<i>What's so wrong with being naked?</i>

22:32, Feb 01 2009

I have an inkling I know why the national provincial sevens tournament in Queenstown is such an enjoyable event for all involved.

It's just a theory, but I'm going to chuck it out there.

The annual tournament is run and organised predominantly by volunteers; people who have a passion for rugby and the Queenstown region.

There isn't anyone there trying to prove their worth and justify their jobs.

The spectators are treated as valued customers, which is something I believe other sporting bodies in New Zealand could learn from, most notably cricket.

When spectators turn up to an international cricket game these days, they are watched like a hawk by some wannabe cop for the majority of the day.


A line of hired goons stand with their arms folded, dark sunglasses on, looking ever so eager to turf someone out of the ground.

It quickly becomes an "us and them" battle between the spectators and those hired goons and this, I feel, is where the trouble starts.

As for the sevens, there weren't any of those bulky blokes ready to enforce the law, just a bunch of Queenstown guys keeping an eye on proceedings with a commonsense approach.

A Southland lad made the naked dash across the Queenstown Recreation Ground on Sunday, much to the amusement of the crowd.

Most of the the security folk saw the funny side of it before eventually someone gave chase and advised the bare-backside runner he probably should put his clothes back on.

There wasn't any large-framed guy taking a two-foot takeoff and showing off his ability to tackle hard.

The male spectators in the crowd were even more pleased with the security boys when the second streaker took to the field.

The young lady ran gleefully around the ground without anyone giving chase. Her moment in the sun, so to speak, came to an end when she eventually got sick of the antic and went searching for her clothes, which happened to be just in front of where the news media were.

The organisers' refreshing approach to running a sporting event reflected in the lack of trouble.

Not one arrest was made in Queenstown on Saturday, which suggests giving the customers, the spectators, a longer leash wasn't that harmful.

I will say, though, the Queenstown crowd needs to work much harder on inventive dress-ups during the festival weekend.

Only the Invercargill "boy" scouts made any real effort and the four Invercargill lasses reaped the rewards.

They won first, second and third prize in the dress-up competition a total prize of $1500 of Air New Zealand vouchers.


The Southland Times