Sport runs in the DNA of our country.
It is probable that New Zealand is more recognised on the world stage for the achievements of its many highly successful sportsmen and women than for literature, science, art, architecture and input into international affairs.
Our sportspeople punch well above their weight on the world stage, modern names that come readily to mind are Steven Adams and Scott Dixon, both titans in their respective sports, both highly paid professionals who regularly beat the best in their codes.
Both athletes retain that basic New Zealand humility that shines in the world of professional sportspeople, some of whom are ego-obsessed, selfish, driven and one-dimensional.
Most of us have played sport at some stage in our lives, many as keen participants, some striving to be average and a select few who become our golden heroes both nationally and internationally.
We all learn as children how to be part of a team effort to achieve a goal that is to win.
I know that many reading this believe that participation is the key to sport. That is true to a certain extent of course, especially for children. The basic goal of sport is competition, nothing more, nothing less; it is the goal to beat your adversary. Simple ethos but the hardest to achieve otherwise we would all be doing it.
Having participated in many sports as a player, coach and official I now enjoy being the armchair warrior predicting up and coming talent. I am proud to say that I can recognise a potential All Black in the making and have done so on a few occasions when others have written my choices off.
As sports participants we all learn early what we are good at and what is best left to others.
Many of us try several sports during a lifetime as the mood takes us or as our friends at the time suggest to us.
My experience with the noble game of golf is just such a story. Three very good mates used to cajole me to play golf on our annual fishing trips to Kinloch, me playing with the cobber with the lowest handicap in an Ambrose type round.
To say that I am useless at golf is an understatement, I am pathetic.
I am also psychologically unsuited to golf. It is the only sport that I have participated in other than road cycling that I really suck at.
On some days if my drive went past the ladies' tee I was happy. My journey up the fairway looked like a drunken snail slithering up a wall.
Once I get to the green I am in my element. My many years of lawn bowling comes to the fore and I can actually sink the ball with some respect despite the guffawing coming from the cheap seats on the way down the fairway.
A few years ago after a couple of reasonable rounds my mates suggested that I should buy my own clubs, I had been bludging theirs for years.
Comments were made about small improvements I was managing to achieve. Some respect was creeping into our golf stories. I never played again. The frustration, self-pity, anger and simple downright madness I considered too dangerous for my health. Oh, and I just do not like the game but persevered because of my friends.
Sport is simply a noble activity. It falls out of humanity's long history of warfare and, indeed, originated as part of military training many thousands of years ago. Thankfully it
now replaces that deep-seated need to gain victory over an enemy on the battlefield with honourable competition, well mostly. We still do war sadly.
Sport is also deeply symbolic of a country's image. We walk with pride when New Zealand does well. The lights go out when we get beaten, especially in our dearest of codes, rugby union. We tend to live our lives through our sporting heroes. There is not much wrong with that as they are normally people who are worthy of aspiring to.
In a two-day period a week or so ago we saw examples of symbolism that seemed to have both angered and delighted sports fans.
The Black Caps taking the knee before the first T20 against the West Indies and All Blacks captain Sam Cane publicly offering an All Blacks jersey with Diego Maradona's name and number on it to the Argentinian team prior to the test to honour of the death of this sporting hero.
To gauge reaction I sounded out a few very large forums I am a member of. Taking the knee got a sound thumbs-down but the gifting of the jersey was well-regarded. Symbolism matters and getting it wrong is so easy.
They say New Zealanders are the Passionless People. Right.