My name is Simon and I'm 30.I've come to the conclusion that I am unlikely to ever become truly spectacular at anything. In this blog I embrace that, observe the world around me and, little by little, try and become a better person.
Updates around once a week
“An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
In a few hours New Zealand will walk onto the
Melbourne Cricket Ground for the biggest match in this history of the sport in
After ten tournaments and 40 years we’ve
finally…finally…made it through to the World Cup Final.
The law of averages suggests that we were going
to make the final eventually, and we’ve come close to stumbling into it through
six semi-final defeats. But even if we
did squeeze through to the main event in the past, we wouldn’t have deserved
it. We almost certainly would have lost.
New Zealand has usually been an average cricket
team, occasionally a very good one and often very, very bad. We’ve cultivated a
reputation of being grafters and underdogs – losers who can give bigger nations
a good game, but still lose to them.
This is all I’ve ever know in 20 years of
supporting the Black Caps. There have been isolated moments to celebrate: Our
first test series win in England, scoring four centuries in an innings in Perth,
Shane Bond’s short reign as the world’s best bowler, watching us run down 300
twice in a row against Australia in 2007, Brendon McCullum scoring a century in
a Twenty20 match in Christchruch.
But these moments of glory were aberrations.
They stood out because they were so rare. While other countries produced great teams,
the best we could do was produce occasional imitations of great teams. We lost
more tests than we won and we still couldn’t get past the semi-finals of the
Until this week.
The semi-final victory against South Africa was
the greatest cricket match I’ve ever seen. I’ve tried explaining cricket to
Europeans before, and tried to articulate how much emotion and adrenaline can
take place in during an epic game.
It lasts six hours but the most crucial moments
take place in seconds. Every moment between is full of tension, pressure and tactical
battles. My dad used to tell me off for asking “who’s winning” a cricket game –
you don’t really know until the end.
We haven’t fumbled into the final. We’ve
charged there. We haven’t lost a game at the World Cup. We haven’t lost a test
series for almost two years. For the first time ever we have a pool of players
who can genuinely compete with the best teams in the world. For the first time
ever, we are one of the best teams in the world.
And that feels amazing. It’s surreal to go into
a New Zealand game expecting to win. A few years ago, musing on the nature of nationalism, I wrote that supporting the Black Caps was much more rewarding
than supporting the All Blacks because the victories weren’t treated as a
national rite. Since I wrote that, things have changed. No New Zealander ever
realistically expected our cricket team to be this good this fast and none of
us are taking it for granted.
This NZ side represents the best qualities of
Kiwis – camaraderie, resolve, ambition and respect. They’ve found a way to
excel at their sport without being dickheads about it. They’ve worked hard and
they deserve their success.
One year ago, against India, Brendon McCullum did
something no New Zealander had ever done before. He scored 300 runs in an
innings. It helped us save the test
match and win the series. It was a great moment but it could easily have been just
another aberration. One year later Kane Williamson did almost exactly the same
thing. He scored 242* against Sri Lanka to save a test match and win the
series. Two weeks ago Martin Guptill
scored 237 to help beat the West Indies in the world cup quarterfinals. Winning
has become a habit, and it feels really strange.
All through this tournament I’ve been thinking I
just want us to make the final - just to go a little further than we ever have
before. But now we’re there, it feels disingenuous to be happy with anything
less than victory. This team has decided they’re no longer content with being
underdogs and the least we can do as fans is respect that. I want – and expect
- us to win.
But even if we don't, we'll still have the experience of seeing our guys walk onto the MCG to contest the biggest game in NZ Cricket history. We will cheer, grimace and For the first time ever, we deserve it - players, fans and New Zealanders everywhere.