Friday, 13 August 2010

A sporting dilemma

cmrfu-crest-embossed Here’s a sporting story with both a dilemma and a moral. And a Ranfurly Shield.  Let’s start with the dilemma.

But first, some history.  Once upon a time in a land to the south of Auckland there was a small and plucky team from the south of Auckland called Counties, who attracted the support of folk like me who liked to support their local team, and liked to support a battler.  They gave us a lot of fun over the years (NPC win in 1979; two Grand Finals in 1996 and 1997) , and also a lot of heartache (demotion; relegation; last-minute Ranfurly Shield losses) but never a Ranfurly Shield win.

And then, at the start of the professional era, our team was taken away from us.  The dismemberment began between that Grand Final of 1997 and the Super 14 final of the next year, when the Auckland Blues played Canterbury’s Crusaders, a final which ended with eight Counties players on one side and seven on the other, and a stand full of Counties fans with no idea who to cheer for—a metaphor for what was to follow as our players were quietly hoovered up by the Rugby Union’s more favoured teams, and by other teams around the world: Joeli and Jonah to Auckland; a clutch to Waikato and Canterbury and Otago; and Tony Marsh to France. (About eight internationals emerged first at Counties before being snaffled up by others.)

So when Counties were finally demoted in 2001 after a season when even Northland beat us, many Counties fans began to feel our team had been taken away from us, the game was being changed into something else in any case, and and we began to quietly give up on the game altogether.  Go Counties. Yeah right.

And then in just three short weeks this year something changed. First they knocked off Otago; then they knocked off Wellington. And now, from the top of the first-division table, Counties all of a sudden gets to play Southland for the Shield—with a definite chance to win it for the very first time!

Woo bloody hoo!

So what’s the dilemma? Well, it’s this. How do you go from bitching and whinging and finally giving up on your team, to all of a sudden yelling for them again without making yourself like a prize dick.  Answer is:  you can’t. So fuck it, I’m a dick. 

Go Counties.

So have you guessed the moral by now?

It’s this; as Winston Churchill once said,

_Quote Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in...

Even as a fan: don’t give in, and don’t give up on your team. Even if your team is taken away, even if the region’s main paper can’t be bothered reporting them properly (so what’s changed), even if the Rugby Union tries to kill them off, never, never, never give up on them.  Because they might just turn around and surprise you.


  1. Being a Manawatu man, I watched in delight when the green-and-whites scraped home in 1977. I was at Eden Park for the classic shield match against Auckland in 1979 where Counties again stole defeat from the jaws of victory. I wish them well for tomorrow evening, and hope that they can get the monkey off their back.

  2. yes take it Counties, create some history, so that you can create some more when you lose it to Hawkes Bay...
    so you will have my support against Manawatu, Tasman, Northland, North Harbour, and finally Auckland, not a great task to ask at all...LOL
    go the Bay...magpies will endure

  3. Go Counties!! It has been difficult over the years having played for Rewa for so long, to watch them slide into decline.

    I still have an issue with the spud farmers being in control and no stadium in Manukau where it should be.


  4. Try being a Wellington and Hurricanes supporter. Even Churchill would have been inclined to reverse his V sign. 9 tries against Counties last year and, per Jamie Joseph got "outpassioned" this year to lose.
    Peter - refugee in Auck

  5. to quote a famous Amercian Governor "not to be"....

    Shame, hope you enjoyed the game all the same

  6. Bugger.

    Yes, I did enjoy the game. Apart from that forward pass...

  7. @DavidH: Yep, instead of that glorified fale at the Manukau motorway interchange, that should have been a stadium.

    But I have a weakness for a good stadium.


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