Salute to lost soldiers and good sports

23:00, Aug 05 2012

And I was having such a good weekend too. It began on Friday night when I was invited to the 21st of a fine young man named Konrad Hurrell. I really enjoyed the Polynesian culture and it was a quite a do.

It was very humbling to have been invited and I confess to feeling a bit of pride about having been on the guest list.

Then, like the rest of the country, my eyes filled with tears as I watched our rowers at the Olympics. A gold here, a bronze there, some more gold. It was unbelievable.

And then on Saturday I watched the Chiefs become Super Rugby champions and was on cloud nine.
But when I woke up on Sunday morning to the news some of our soldiers had been killed in Afghanistan it put it all in perspective.

I have no idea about the rights and wrongs of being involved in that country but I have nothing but admiration for the troops who put their lives on the line. What value a gold medal or a footy title next to those young lives?

So by the time I got to Mt Smart it’s fair to say my mood was not brilliant and it didn’t get any better when the Vodafone Warriors were lambs to the slaughter against Cronulla, losing 45-4 in what has to be our worst performance of the year.

There is no way to sugarcoat it, it was absolutely awful. Yes, we have had a shocking run with injuries, a run that got worse on Sunday when we lost James Maloney with a knee injury, but I have not lost faith in our new coach Brian McClennan.

I know he’s the man for the job and while I have no idea what’s going wrong, he and I go back a long way, and he will find it and fix it.

And then on Monday morning we wake to the news that Olympic shot putter Valerie Adams had not even been registered to compete. Talk about a mistake. I had a text from her manager, who at least said it was all fixed and she was ready to go, but what a terrible distraction before competing.

To say I am fond of Val is like saying I’m partial to meat. I’ve come to know her well over the years and she’s someone I’ve come to like very much, and more than that, admire.

I’m looking forward to her book, which is being written by my old mate Phil Gifford, and if you thought Sir Graham Henry told it straight in his book, I’m told Val is even more upfront and leaves nothing out.

She is a South Auckland girl, one of us, and no matter what happens over in London, she is already gold.
The museum’s last weekend in Manurewa went off with a bang and we are now in the process of packing everything up ready to move it over to Mt Smart.

But before I can do that, I have to pack my own bag because Janice and I are off to Queenstown with Air NZ for the wedding of former All Black Tom Donnelly, and we’re looking forward to catching up with Jimmy Cowan and a few of the other boys.

So I wish them all well, Tom, Bluey in fixing my beloved Vodafone Warriors, Val and all our other Olympic athletes, but most especially the families, friends and loved ones of those young soldiers in Afghanistan.