Jem Beedoo

Jem Beedoo is an Auckland writer

Jem Beedoo: For Kiwi blokes actions speak louder than words

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Richie McCaw - the look on his face is enough. Photo / Getty Images
Richie McCaw - the look on his face is enough. Photo / Getty Images

All hail the Kiwi male; all hail him. Of course the last thing he'd want to hear is overwrought language like that. His is limited to a few appreciative grunts in such cases.

Richie McCaw said the losing campaign of the 2007 RWC and its aftermath was "a wee bit tough", or words to that effect. Sir Edmund Hillary's conquering Mt Everest, as we all know, translated to "we knocked the bastard off".

In other words, understatement is key among the Kiwi man. He'd sooner sail round the world in a burnout car than describe the conditions as "splendid". You could even say words to him were evil. And I'd for one agree with you.

Richie McCaw is a goddam genius athlete king. And the nicest thing is he doesn't bloody know it. He puts himself out there for his country so much, he struggles to even talk after a test, much less describe the play as cynical, clinical, accurate, or whatever the buzzwords used by rugby people are these days.

He'll say a few words and that is all. For the look on his face says it all.

Did you see his face in the last post-match interview? He looked like he was about to explode in big salty tears. This is a tremendously emotional fellow who doesn't have the words to describe his emotions because he kills words and their superfluity with his on-field ebullience, with his giving 900 per cent.

I must mention Carter, Hansen and Conrad Smith in the same breath. These are hugely emotional blokes who'd rather be hospitalised from rugby than use the word "incredible". "Incredible" is not going to win you a test match. What gentlemen.

The Kiwi man is a gruff old bastard but he loves you. He'll fly planes, race cars, sail yachts, climb mountains, surf oceans, drink bourbons, build muscles and eat potato salad just to see you smile.

And he'll do it to the full and at a world-class level of ability. Look at Bruce McLaren. Look at Sir Peter Blake. Look at Sir Colin Meads. Look at A.J. Hackett. Look at Sir Richard Hadlee. These gentlemen threw themselves out there to negate the heaviness of meaningless words. The experience was vital, the words to describe it, inconsequential. It's pure physical communication.

Communication, now there's a hideous word. During my third attempt at university I was asked by a managerial type how "it was all going" - my studies and all. I told him "very successfully", as I shuddered at my ludicrous choice of words. He then said with a wink: "It's communication." Although I wasn't entirely sure what he meant, it sounded so terrible I got the hell out of there. But please don't tell my parents. Kiwi males, eh?

It's the feel that matters. The words are not that important. I mean, who knows what the devil John Fogerty is singing about in that faux-country accent on all those wonderful, globe-stopping Creedence Clearwater Revival hits?

I certainly don't, but you hear that group everywhere in rural NZ, semi or otherwise, because the music is so darn good. The Kiwi male will not be able to tell you why, but why should he? It's a "no-bull" sort of music in a land of cows and bulls. Anyhow, leave the details to the females and endure your Christmas.

- NZ Herald

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