[content_protector password=”running”]It’s started. The official countdown to the Rugby World Cup 2015. Only 52 days to go! Whoop.

First it was the All Blacks’ trip to Samoa, and then the recent win in South Africa. After both games, when interviewed, the coach Steve Hansen was keen to point towards the world cup in England. Everything they’re doing now builds up to a 2015 win. That’s the All Blacks’ aim.

It’s not mine.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t exactly dislike the All Blacks. Rugby’s alright. I might watch it if it’s on. If you showed me a team photo, I could point out Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu and Sonny Bill Williams. Probably.

But what I don’t like is the expectation that, just because you live in New Zealand, you have to be excited. It’s as if you’re somehow unpatriotic if you don’t drop everything you’re doing and rush in front of the television when the All Blacks are playing.

The All Blacks are a symbol of New Zealand. I live in New Zealand. Therefore the All Blacks are meant to represent me. They’re on adverts for all sorts of companies home and abroad, and recognised all around the world. I’m not sure that’s a good thing…

… because let’s think about the haka. Mention the haka to most people outside New Zealand, they just go, “oh, that’s the thing the All Blacks do before a game”. So, something of such great significance to our culture is reduced to something the All Blacks do before a game – like warming up or practising kicking.

And one last thing… This is how narrow-minded people are in their support of the All Blacks: John Key is currently inviting people up and down the country to offer suggestions for a new New Zealand flag. There probably wouldn’t be much complaint if our current flag was replaced with a silver fern on a black background – with the two words ‘all’ and ‘blacks’ in block capitals underneath. Seriously!

That’s the problem with sports fans. And not just rugby fans. They think that everybody else either shares their passion – or should share their passion.

Please, sports fans, give the rest of us a little respect. By all means go crazy over the build up to your world cup – or whatever other sports event is coming up – but you don’t have to involve us. Let the rest of us get on with our own thing. In peace.

[colored_box color=”green”]This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry amongst your students:  [/colored_box]  [colored_box color=”yellow”]Critical Thinking Challenges:

1. What about the New Zealanders who just aren’t excited by sport? Are they somehow unpatriotic for not caring about the All Blacks (or any of our New Zealand sports teams)?

2. Sport can unite a nation. Do you think this is true?


[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”green”]Practical Task:

1. Write an article opposing this one. Your article must persuade your readers why being an All Blacks supporter is important, and why the country should get behind the All Blacks as they go to compete at the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

2. Explore the official Rugby World Cup website at www.rugbyworldcup.com


[/colored_box] [colored_box color=”red”]Have Your Say: [socialpoll id=”[socialpoll id=”2284908″] [/colored_box]


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