As a bloke can I just say that this weekend is simply quite wonderful in that not one but two mighty sporting events are upon us, simultaneously, even though for most of us of a certain age they are sports that historically belong in totally different seasons. That the ICC Cricket World Cup and the 2015 Super 15 Rugby Championship can co-exist in the same space, at the same time, is testament to some greater - possibly global warming or maybe neo-liberalism or, conceivably, some epic shift in the space/time continuum.
Though there are some (or the "vast majority" as some might term them) who will care not a jot that these two sporting extravaganzas are upon us in their tandem awesomeness, I am taking this part of the year very, very seriously, largely because of the scheduling difficulties involved. There is only so much couch time a man can devote to sport before it looks less like obsessive devotion and more like being a total slob. Also there are tiny things like work to be slotted in and around the sports.
I'm a bit worried about the Cricket World Cup, mainly because I worry every time a New Zealand sports team gets talked up before the event. Apart from the All Blacks (obviously) I reckon we're much better as a nation of bolters, the plucky little team that rises above the odds, than we are when we go in among the favourites. Mind you, that might just be testament to my generally pessimistic outlook on life - especially when it comes to our national cricket team.
As another shining (or not) example of this pessimism I am now incredibly worried that, with the mash-up of cricket and rugby happening at the same time, the weather gods will flick the switch in favour of the winter code. They say the best way to break a drought is to hold a major sporting event and if there is one sport in the world that is notoriously wimpy when it comes to rain it is cricket. Okay, sure, it is entirely understandable that when Mitchell Johnson is bowling at you at 150kph you're probably not keen on the ball being so slippery that it slips out of his hand and whistles at your head on the full, but think about all the people at the ground who paid to see a gladiatorial conflict - and also all the people at home on their couches who paid their Sky subscription.
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I guess, despite any possible weather issues, of the two tournaments kicking or bowling off this weekend it is the Super 15 that will be taking the back seat. The early rounds of the battle for Southern Hemisphere rugby dominance are generally all about: (a) proving just how bad the Blues will actually be this season; (b) dashing the hopes of all Hurricanes supporters everywhere that this will finally be their year; and (c) giving false hope to all Highlanders supporters before they inevitably crumble at the arse-end of the season.
But it should be remembered that this is a year of the Super 15 in a year of the Rugby World Cup so there is plenty in these early games to distract a bloke like me from the cricket. Which All Black superstar will be injured first and throw a scare through the nation? Please God, don't let it be Richie. Which AB regular will get off to a shocker and cause ripples of doubts? Will the South Africans look ominous and scary, or will they implode into their traditional (and rather amusing) in-fighting? Are we still morally and physically superior to Australia and therefore in a position to quietly mock their World Cup chances? These are big questions that need study and contemplation - in-between the cricket games.
I fully understand that sport isn't everyone's cup of tea. Mind you, I don't drink tea so it is equally true to say that tea isn't my cup of tea. I do like sport, however, and I do have an ongoing love/hate relationship with the Black Caps - I love it when they win and I hate it when they sometimes never quite get to the standards I am sure they are capable of (and therefore lose as a result). And I am sure, with excellent time-and-couch management I can cheer them on to whatever they achieve, in between work and other annoying interruptions. And should the weather gods allow Auckland to stage an actual cricket match without it bucketing down, then I shall also cheer them on at Eden Park on the 28th because there are times when the joy of the couch simply isn't enough.
So go you Black Caps, do your jolly best, okay? Oh, and go the Hurricanes, he cried forlornly into the void.