On Wednesday morning, I dragged myself out of bed before dawn and went to meet a friend for a regular, patriotic and ultimately tragic ceremony.
Anzac Day? What Anzac Day? I’m talking about the cricket World Cup semi-final.
It’s a hard thing, being a fan of the New Zealand cricket team. Unlike say, supporting the All Blacks or Manchester United, you aren’t guaranteed a steady stream of trophies. No cushy flow of victories with the Black Caps, oh no. It’s a rollercoaster of hopes raised and hopes shattered.
Inzamam ul-Haq in 1992. The nine-wicket slaughter of 1999. And now, our best chance of winning the World Cup, with a team boasting perhaps the world’s best strike bowler in Shane Bond, quality spinners and a hatful of hard-hitting allrounders, has ended with a thumping by Sri Lanka. Bond chose the most important game to have far and away his worst performance of the cup, the spinners were helpless in the face of a brilliant Mahela Jayawardene century, and then our normally gutsy middle order folded like workaholic mail clerks.
No team’s flattery is quite as deceiving. Well, except the South Africans. We can rely on them to choke even more spectacularly.
At least that’s something.