Posted by: rivettingkatetaylor | June 21, 2010

Who would have thought soccer would rule the day?

Most rural New Zealanders would have scoffed if you’d told them a few years ago that the All Blacks would wallop Wales in the last-ever test at Carisbrook and not rate a mention in Monday morning’s news.

This rural New Zealander would have scoffed if you’d told her she would be awake two Monday mornings in a row to watch soccer.

Until my son started playing soccer last year I had never even watched a full game (and probably really still hadn’t as they are on quarter fields!)

Growing up in rural Otago/Southland, soccer was not on the radar in any way, shape or form in the 70s or 80s. I don’t remember the fanfare that went with NZ’s last foray into World Cup football. I didn’t really even know it existed until a friend of a friend started dating a soccer player and we never saw her around anymore (Alexandra) and then I moved to Napier, home of the Napier City Rovers, at that stage headed by the football mad Colin Stone, now head of Sport Hawke’s Bay, and also at the time, home to a young and now outstanding goal keeper Mark Paston.  Today’s goal scorer Shane Smeltz used to play there too!

Working with Ross Holden at Newstalk ZB also introduced me to the intricacies (and the passions) of the round-ball game. Then hearing Martin Devlin on Radio Sport every morning thanks to husband’s love of anything sport (I now know Thomas supports Liverpool. Still not sure why….) Martin’s fanatical support of ManU and the other guy, Miles, on his show, football was a word that was uttered more often in our household.

But I still wasn’t into it.

Even when I attended a rural youth conference in Germany in the midst of the 1998 World Cup, I didn’t understand the furore of emotions that ran through my South American, European and African counterparts at the conference. 

But with an eight-year-old son now loving the game and demanding to be woken in the middle of the night for the All White’s World Cup matches, the tide has turned.

Half the All Whites also rival Dan Carter and his mates in the looks stakes! And they take their shirts off. Bit too much emotion for many NZers to handle but worth looking aye? 🙂 

I’m on the tidal wave of football interest flowing through the country. I give up.  So they only score once or twice – the near misses and stolen chances are just as exciting as when the All Blacks near their try line.

Let’s hope the All Whites can have a win over Paraguay and go to the next level. We would have had the “best-ever, greatest, most fantastic, history-making moment” in New Zealand football history not once, not twice, but three times!



  1. CMON New Zealand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I used to live in NZ in Dunedin, and yes, I missed football terribly then, as the reasons you mentioned.
    I have always had my fair share of doubts of Kiwi All Whites’ performances, but NEVER, have I once doubted the mental agility and strength of their willpower. And that’s why when I was watching Italy VS Aotearoa, I was chanting support for the Kiwi lads, from my sofa, 10000kms away from South Africa. Go NEW ZEALAND!!!

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