Last weekend here in NZ was a long weekend. Sunday was also the final of the Rugby World Cup. A cup the All Blacks (NB this is the name of the national team) had not won since the inaugural world cup in 1987. Even though they are generally considered the best team in the world year after year, when it cam to the WC, we will inevitable play a shocker, or luck was against us and home ward bound we would come with no cup in hand.....sigh........and I mean big sigh. We are a rugby mad nation.
On Saturday, the day before the final I went for a big long ride on the GS, exploring some back roads up north and visiting some of the Western beaches. It was a great day, and in the end I had done 400kms. The ride included some gravel, almost took it on the beach, but the entrance over the sand dunes was soft and until I get some nobbles fitted I was happy just to handle the easy gravel.
So Sunday arrives, the tension through out the country was, well, audible. We were in the final, but the opposition was , bugger it, the FRENCH! The french had twice before beaten us in world cups and sent us packing. They always seem to play there best against us. They had performed poorly in this world cup, but some how they had made it to the final. The All Blacks had beaten them in pool play convincingly, yet this was the final, anything could and would happen. I spent the day cooking....cooking ...and cooking...marinate steak, baked a sponge cake,(two actually first one ended in the bin) chocolate fudge, scollop potatoes......I had to do some to ease my fragile nerves!
You probably all know that we did win, by an agonising score of 8-7........I swear I lost ten years off my life that night. The country erupted, celebrations not seen in this country ever, and I mean ever. It was awesome and it has lifted the spirits of this land for sure. During the game not one single emergency call was made, there was no traffic any where to be seen . The country quite literally stopped.
It was after the game when I turned on the computer that I read of Marco Simoncelli's death. It felt strangle weird to be celebrating one minute and feeling awful the next. These moto GP riders are an amazing bread of people. The skill and entertainment they display often leaves me speechless. I liked watching Marco, he had a great personality and a real spirit about him. I was deeply saddened by his death.