As a sports reporter, I have the priviledge of being sideline for countless epic encounters.
Saturday's Intercity women's hockey final was up there with the best of them.
The Rotorua Aces, playing in front of a passionate home crowd, won an extra-time shootout against Mount Maunganui, after trailing 3-0 at halftime but fighting back to 3-all at the end of normal time.
Sporting success so often comes down to mental strength and the Aces are the perfect example. Personally, I am not the strongest person mentally. I'm a sulker. When the going gets tough, I give up. So to see a team rally from 3-0 down and then hold their nerve in a tense shootout was particularly remarkable.
The Aces looked like a different team in the second half as they threw everything at Mount Maunganui. With every goal they pulled back their confidence, and the anticipation around the turf, grew. When they levelled the scores right on fulltime the crowd exploded.
I've said before, and I might be biased, but I don't think you can beat the sort of story lines sport produces. Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad and The Handmaid's Tale are great entertainment but still scripted. Sport is raw and emotional. It draws people in like nothing else.
The atmosphere at the turf during the shootout on Saturday was one of the best I have experienced. I can't imagine the pressure that was on the players and while watching the Aces celebrate at the end tugged at the heart strings, you also couldn't help but feel for the Mount Maunganui players who came so close in their first Intercity final.
It is that contrast between win and lose, ecstasy and devastation which draws us to sport.
The aftermath of the All Blacks' loss to Australia at the weekend has evoked those same emotions on either side of the ditch. The Australian media desperate to prove Scott Barrett deserved his red card, the New Zealand media equally eager to point out the Australians broke the rules too.
It's great theatre and you can guarantee if the two sides meet at the World Cup, tensions will be high and viewer numbers will sky rocket.
Nicoll-Klokstad is one of the good guys
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad is finally getting his chance in the NRL and you get the impression he's enjoying himself.
After spending much of his time at the Warriors in reserve grade, stuck behind one of the best fullbacks in the game in Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Nicoll-Klokstad made the move to the Canberra Raiders in the off season to take up the vacant fullback position.
He has become an instant hero in Canberra. He's one of the form fullbacks in the competition and his side sit in third place on the table.
While his form on the field has been impressive, he is winning just as many fans off it.
When it comes to behaviour issues, NRL players have certainly had their moments, but it is important we celebrate the good guys as well. Nicoll-Klokstad is certainly one of those.
Throughout this season I have seen numerous posts on Twitter about the extra lengths the young fullback goes to for his fans.
I was working, so I sent my brother to meet him, he arrived with a get well card and packet of lollies, he stayed for at least an hour and half just playing with my little cousin and also her little brother who is raiders mad, he left such a great impression pic.twitter.com/eF0aYgXNaB— Michael Schirripa (@michaeleugeni14) July 4, 2019
In July, a Raiders fan got in touch with him to say he had a young cousin in hospital and request a recorded get well message. Nicoll-Klokstad arrived in person with a get well card and packet of lollies. The man said he stayed with the young girl for at least an hour and half just playing games.
At the weekend, Nicoll-Klokstad was at it again. A fan posted: "Two weeks ago I got a message from the one and only Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad. After losing my 16yo cousin to his battle with depression, it's been a really rough time.
"My extended family came down for the game this arvo as they are diehard Raiders fans, and this legend here not only organised for my family and I to come into the sheds with him, but he also took my little 5yo cousin under his wing and took him around to get his jersey signed by all the boys and have a chat with them all. He then made sure to take time to come speak to us for 20 minutes and hang out with us."
It seems Nicoll-Klokstad is well aware of what a privileged position he is in. He knows children and fans look up to him and he is doing all he can to be a great role model.
I hope other athletes take notice.