Yo Ho Ho (Cup)

Where’s a pirate ship when you need one? The high seas, or even the low seas at the end of the street where I work are in need of some zest at the moment.

It’s supposed to be exciting, but quite frankly, Mr Skankly, I am finding it all rather dull and boring. Rock on. If it was a religion, people would be sending deprogrammers to get their children back. It’s one of those opiates of the masses. It’s supposed to be really good for the local economy, but no one seems to know exactly how.

It, the yacht race that dare not speak its name, is the America’s Cup. For all you Americans out there, the America’s Cup is a yacht race. The object of it is to win. The prize is a cup, but like those cups they awarded when I was at school, you can only keep it for as long as you’re the winner. If you lose the next time you have to give it back.

I remember when the New Zealand boat won the Cup back in 1995. It was simpler back then. Holy, pure, angelic Peter Blake and Team New Zealand, versus that dark, evil bastard Dennis Conner. People had it spelled out for them who they were to support. Ambivalence was a fate worse than death. People bought the allegedly lucky red socks because, not unlike a charity, Team New Zealand needed cash. It was not made clear at the time if the socks were lucky for Team New Zealand or the wearer of the socks.

Team New Zealand had the cup and it was decided that there would be no defender series, so that ruled out the Raglan yacht club getting a shot at it.

2000 came and oh-my-God, the Evil Bastard and his team didn’t win the challenger series. Instead some nice young Italians, the Prada team, did. They were a very popular win, too.

The nation was thrown into a state of confusion. The Prada team were charming and good looking. Much more handsome than the Team New Zealand blokes who are about as appealing as a bunch of bogan farm hands. Hating Dennis Conner was easy, but hating the Prada team proved to be near impossible.

People say that yachting is a rich white man’s sport. That’s exactly what it is. A game of football requires a group of people, a ball and some grass. A yachting race requires cash and lots of it.

It’s been sold to New Zealanders as a patriotic sport worthy of their love because New Zealand is a country that suffers from an inferiority complex and anything that can make New Zealanders feel a bit more important or special about themselves and their country is welcomed.

So if Team New Zealand wins there will no doubt be much merriment and celebration (“The America’s Cup is still New Zealand’s cup!”) and there’ll probably be victory parades up and down the country (Will there be a repeat of the 1995 parade in Auckland with the white parade watchers followed by the brown street sweepers?) And everyone will talk about how good this is for the country and people will try and work out how they can knight Peter Blake a second time.

If Team New Zealand doesn’t win there will be lots of introspection and a bit of “Oh well, they tried hard.” It’ll get blamed on the national sporting teams current alleged losing streak and a vow that they’ll be back.

It’s good for the economy, y’know. Har har!

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