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James Clark



A new year, a new sports writer and another whole new round of sporting competition. I’m a bit of tradesman when it comes to sport. I’ve done it all and mastered none. I’ve played rugby, soccer, hockey, cricket, basketball, lacrosse, waterpolo, kayaking and god knows what else. So expect it all this year, and oh boy, it’s going to be an exciting one with the climax of the Olympics later on. But already we’ve seen a lot of action in the sporting field this year, so much that we’ll just look at the highlights to give you a reminder of what you saw and maybe what you missed.
We saw the Black Sox win the world softball championship, which was also marred by accusations of us stealing the Canadians hand signals. A Coast to Coast where many competitors failed to finish in atrocious weather and some were airlifted off the course, and the legendary Steve Gurney failed to take his tenth victory. The NZ sevens team won their home round here in Wellington, and then also won the following week in Los Angeles. The Black Caps beating Pakistan to win the series 4-1. Tunisia winning the African Cup of Nations on their home ground. The Australian Open, with all its injuries and woes, and Andre Agassi not making the final. The upset victory of the Chiefs over the Hurricanes. Jonah Lomu and his kidney problems. The Halberg Awards, with the Silver Ferns taking the Supreme Award and Ben Fouhy taking out best sportman of the year, which avoided the Russell Coutts controversy. That’s just the first two months of the year and there’s so much more to come.
But this week we’ll take a look at something closer to home. It’s Orientation and while first years are wandering the corridors, others are reading Salient in their lectures because they know better. So we’ll check out the world of sport at Vic. Sure, most people come to uni to study to improve the academic ability of their mind, but it’s also important to stay fit and many a quote has been uttered about the importance of maintaining a balanced lifestyle. So I’m encouraging as many of you to join a sport as possible. This Thursday is Sports Clubs Day in the Quad, it’s your chance to get along to sign up for all the sports you want to do; tramping, skiing, dragon boating, hockey, debating and the list goes on. Even if the sport isn’t there, it’s not hard to start up a club and get it going yourself. So there are no excuses. Joining a club is a great way to meet people, stay fit, and challenge yourself.
It’s also a great way to get to the Uni Games. This is one of the biggest events of the year and this time it’s being held in Otago, so it’s going to be huge. It’s a gigantic sports fest with a whole lot of drinking (or maybe it’s a gigantic drinking fest with a whole lot of sport). Everyone who goes talks about it all year – at least what they remember of it. And it’s a fantastic chance to see everyone from other unis, it’s also, believe it or not, a great chance to play some top sport. For those less competitive or less skilled people, there are also a bunch of social teams that make it along as well.
Uni Games aren’t till the first holidays in April, so there’s lots of time for other sports between now and then. There are two sports which take pride of place in many students’ lives at this time of year. The first being drinking, and those who doubt this is a sport just need to watch the faces of those involved in a boat race – the grit, the determination, the agony of defeat, the thrill of victory – it’s all there. The second being that sport which often flows from drinking; the game of scoring. This too must be counted as a sport. It follows so closely to the sport of fishing that it almost deserves its own tv show [uh, it has several – ed]. Many a man will cast a line with several hooks hoping that at least one fish will bite, some play it courageously with all their luck on one hook. Others try their hand at fly-fishing, casting their hook numerous times around the same fish hoping it will bite. Others still play a different game; they lay nets and will take anything that comes their way. But no matter how the fishing goes, there’s reassurance that there’s always more fish in the sea. And there’s always more sport in the year, so get signed up and get active.