Sports Non-Fiction posted October 31, 2014


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All Blacks at Soldier Field

by kiwisteveh


For a country with a population about half that of New York City, New Zealand has a long and proud sporting history. Many Kiwis are sports nuts and give them half a chance they will harangue anyone willing to listen about our middle distance runners - Lovelock, Snell, Halberg, Dixon, Walker - our racehorses - Phar Lap, Kiwi, Sunline - the list goes on.

We have a female shot-putter unbeaten in 53 international events, a teenage golf prodigy, and flocks of cyclists, rowers, kayakers, triathletes, horse riders and yachties who all box above their weight on the world stage. Did I mention mountain biking, mountaineering, BMX, motor racing and those crazy people who fly through the air tenuously attached to motor-bikes?

Most of all though, Kiwis are proud of their world champion rugby team, the all-conquering All Blacks. I won't bore you with the statistics, but rest assured they only go to prove that we are consistently the best at this rough and tumble sport of agility, power and skill, supposedly invented when English schoolboy William Webb Ellis of Rugby School picked up the soccer ball and ran with it.

This year, on their way to meet real opposition in the UK, the All Blacks are stopping off in Chicago where they will deign to play the USA Eagles at Soldier Field in Chicago in front of a sell-out crowd of 60,000.

There is little doubt as to the final result. The Eagles are ranked 18th in the world and while the All Blacks are making appropriate noise about 'treating them with respect' and 'we mustn't underestimate them', they have named a team which will blood a few new players and give match practice to a couple of stars returning from injury.

However, don't expect any favours from this well-drilled and professional outfit. A couple of months ago our basketball team, the Tall Blacks, managed to scrape into the second round of the World Championships before falling to one of the powerful European countries. Meanwhile the USA was quietly cruising to inevitable victory. Now the shoe is on the other foot, you can expect a fairly hefty kick, perhaps as powerful as one from our record-breaking goal-kicker Daniel Carter on Saturday night.

Tune into NBC and take a look - the traditional pre-game haka alone is worth the price of admission!


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The 'haka' is a Maori war dance and chant. The All Blacks traditionally perform this before each game as a challenge to the opposing team, as in the photo above, or you can listen and watch at
http://youtu.be/4Gbj_ig09WQ
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