Tuesday, June 15, 2010

All White on the night

So. The whole world will be watching tonight when gallant
little New Zealand, the nuggety no-hopers from nowhere,
take on mighty Slovakia in the World Cup in South Africa.
Showing a shameless lack of national chauvinism, I must
admit to feeling somewhat dispirited about the All Whites’
chances till I read yesterday’s editorial in the New
Yes. The Herald, in its magisterial way, has
seized on the English goalkeeper’s fumble in the game
against the United States—an error that, observers say, is
already up there with Hitler’s invasion of Russia and the
maiden voyage of the Titanic as one of history’s most
shocking blunders—as a beacon of hope for Kiwi fans. It
proves, according to the Herald, that ‘once a team make
it to the World Cup, they can upset predictions with grit,
teamwork and undeserved luck.’

This is the spirit, by God, that allows New Zealanders to
hold their heads high in the world: the unswerving belief
that Kiwi pluck, skill and ingenuity will prevail just so long
as someone else cocks up somewhere. Never doubt it. Did
Hillary get to the top of Everest on nothing more than
guts and determination? No: he got there first because
had failed to do so before him. Why did Russell
Crowe become a Hollywood superstar? Because, in a
once-in-300-years phenomenon, several American
producers simultaneously had a brain explosion that
momentarily prevented them from detecting real talent.
Anything of note that any New Zealander ever achieved in
the world has been the result of accident, screw-up or
undeserved luck. I need hardly mention the famous case
of Ernest Rutherford, who only split the atom because he
accidentally dropped one on the lab floor while trying to
put it in a test-tube.

The All Whites, then, deserve all the undeserved luck they
can get. A 4-1 thrashing of Slovakia is perfectly possible,
given freakish atmospheric conditions, a mid-European
existential crisis 10 minutes from time and a sniper in
the top row of the stands. As the Herald, in its wisdom,
says: ‘Stranger things have happened.’

1 comment:

maggie@at-the-bay.com said...

Ah, now you must read today's Sydney Morning Herald - an Australasian success story. An extremely boring game, but history was made, and you can't beat that feeling with a goal in the last minute. Even better, one of the commentators part way through the match, was heard to say this "Nil all, it's more than we could have expected.".... brilliant eh?