Rugby and Religion

The Rugby World Cup is generating all sorts of interesting discussion on the interaction religion and sport as popular culture. Here are a couple of recent examples:

Updates:

Related to this is the BBC documentary from last year:

BBC iPlayer – Heart And Soul: Is there room for God on the football pitch?

Sport and the Sabbath

Sermon today was on ‘keeping the Sabbath’ which made this article in the Guardian (Six Nations: ‘Rugby is not what fuels my happiness,’ says Euan Murray) more relevant than it might have been another day.

Hat tip to The GA Junkie – an interesting blog in the vagaries of Presbyterianism around the world.

An interesting recent podcast on faith and football can also be found here: BBC – BBC World Service Programmes – Heart And Soul, 06/01/2010 Faith and Football

Junior sport

I’m glad someone finally said this in a public forum. My observations from watching my own kids play sport and the different teams they play is that the comments here aren’t far from the mark for some teams. Sad but true, but the fun of playing is taken out of it. (And don’t get me started on seeing 7 year old kids playing sport in strip covered in so many sponsors’ logos it’s like watching a mob of billboards playing football).

See Junior rugby child’s play no more – Rugby – NZ Herald News.

Also, I caught a few episodes of “The Cup” on TV. A little close to the bone sometimes (just like satire should be).

Go Wellington!

The two best teams in the Air NZ Cup play in the final tonight – Wellington and Canterbury. History tends to favour Canterbury, though I think we’ve got a good chance tonight. As with all these things it will come done to mental preparation and doing the little things right. (Oh, and finding some kryptonite for Richie McCaw :-) ).

The Shield!

The Wellington Lions win the Ranfurly Shield!

And they beat Auckland to do it – even better.
And Auckland score no points – even better.

Well done to the whole team.

Go the Lions!

Of course, I’m in Christchurch and miss all coverage of the game, but first-born and second-born went to the game and had a great time.

End of football season

The kids football (soccer) season ended yesterday with all four playing their final games for the winter season. It’s been a really long haul – practices for second-born started back in early February for a pre-season tournament, with the others close behind in March. And then with the rain delays we’ve only just finished. Good games yesterday too – one cup final (loss), a plate final (win) and two other good games (wins, with both third-born and fourth-born scoring goals). Now we wait to see how what final positions the two older kids’ teams finish with and how that will affect promotion etc. for next season.

It’s been good on the whole, though I’m looking forward to having Saturday mornings back for a few months (assuming other sporting commitments for the kids don’t come up).

LET ‘EM PLAY

A recent issue of ESPN The Magazine has an article on athletes with prosthetics and some commentary asking what really is the difference between various sorts of technological enhancement in sport. See ESPN – ESPN The Magazine – Let ‘Em Play and the photo gallery at ESPN – ESPN The Magazine – Photo Gallery.

Hat tip to Gregor Wolbring at ESPN Magazine focus on Athletes and Prosthetics « Nano, Bio, Info, Cogno, Synthetic bio, NBICS.

A day at the cricket

We went down to Hamilton today to watch day four of the NZ-England cricket test. Great day all round – though the excitement of the NZ second innings collapse could have been done without. Armed with deck chairs, rugs and our chilly bin the 6 of us, plus another 5 staked out an area on the bank and sat back to watch the game. A slow start, which picked up after lunch and then the excitement of the final session.

Is it unique to the Waikato to have people with drenching packs of sunblock walking through the crowd squirting out free sunblock to anyone who wants it?

Highlight of the day for the kids was playing on the field at lunch time. See photos below.

Seddonpark

Lunch-Day4

2008 Super 14 squads

The squads for the 2008 Super 14 (which kicks off 15 Feb) have been announced, and I’m pleased to see that Hawkes Bay’s form in the Air NZ Cup has been rewarded with a number of players making the step up to Super 14. I’d assumed that the Hurricanes would pick up some because the Hawkes Bay union is part of the franchise, but I was surprised to see that Hayden Triggs from Manawatu didn’t make it in (though he was picked up by the Highlanders who really need some forwards this year with people leaving.)

The Hurricanes squad looks a little more dominated by Wellington players than I think the past few squads were (less Taranaki players, and some who’ve moved from Taranaki to Wellington in the past few years), and there are no draft players in there for the first time I can remember. I’m always optimistic about the ‘Canes and I like the look of the squad, though they need to improve on last seasons performance that promised much and delivered less.

Squad details at AllBlacks.com : 2008 Rebel Sport Super 14 squads announced and Rugby: 2008 Super 14 squads announced – 31 Oct 2007 – NZ Herald: New Zealand and International Sport News coverage.

No surrender, no retreat

I’d given up hope that the New Zealand sevens rugby team could win this year’s IRB Sevens title. The losses to Fiji in semi-finals and finals through the year were painful to watch. But they didn’t stop believing and didn’t give up trying to win, and today the opportunity presented itself to take the Edinburgh tournament and overall title. Well done for not giving up.

See New Zealand snatch Fiji’s Sevens crown – Rugby News, Results, Fixtures and Features from Planet-Rugby.com.

Pop culture reference: No Surrender, No Retreat.