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Showing posts from May, 2007

4 Year Cycles

Have you ever noticed that the Olympics fall every four years as do most sports in terms of world cups e.g. soccer, rugby, cricket etc.

Now that is a great idea in one sense as it makes it very special to win one. The problem is that it makes winning one of these events rather based too much on luck rather than on skill.

Take an athlete who gets a slight injury just before the Olympics (e.g. Sarah Ulmer in 2000) and thus it is 8 years between opportunities. Or take a rugby team that has a key player injured (Tana Umaga in 2003) at the wrong time or gets food poisoning before a final (All Blacks 1995) or has a one off shocker despite being the dominant team for the years before and after (1999, 2003 All Blacks). In addition, as we see in rugby of late, the internationals between world cups are being devalued because it is world cup or bust. The latest French team to come here is a joke!

I think we should look at a different model for judging greatness in sport rather than basing it on one…

Is NZ a Christian Country?

Brian Tamaki is in the news again, this time questioning the statement on diversity on the basis that NZ is a Christian country. So what does the statement say?

Statement on Religious Diversity
New Zealand is a country of many faiths with a significant minority who profess no religion. Increasing religious diversity is a significant feature of public life.

At the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840, Governor Hobson affirmed, in response to a question from Catholic Bishop Pompallier, "the several faiths (beliefs) of England, of the Wesleyans, of Rome, and also Maori custom shall alike be protected". This foundation creates the opportunity to reaffirm an acknowledgement of the diversity of beliefs in New Zealand.
Christianity has played and continues to play a formative role in the development of New Zealand in terms of the nation's identity, culture, beliefs, institutions and values.

New settlers have always been religiously diverse, but only recently have the numbers of…

Survivor Fiji, Dreamz and Ethical Dilemmas

If you have been watching Survivor Fiji as I have, you will have seen an amazing ethical dilemma unfold. A few weeks ago the contestants played a reward challenge for a car. Dreamz, an African American ex-homeless young man, had expressed his desire to win the car. At the challenge however, Yau Man a really amazing Asian man won the car. After the challenge he offered to give the car to Dreamz on one condition; that if Dreamz and he were together in the last four, and if Dreamz won the immunity challenge, that he would give immunity to Yau Man. At this point Dreamz agreed, swearing in the name of God and his son that he would honour the commitment. He also restated that he was a man of his word and wanted his son to see that.

Well as it played out, Dreamz did win what turned out to be the final immunity challenge and was in the position envisaged at the giving of the car. When the crunch came at Tribal Council, Dreamz chose not to honour his word. He realised if he did give immunity to…

The 2007 All Blacks Mark 1

So I was close. I missed Schwalger in the props.

I missed Hore at hooker; I should have realised they would go for him.

I got the locks. I am surprised at the loosies with Luaki missing out!

I am pleased Leonard got in, but I didn't think they would pick him yet... he is a rare talent. I feel sorry for Jimmy Cowan who has been in great form.

I am glad they went for Evans and not Donald; I am a great fan of Evans and believe Donald has some serious deficiencies.

The second fives picked themselves; Mauger and McAlister.

Great to see Toeava and Smith together; two styles at centre. I feel sorry for Nonu however; he is a game breaker.

So Howlett got the nod ahead of Gear at wing. Fair enough, he has played very well. I am not sure that he is a better option. Great to see Rokocoko in; he has been poorly treated at the Blues and I am confident he will be back to being the worlds number 1 or 2 again asap. I wonder if Smith is so brilliant that we are erring in promoting him; he could be a brill…

Van Dyk and Silver Ferns

Irene Van Dyk is not playing well. Her performances in England this week have been far below her brilliant best. She is the greatest team sportswoman I have ever seen but, is this the beginning of the end? Our mid court is a problem. Why we have to go back and pick a 36 year old even if she is a fine player. At her peak, she, Leslie Nicholl and Anna Rowberry were consistently out performed by the Australians; why bring her back now? Where are the young mid courters with pace and flair? Tutaia is sensational as is Casey Williams.

Having said that Irene is not playing well... she is not being fed well and the opposition defenders are getting away with murder. As I said in an earlier blog, they need a card system to stop blatant cheating. I thought the Aussie defenders played more cleanly; the English were a disgrace as was Anna Scarlett! Get on top of this netball!

I am concerned about the World Cup. They will have to get a speedier midcourt and get Irene and Tutaia working well. It shoul…

All Black Team Prediction

In 45 minutes the AB's will be named. Here is my team:

Fullbacks: MacDonald, Muliaina
Wings: Sivivatu, Rokocoko, Gear
Centres: Smith, Tuiava
2nd Fives: McAlistar, Mauger
1st Fives: Carter, Evans
Half Backs: Weepu, Kelleher, Cowan
Nos 8: So'oailo, Lauaki
Flankers: McGaw, Collins, Masoe, Thorne
Locks: Williams, Jack, Flavell, Robinson
Props: Woodcock, Haymen, Tialata, Afoa
Hookers: Mealamu, Oliver, Whitcombe

We could see Muliaina at centre; but who would then be the other full back (Hamilton?; Howlett?)
Howlett may make wing? I would like to see Smith in there..
Nonu could knock Smith out.
Donald may be a bolter at first five
Leonard could be a bolter at halfback ahead of Cowan
Tuialii could be number eight with Lauaki at flanker for Thorne
Rawlinson could be lock and Flavell flanker for Thorne.
The fourth prop could be Demody, Schwalger, Crockett?
The third hooker could be Hore or Willis

We will see in 32 minutes

Attention Sports and Free to Air TV

I am one of the those people who do not subscribe to Sky TV. It is simply too expensive with our family costs. I live my life following sport on the net, papers, radio etc. It is a tragedy to me that I cannot watch at any reasonable time (except one game every Saturday night) the rugby, league, cricket, soccer, golf and other sports which are exclusively on Sky Sport. I think it is also destructive to the sports involved. A generation of NZer's are growing up who really do not get to watch these sports. This will affect playing numbers I think over time.

There is thus a gap in the Free to Air world for lesser known sports to make their move for the hearts of NZer's. There are some who do like surf lifesaving, motor sport and netball who retain their Free to Air commitment. What I am advocating is that those of you in minor sports like hockey, lacrosse, athletics, swimming, triathlon, biathlon, cycling etc move decisively to fill Free to Air TV with your products. This would mea…

Joe Karam

I heard more on Joe Karam on TV discussions last night. He said in an interview that he has spent 10million dollars of his own money on fighting for David Bain. He suggested that many of us have our Everest's and perhaps this was his.

This leads me to reiterate the point of my last blog; Joe Karam is a modern day example of what it means to give himself to a cause in the name of justice.

He has copped a lot of flack. I have heard that many of his old sporting buddies from his All Black and League days have given him grief. Talk show hosts and commentators have effectively written him off. The legal profession have treated him in many cases with disdain. Yet due to his sacrifice, David Bain is now going to be freed.

Interestingly he reported too that David Bain when he leaves jail will move into Joe Karam's own home! This guy is a phenomenon! Not only has he worked to free him, he is waiting on the other side. The guy comes out to nothing; his life has been taken away. Yet, he has…

Statues

I heard an interesting discussion today on Radio Sport about putting statues of prominent NZ sporting icons up at grounds. We move ever closer to true idolatry with sport in this nation. I love sport, but it must remain sport. The real stuff of life is found in people's struggles to provide, to live, to overcome pain. As I look around the world at Iraq, Zimbabwe etc, I realise that sport is just sport. Let's keep it in its right place; a wonderful expression of humanity; a way to release tension and experience competition; a far better option than war... It is just a game

Blues vs Sharks; Bulls vs Crusaders

So I should give my view of what will happen in these games tonight. I think they will be both won by the South African sides. I think the combination of the Ali Williams affair; Nucifora's wierd approaches to selection including the failure to start with all the All Blacks since they returned and especially for this game Ali Williams, Mealamu and Rokocoko; the injury to Luke McAlister; the failure to select a kicking back in the Blues esp. David Holwell; the home-ground advantage; the quality of the Sharks and the South African determination with their first home semi-final; the heat and humidity of Durban means that the Blues have little hope tonight. I expect them to be competitive but in the end fall short.

The Crusaders similarly will be well beaten by a team running at full throttle, on the Veldt, with the passion of a crazy home crowd and the advantage this will bring. Contrary to others, I think the Crusaders have the better chance. However, without Sommerville, Crockett; w…

David Bain

It is no surprise to me that David Bain has received a favourable result from the Privy Council. It is patently obvious that he is a victim of injustice not necessarily on the basis of clear innocence, but on the basis of the principle that such a decision must be found 'without reasonable doubt'.

Should he have another trial? No way! It would cause an uproar and with the course of time and the prejudice now involved in the case, be impossible to get any level of clarity of objectivity into it.

Should he receive compensation? Absolutely. His life has been destroyed including his home, his hopes, his eductation, his reputation, his hopes of marriage and family. I say about 10 million dollars or there-abouts.

Should we be worried about our justice system? Absolutely. I am deeply concerned. The biblical principles of 2-3 witnesses as per Deut 19:15, I am deeply concerned. When one considers Peter Ellis, David Bain and serious doubts about Scott Watson; we have to ask whether our sys…

Rugby World Cup Final

Without doubt the World Cup final will be battled out between the All Blacks and South Africa. The performance of the Bulls and Sharks indicates that this year we will see the genesis of a great South African team. The All Blacks are in the third year of greatness. It will be a clash of the titans with a mature team against a young team on the rise. Who will win? Can't say yet. We will have to see how the two teams scrub up in the Tri-Nations.

One of the questions is; is this All Black team still rising, at the top or on the decline. This will be revealed as the year unfolds. It will also depend on injuries, refereeing, goal kicking, how France scrub up (they could be the wildcard) and on the day sort of stuff.

But mark my words, as I see it, it will be an All Black South Africa final calling to mind the halcyon days of 1921, 1937, 1949, 1956, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1976 and 1981! South Africa are back and this could mean a resumption of the great days of All Black - Springbok clashes wi…

Netball Physicality

Today I sat down and watched the Magic (Waikato) play the Auckland based franchise the Diamonds in netball. It was a really good game with the Diamonds pipping the Magic rather surprisingly. Maria Tutaia was sensational in the circle for the Diamonds. The defences were rugged with Casey Williams playing very well.

What struck me was the way in which the Diamonds dealt with Irene van Dyk. Now I write as a Diamonds fan and supporter, but was totally shocked with the failure of the umpires to deal with the continuous contacts and over defending on the part of the two defenders Anna Scarlet and Stephanie Bond. They were all over her, contacting her, knocking the ball out of her hands and continuously breaking the rule to disrupt her. It worked but I think it ruined the game. The

Magic couldn't get the ball to her. I noticed the same tactics in Invercargill last week with the Sting and in the most recent games with Australia. I think the rules and umpiring are failing to stop perpetual o…

Chapel Last Week, Wilberforce and Abortion

At the BCNZ chapel last week our principal Mark Strom gave a great address on William Wilberforce using clips from the upcoming movie on his life and speaking about the need for us as the people of God to take on great social issues of our day as he did with slavery. I asked at the end of the chapel what the social issue of our day is.

On a global scale there are some monster social issues like poverty, human rights, disease, child-oppression, slavery, oppression of women, the legacy of war, global warming and more. Perhaps poverty and the death of a child every 3 seconds is the greatest problem the world faces. On a national level there is the growing divide between rich and poor and the associated problems of illness, life-expectancy, illiteracy, family violence and violence against children and other issues and especially among Maori and Pacific Islanders.

Yet for me perhaps the biggest issue certainly in the west, remains abortion. The Scriptures speak of God working in a human life…

New Zealand at the World Cup

It is hard to know whether to feel good or bad about the NZ performance at the Cup. On the one hand they made the semi's and performed very well up until the last few games destroying England, the West Indies and South Africa.

On the other hand they flattered to decieve, losing decisively to Sri Lanka, Australia and Sri Lanka again in the semi. In the end, when the pressure came on, they did not rise up.

Over all I am deeply disappointed. In none of these important games did they compete. The losses to Sri Lanka were particularly disappointing because it was the same bogies that came home to destroy them; Murali, Malinga, Jayasuriya, Sangikara. Surely after playing Sri Lanka repeatedly for the last 3 years we could have done better. Then Fleming's over-confidence which served only to motivate Jayawardena etc! He has egg all over his face in my view.

Then there were the disappointing performances of Bond, Vetorri, Fleming, MacMillan, McCullem, Oram and co in the games that mattere…

Technology and Cricket

Why on earth does cricket not use technology more?

It is great that they use technologies to adjudicate run outs, stumpings and the legitimacy of catches. I say why not go further and use it for caught behinds and for LBW's.

Anti-technology proponents argue it will slow the game down. How could it possibly? The game is already slow. It will give us something to look at in between balls. In most cases one or two quick looks brings clarity.

Another protest is that the LBW technology is not perfect yet. After watching cricket for the last 30 years I have to say it is more accurate than umpires! They haven't got a clue!

Similarly the extreme close up and use of audio technology to hear sound makes caught behinds far more accurate through technology.

I say get the umpire to go upstairs when it is unclear. The third umpire could even communicate to the on-field umpire when they feel something should get a second look.

I know NZ were slaughtered by Sri Lanka at the World Cup and they have …

Cricket World Cup: What can we learn?

So Australia won the cricket world cup as I predicted on Monday 29 January in this blog. It was not even close; the truth is, they demolished the world! The supposedly next best in the world South Africa, the Kiwi's, the Sri Lankans and more swept aside. Hayden, Ponting, and all the bowlers were sublime. And when it really matters Gilchrist does what only Gilchrist can! So what can we learn.

1. Australia are the very best nation in the world.
2. Even with the retirement of Warne and now McGrath they will remain number one.
3. Pakistan, India and others need to sort their collective acts out. When one considers how many people play cricket in these nations, their performances were disappointing.
4. South Africa could not handle the pressure. I thought it was tragic that they felt that they had to play differently to win the semi against Australia. They tried to smash the Aussies instead of trusting themselves. This indicates that they were psyched out.
5. NZ for the fifth time could not…

Smacking, Unity and Witness

I have to say I was really sad when I saw the news yesterday as the smacking debate came to a head.

What grieved me was not the result as much as the disunity of the Christian Church before the world.

On the one hand you had Brian Tamaki and others from Destiny and others protesting outside Parliament buildings. They are totally convinced that smacking is God's will and that the Government must not intervene in family life. So convinced are they, that they are prepared to travel from all over the country to protest against the bill.

On the other hand there was another group of others who too name themselves Christian in a church declaring their support for the bill equally convinced that the bill is good for NZ, that smacking must be outlawed.

As I have said in an earlier blog, I think that smacking should not be outlawed as gentle to firm smacking that does no more than correct the child in a loving environment as a last resort is permissible. However, I respect Sue Bradford and othe…