Wendyl Nissen: Beat them or join them


It's easier to participate than resist, decides Wendyl Nissen.

Step one: make your own All Black costume. Step two: grin like a loon. Photo / Getty Images
Step one: make your own All Black costume. Step two: grin like a loon. Photo / Getty Images

It was Roast Day last Sunday and so we headed out to friends to eat a roast.

"I need to ask you all for some help," I said halfway through the meal while tapping my glass with my knife to get their undivided attention.

No one would look at me. They were like labradors when you tried to make eye contact, looking off to one side then the other, unwilling to look you straight in the eye.

I knew what they were thinking. In recent months I have summoned an army of knitters to make beanies for babies at Middlemore Hospital because 30 per cent of the children they treat go home to unheated homes.

"It's not about the knitting," I assured them, hoping for a more enthusiastic audience.

They were still making like a bunch of labradors.

I've also been going on about the fact that 40,000 children head off to school without breakfast every morning in this country and have been boring people rigid wondering out loud about the kind of priorities this country has as we merrily spend $310 million on the Rugby World Cup.

"It's not about the starving children," I said. "Although perhaps we could pack some of this up and send it off to the Auckland City Mission."

"Get on with it!" someone demanded, possibly my husband.

"As you all know we are about to host a few hundred elite sportsmen and thousands of drunken morons for the Rugby World Cup," I said.


"As you also know, neither my husband nor I are particularly keen on rugby, or sports in general."

"Don't tell me you're running a retreat for rugby widows and need us to donate Hugh Grant DVDs and casks of chardonnay," quipped someone.

"No, I'm just asking you to help a little 13-year-old girl who, while the RWC is on, will be standing by her window and waiting.

"Waiting for someone to take her to her first-ever rugby game."

"Now that's just sad," said someone else.

"How could you raise a child in such isolation from her true Kiwi spirit?" said another person.

"I'll take her," said my closest friend who is planning to be a constant presence in the corporate stands. "Leave it to me, I'll make up for your sad parenting."

And it was done. My youngest child shall go to the rugby.

Meanwhile I've decided to work on my attitude towards the game. It's one thing to sneer from the comfort of my lounge when the game is miles away but when it is just over the hill from where I live there is the possibility of riots and pillaging, especially with all the Brits in town. I should say on the radio that I think rugby is just a game and it really doesn't matter who wins or loses, it's about just having a jolly good time. Get over it.

Instead I'm now engaged in knitting an All Black jersey so that I'll blend in. I have no intention of parting with any cash for a proper jersey to support adidas in its corporate greed. They are merely keepers of a brand which belongs to me and my country, not some corporation founded by a man named Adolf with links to the Nazis whose headquarters are in Germany and whose revenue last year was €11.99 billion.

There I'm getting the hang of it already.

I am also going to put cones outside my house to reserve parking for tourists who have been told there is plenty of parking near the stadium and can't find any. I will obligingly remove the cones and refuse all compensation.

"Just have a great time in our fair country," I will say before running inside, removing my jersey, pouring a glass of chardonnay and settling down to a good Hugh Grant.

- Herald on Sunday

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