Letters home, 1999, June 30

30 June 1999


Did you hear that the Welsh beat the South Africans in the Rugby for the first time ever. I assume that since you haven’t mentioned it that you haven’t but I would have thought that it would have made the BBC news at least!! Still – I suppose there are other world events going on and rugby isn’t everything over there like it is here. Ian Jones is off to play for Gloucester after the World Cup. Was announced on the news last night as a prominent item. Funny the perspective NZers have on news – still I guess the ABs are our Spice Girls!!


Come back Graham Henry, all is forgiven!

The Welsh victory wasn’t exactly scintillating, but it did have more tries than the Springbox, so it was well deserved. After the very poor run of results, caused by their very poor playing, it’s good to see the Welsh coming back. It’s also good to see a fine NZ coach working his magic. It also shows just how important good coaching is.

The All Blacks beat a very poor French side soething like 54-7, but then the French were beaten by the Tongans, too. And the Aus beat England. Didn’t see any of the matches locally. Sky has them all locked up.. Good news, though, rugby is not renewing its Sky contract. All the GB teams – I guess except the French – will be shown on BBC. Now that’s cool, except that it’s two years away.

Just a note; as soon as you let politics enter sport, your team starts losing. There’s only one way to run a sport and that’s on results. Look at the Windies. Killed by politics. Look at the Welsh – once GH got the politics out of the sport, they start winning. You don’t need a huge population base to select your team from, and you don’t need brilliant individuals, tho you do need very good ones. You need results-focussed people from the very top all the way down.

Our news is full of Manchester United pulling out of the FA cup so they can play in a World Clubs Cup (as apposed to nations.) It’s in Brazil thisyear and if Man U don’t go, it’s likely that England won’t get World Cup 2006. Fifa is behind the Clubs Cup and if Man U don’t go, Verda Bremen will, and they are next most likely to get the World Cup after England.
Anyway, the FA Cup is worth a few bob to Man U, but the World Club Cup will be worth millions. That’ll make the stockholders happy. It’s just that the locals will miss out on their team playing in front of them. Who cares? It isn’t the locals who pay Man U’s wages! It’s a funny old world, all right.

Hey! Thinking of sport. I’ve been running miles because you can’t run km’s here. The car only records miles. So I’ve measured a 4ml run. It’s round the block, so I go uphill all the way out and downhill all the way back. Going uphill slows down the total trip in comparison to the whole trip being on flat ground, because you use more energy going uphill than you make up then you come downhill. Anyway, at the moment it’s 4 miles and on Monday I ran it in 31:27. Today it was 30:22. I checked my maths and that’s 6km in 28:28, so I looked up my diary, and my previous best 6km was 27:24. So I’m improving since arriving here, but still a bit to go. My aim is the whole 4ml in 28 minutes; that’s 7 min per mile. It sounds slow, doesn’t it, but it’s 4 min 23 sec per km, for 6.4km, half of it a very bitter uphill drag.

I’ve just had a look at that target and it’s pretty well on the limit, all right. It would mean I’d have to do 4:23 km’s which means a 3km time of 13:08 ….. ooh (twice).

I told one of my agency people who rang me just as I got in – that I’d just been for a 4ml run, not what the time was – and she said, “It’s time you got a job.” Well, I’ve got eleven agencies I ring every morning, something’s got to give. Please let it be soon.