Checking in

I’m on hols, but here’s a quick one while he’s away:

Hayden Roulston finished tenth in the Paris Roubaix, the Queen of the Classics race that takes in long sections of rough cobbles. Here he is is in action, and here’s a write up form his blog. It’s a tremendous result in the hardest one day race going, and heaps better than last year.

DeadBall, who are kinda back but kinda not, have an extensive Dan Vettori interview. Interestingly, he’s read Moneyball twice.

Kicking 2009 when it’s down

Doing a half-arsed wrap up of the year is becoming a tradition here on sportreview – here’s 2009.

If there was one week that summed up 2009 for me, it was seeing the All Blacks *cook* with Italy’s Next Top Model contestants in Milan in the most embarrassing and wooden photo op since Don Brash walked the plank, before our second string players participated in a shitty, shitty match at the San Siro, deeply marred by some shocking officiating from an experienced ref trying to enforce god knows what version of the rulebook is on top of the pile. Any Italians unfamiliar with Rugby watching the match would have found the oval ball code as appealing as toenail ravioli.

Earlier that day, New Zealand qualified for the Football World Cup in front of a crowd wholeheartedly supporting their team.

I don’t want to get into a Rugby v Football debate (although I think the nation’s office kitchens are going to be ringing with that mid year), but I really wish the first of these scenarios was more like the second – clear rules, supporting and having fun, and winning. That would do nicely.

Here’s my year, in sport, in and for me.

2009: big sport stuff

All Whites making the World Cup finals
All of a sudden it’s 1982 again. I’m sure I’m not the only one who this qualification kind of sneaked up on. I wasn’t paying that close attention to the qualifiers, and then suddenly we were two games away, and the whole country was going All Whites crazy and calling it ‘Football’. Wonders never cease. For a country used to grim, po-faced ‘support’ of its Rugby heroes, where Grizz Wylie’s statuesque pose when watching matches is seen as a model for manhood everywhere, not, perhaps more appropriately, something to lean on to keep warm, the Latin explosion of noise and color in the Caketin that night could change our country’s sporting landscape forever. Could. Anyway. We really have something to look forward to this year. Leg Break or ‘lucky git’ as he’s known around here, will be our man in the Guardian’s Fan thingo.

Black Caps
Can’t I just skip this? Andy Moles was out faster than a sneaky fart in a meeting room, and suddenly Dan is player, captain, coach, selector and god knows what else – we would be deeply fucked if we lost him at the moment. We got a little taste of how un-fucked we are without Shane Bond in Dunedin before going back to being just fucked without him.  Everything in my July 2008 Black Caps coach application still applies – we need two things – 1. John Wright and 2. a plan.

Chiefs make the Super 14 Final
Not sure how they got on after that, ah har har

The All Blacks.
We’re still South Africa’s bitches, but how long they can continue a coaching panel the equivalent of a Benny Hill chase scene, I don’t know. I only got to one match, the bitter bitter disappointment in Hamilton. NZ’s other national sport of kicking the All Blacks when they’re down is still alive and well. To me, there wasn’t a lot of difference between the way we played on the end of year tour and in the Tri Nations, it’s just we executed better, and playing against poorer quality sides up north would have helped. It’s still not going well, though, is it? The All Blacks’ 2011 preparations (and make no mistake, it’s ALL about 2011) is still in the ‘Hey! Let’s build a waterfront stadium!’ phase. Must try harder.

New Zealand cyclists kick the world’s arse
New Zealand cyclists had 15 world titles this year, and just this week, up and comer Jack Bauer outsprinted Tour De France riders Hayden Roulston and Julian Dean to win the national Road Race title. We’ve got cycling talent coming out our ears, and it’s looking all on on the track and the road for the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics. Pro wise, this year’s Tour De France should be a ripper, with Alberto v Lance and the new Brit Sky team. Can’t wait.

2009: related highlights

I really enjoyed putting this together, there’s some great stuff in here, but NOT ENOUGH! I’m still accepting stalks team.

L&P take down
I wish more companies would piss me off so I could do This Kind Of Thing more often.

This is a lot of fun, and something I’m keen to do more of, if I can find a decent place to record them. The fist few have a certain charm, but the French preview one is where it hits its stride

The Herald showed some love

I won a copy of JRod’s first book

Best 2009 posts: Bowling through Wexford, Dan drops himself, Fight Club Duos, Keith Quinn on Twitter, Rattue joins the All Blacks, Tua / Cameron fight move, Bloggers at the Basin,

Best 2009 cartoons: Player Power, Dingo + shark, SuperDobbers, 18 and life to go,

Tech Talk with Phil Waugh – secretly probably my favorite thing I’ve done all year. Too weird?

2009: Rocking my world

Getting MySky
I CANNOT emphasise enough how much arse MySky kicks. Having long sent the VCR to the downstairs storage of doom, the ability to quickly ‘tape’ anything on a whim has changed my and sportreviewloveinterest’s lives. As a sport blogger, this means I can actually WATCH SPORT again – imagine that! It also means I can fast forward through the weather for the South Island – this makes me very happy indeed.

Starting a tumblr is a pretty low hassle way to make a neat site, and a great way to find new links and photos.

New Bike – conquered some sweet hills on this already.

Top 5 tracks in
1. The Kinks – This Time Tomorrow
2. Beck – Sing It Again
3. Ben Kweller – Thirteen
4. Harry Nilsson – Turn On Your Radio
5. The Velvet Underground – I Found a Reason

In The Loop, Avatar 3D. I didn’t see many movies released in 2009 this year.

Pathetic effort reading wise this year, due to watching too much iPod TV on the bus. I loved White Teeth and Cannery Row, while Man In Full made me very frustrated. Sport-wise, it was Summer 0f 49 and Tana‘s Up Close, continuing the All Black tradition of mildly revelatory bios after they’re safely retired.

So, another year down. I hope you all are enjoying the site, I really enjoy your comments and having some larfs, especially on the twitter. My personal sporting highpoint this year is watching sportreview jr, who’s 19 months now, kick a ball – he hits it hard. He’s going to break the back of some poor unsuspecting net one day.

Related: best of 2008, best of 2006 one, two Hayden Roulston arse coverage

Check out this clip at 1’50 – that’s Hayden Roulston‘s arse. He had a bad fall on the cobbles during the weekend’s Paris-Roubaix race and Did Not Finish.

The clip gives you a good idea of Paris-Roubaix, or The Hell Of The North’s fairly frickin insane racing style – when it rains, you get a kind of Mad Max / muddy Galstonbury raver hybrid on bikes. Riders have to cope with several cobbled sections, guaranteed to shake bikes and riders’ fillings loose. This prompts much discussion on modifying sleek road machines to take cobble-related punishment.

Further Hayden Roulston arse coverage from the Belgium Knee Warmers blog:

No-one knows quite where to look, eh?

What I learned in 2008

2008 lacked last year’s dangling carrots of World Cup glory, or the crushing, crushing disappointment. Still, with the Olympics and Euro 2008 to go with full Rugby and Cricket programmes, there was plenty to watch, write and bet online about. Here’s what I learned:

Crusaders fans threatening to support Australia against the All Blacks have very short attention spans

TV reporters going to find Crusaders fans threatening to support Australia against the All Blacks look very foolish indeed

Graham Henry and Richie McCaw are pretty good at what they do

Even that won’t get Rattue back on side

The Black Caps are an effective test cricket side like a Jelly Tip is an effective sunhat

Ricky Ponting gets pretty narky when he loses

But then Andrew Symonds, Micheal Clarke, Mike Hussey and Brett Lee aren’t as good as we thought they were. At least Ponting can bat

Australia’s fall is a god send for sports writers and columnists filling word count over the holiday break

Hayden Roulston is a shit hot cyclist on the track and the road, and is just a fucking cool guy

Lance Armstrong is on Twitter

Even the Rugby League World Cup got exciting toward the very end after all

It’s not quite the same without Flem

Juande Ramos isn’t as good as I thought

I had to re-think my dim view of Harry Redknapp

Iain O’Brien is a pretty decent cricketer and blogger

W e can win Olympic golds after all

The Tour De France reached yet another low point despite the cool bikes – roll on 2009

Just getting rid of Bracewell isn’t going to fix everything related learnings include:
It’s nerve-wracking but fun to sit alone in a broom-cupboard-like studio to talk on the radio. I was stoked to be asked, and with with how it came out, managing to get a few pre-rolled zingers in

Bloggers don’t get picked to coach the Black Caps too often

I enjoyed scanning old photos and writing up my fav stadiums and trips

Robbie Deans is a double agent

Even with 15 minutes’ trouble to set up a CafePress store, people don’t buy your shit

PowerPoint is still the best for making cartoons

There’s nothing like a semi-organised cartoon archive

Kids make blogging time scarce – must focus

This year I really enjoyed JRod’s blog, and Hadyn Green’s Field Theory was always good for a Friday afternoon uniform debate. I met Graeme for a beer and to talk tactics. I joined Twitter, quit, and got back on it. This was my first year on a proper domain and on wordpress, and I’m very happy with both.

Thanks to everyone that’s read, commented and linked to  – I hope you’ve enjoyed it. Sometimes this blog feels like a ‘if a tree falls in the forrest, does anyone hear it’ situation, but I love doing it – your participation is much valued. I go by Wil Wheaton’s adage that “it doesn’t matter how many people ‘get’ your work, as long as the right people do’. You’re the right people. Ta.