for example, when an opposition bowler loses his run-up and has to pull out and start again.  I mean, really?  How does that warrant anyone booing at him for wanting to get his action totally correct so he, for one thing, doesn’t do himself a horrible injury if he gets it wrong?  And I noted there were times when a New Zealand Black Caps’ bowler had to pull out of their run-up for not getting it exactly right – how come we didn’t boo them?  It was for exactly the same reason as the opposition bowler.  Why can’t we just respect the sportsmen in front of us, regardless of their team that they play for, and respect them for the amount of skill and expertise they are showing to us?

And have you ever stopped to think just how hideous people actually look when they are mid-boo?  I mean, it’s quite hilarious actually.  If they actually knew how bad they looked, they’d stop in an instant, I reckon!

The other moment of disappointment that I had was when the Australian team were fielding in the first innings and David Warner had the misfortune of having to field at the third-man or fine-leg boundary line.  I guess he’s not the most popular of the visiting Australian team, but he’s a pretty spectacular player in his own right, whether he’s batting or fielding.  He deserves a bit of respect for just what he can do, not the obscene chants that get yelled at him from the other side of the boundary fence.  Do these people even realise what they are saying when they chant these horrendous things?  And apart from the obvious disrespect of it all, do these chanters not actually realise that all they are doing is firing up the likes of David Warner even more, and making him field 100% better, and bat 100% better, just to rub it in the faces of those who taunted him?  (This was obvious when he came out with his batting partner in the second innings and bludgeoned 98 runs in quick time!)

And then the same section of crowd, the very next time David Warner was fielding near them, was chanting for him to “give us a wave.”  I mean, seriously?  After what they were just chanting at him moments ago, they expect him to turn around and give them a cheery wave?

I know it’s all supposed to be “just in fun,” and “it’s only banter,” and “it’s all part of the environment,” but you can still have fun, and banter, and create a sporting environment by being a bit more respectful, not only of the opposition, but of our own team and the other people watching.  If there’s anything anyone should have been able to notice from our New Zealand Black Caps over the last few years, is that you can actually enjoy yourself and yet still be competitive, but you don’t need to disrespect the opposition to do it.

It’s time to raise ourselves ABOVE the lowest common denominator, people, and have a bit of respect for each other (and ourselves!)

Hopefully, at the test match starting at the Basin Reserve at the end of this week, we will be able to actually just enjoy the Australians being in our country for once, and appreciate them for the skills and abilities they have on show.  They may be the “enemy,” but they’re still all jolly good at what they do, and I for one am pretty darn impressed by what I see on the cricket field every time I see a match!  That deserves respect, not derision!

Rant over …

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