Reading list

Probably the greatest essay on athletes’ bowel movements you’ll ever read.

One of those epic Bill Simmons and Malcolm Gladwell email exchanges, this time talking about athletes in the modern age, with the mass media and the Twitter and that. Yes, it’s long, but it’s worth sticking with.

If you’ve ever wondered how you’d really fare at paintball against ruthless killers and that, here’s how.

An amateur bowler comes *this* close to bowling three 300 games in a row. Heartbreaking. And an amateur cyclist tries drugs and quite likes them. Eye opening.

Weepu eats Cruden

NEWSDESK: The All Blacks injury crisis deepened today when it emerged out of form half back Piri Weepu ate starting first five Aaron Cruden. “It’s a worry,” said Steve Hansen. “Dan’s hamstring strain, along with Aaron being in Piri’s stomach leaves us short, so we’ve called up Beauden Barrett. Piri himself could even cover first five once his heartburn settles down.”

Weepu told reporters he ate Cruden at a Hamilton Cinema, where it was ‘pretty dark.’ “When the lights came on, everyone was like ‘where’s Aaron?’. Yeah, you always regret eating a team mate, I’m gutted for him. Hopefully the boys can dig deep on Saturday night and win it for Aaron,” said Weepu.

Dave Rennie said being eaten was obviously a career setback for Cruden, and could limit his impact on the remainder of the Chiefs campaign. The eating is not without precedent, it was long rumoured that Colin Meads ate Keith Murdoch after the 1972 Grand Slam tour, until Murdoch was found un-eaten in the Australian outback years later.

Walk in the park

My little walk through Victoria Park was stunning this AM

The Herald went big on Jeremy Wells‘ ‘Victoria Park as a cricket test venue’ proposal on Saturday with Steve Deane and Dylan Cleaver chipping in with editorials, and an epic ‘your views’ page. Let’s not mess this up – this is a fantastic proposal. We’re now a city with no central city sporting venue AT ALL (OK, Vector aside), and this proposal would bring crowds of happy, thirsty sports folk into the CBD without *too* much disruption and give test cricket a unique setting. The alternative options for test cricket (Eden Park, bloody ALBANY!) excite me as much as a ‘Danny Morrison, life coach’ audio book.

The Herald’s commentators berated the recently released city stadium discussion document for its very lack of vision – Auckland’s stadiums are beset by underinvestment, location and self interest issues and this document does little to sort that out. Set that against the example of the Gold Coast’s Skilled Park, a replica of Brisbane’s FANTASTIC Suncorp Stadium, only with one tier. When there’s demand for more capacity, they’ll simply build another tier on top, and she’ll be right, Bruce. As an Auckland sports fan and ratepayer, that’s the kind of vision I’d have liked to see in the vision document. In the absence of leadership from the city’s leaders, let’s help make Victoria Park happen.

Teh rugby
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the All Blacks’ two tests so far. The first one, cos the new look All Blacks, with a patented mix of youth ‘n’ experience WASTED the Irish, and looked bloody good. The second, because it was close, and we still won. Of course, as a former resident of the Republic, I was gutted for Ireland they couldn’t get over the line – but not *that* gutted. A key part of my personal arrogant All-Black-supporting folklore is that teams like Ireland and Scotland have never beaten us, so I took it in my stride. Still, I was unimpressed that with some NZ fans on Twitter ‘going for’ the Irish. I’m all for sportsmanship, but this is unacceptable. Support your world champion national team, we’ve been waiting to be able to say that for a while now, let’s make the most of it. Sound poo-covered jandal beatings all around.


For the All Blacks, everyone has played well, generally, but I’m most excited about Aaron Smith, the passing number nine. We’ve been down the ‘halfback as extra loose forward’ path for so long now – but with Marshall, Kelleher at half back, not to mention Andrew Hore, Ali Williams, the Franks, as well as arguably Conrad Smith, we’ve actually wound up with about 23 loose forwards on the park at a time. So, this return to simpler times where the half back actually clears the ball in a timely fashion is a welcome one and the backline looks better for the extra time and space. Next few years will be interesting when Smith and TJ ‘chosen one’ Perenara go head to head for the spot.

Oh, and three test-series. I like them, let’s have one every year.

You should really pick up this month’s Metro. Steve Braunais takes the most thoughtful look at the Blues’ season I’ve seen (great to see SB writing about sport again – still waiting for the football book!), and Donna Chisholm investigates concussion in our contact sports. The first thing I turn to though, is Duncan Greive‘s (of friend-of-sportreview Deadball, among other things) sport page – a pithy run through of things that matter and things you probably didn’t know. I’m very pleased to see Duncan contributing longer pieces, like the excellent Dylan Boucher piece a couple of issues back. Like I say, recommended.

Two short, meaningless points

Jesse Ryder is a bloody hero. Taking a year off an NZ cricket contract doesn’t just mean ‘not drinking piss’ or ‘getting your head together’. No, when he’s not not playing for his country or playing in the IPL or the Bonga Bonga Shitloads Of Wonga T20 competitions, Jesse is challenging a cricket commentator to a fight.

It’s a scientifically proven fact that cricket commentators are very, very annoying. Sure, we’ve all shouted at them from the couch, tweeted abuse, lazily fantasised about flicking Mark Nicholas with a wet towel or taunting Ian Smith with a cream bun, but only Jesse is manning up and genuinely looking to punch a cricket commentator in the face. Craig McMillan has wussed out, but I hope Jesse continues in his quest to mix it up with the microphone wielding blitherers. Not only would it make him a bigger folk hero than some kind of Lance Cairns / Shreck the Sheep hybrid, but this could be our best chance to improve the quality of commentary overall. Surely pundits will be less likely to talk a whole lot of self serving meaningless shit when faced with the possibility of players coming up to the booth and thumping them at the conclusion of their innings? Go Jesse.

I took sportreview junior to the Blues v Chiefs match at Albany stadium on Saturday night. I’m a fan of the stadium – the crowd is nice and close and there’s grassy banks on either end, it’s not dissimilar to Waikato stadium. But the stand we were in (on the open side of the ground) was a total shambles. Massive slow moving lines for tickets with no organisation in sight. No eft pos at food vendors (with bonus big queues). A cash-out eft pos stand that ran out of cash. In fairness, the crowd was much larger than I’d expected, maybe it took the administrators by surprise too.

I hope this is being worked on. Nothing would dampen a post-world cup glow of rugby enthusiasm like roll-up cash-paying rugby crowds being treated like people who enjoy standing in queues for expensive shit food more than rugby. Luckily, the match itself was a wall-to-wall-no-defence-and-miracle-try spectacular with a bonus fracas to make up for it. Let’s hope some of the RWC feel good factor trickles down to our own rugby crowds, or those watching from home will be seeing a lot more Eden Park-style empty seats in the background.