BOXING: Well, it ain't rocket surgery, is it? Or, come to that, brain science. Two fit and strong men get together in a square roped-off ring, and proceed to batter the be-jesus out of each other. Actually, not to be sexist in any way, two men or women: it's fascinating that the sport is now attracting a lot of female fighters. (I was always amused by the commentators in the Olympics talking about boxing bouts, but never fights... and talking about judo players. Players? They fought, guys. Wrestlers, judo-ists, boxers... it's tough, fast, and physical, and the exponents (proponents? There's a debate..) fight one another's skill, strength, and bone-headedness.
We've just had a bout here in New Zealand that has been predictably labelled "The Fight of the Century!". Yeah, well. Such a stunning lack of imagimation deserves a prize. And we have to ask oursleves the important question: exactly which century are they talking about? 1909 to 2009? If so, then there've been a lot of other so0-called "fights of the century". I'd put Ali vs Frasier at the topof the pile there: I can almost guarantee that most people in, say, Chicago and Moscow have heard of that fight, while nary a one of them have heard about Tua and cameron. If they're talking about the 21st Century, then I'm gonna get them to buy me a Lotto ticket. If they can see that far into the future, then I'm on a winner.
THE OLYMPICS: Woohoo! Rio got them! I love the Olumpics.There was a time that I'd take two weeks' leave and veg out in front of the tele and watch every minute. I've become a littlemore sensible as time's gone by, but I have to say that I anticipate an outstanding opening ceremony. This could be because I'm a dirty old man who has feverish dreams of scantily clad women doing the rhumba, but that's OK. I forgive myself for that...
CRICKET: I still don't know who won! I know we (by "we", I mean the Black Caps and me. Of course.) I know we had to score 36 runs off 35 balls, with King Danny at the crease, and that means it was so do-able.... Aaaargh!
RUGBY UNION: If the powers that be want to know why football's losing its appeal, it's this: the games are on too late, and only a minority of the population can afford to watch them games live. It's that simple.
RUGBY LEAGUE: It's fast, hard, and furious, and much more accessible. But because the Union people have madce their game so hard to watcfh, then I don't watch League, either.
AMERICAN "GRID-IRON" FOOTBALL: Is there be another game so slow? It's beyond dreary.
BASEBALL: Is not much better. Four hours or so, to see 5 runs scored? It needs Cricket's skills, action, pace, and flair. And baseball is such a dumb endeavour, Cricket is, at least, a thinking person's game. Intensely cerebral.
AUSSIE FOOTBALL: Spectacularly fun. And, according to my beloved, it has the best-looking men.
LISTENING TO: America. Yes! I went through the desert on a horse with no name. So bad, it's... really, really good.
READING: Nothing is catching my mind at the moment. I'm very restless, and reading the first twenty pages of any number of books, only to put them down. This happens. I'll find something soon..
WORD OF THE DAY: Cricket!
He said that he'd be banning Jack Stack for a week, next time he came in.
“Fair enough,” Chutty said. And he left, taking Treen down to the mini-golf. She beat him, three games to none, thinking all the while that if she ever found a student who was half the man her father was, she'd marry him on the spot.
Wendy had listened to the story, barely breathing. Then she turned to Mum, and said “I think Johnno'd do the same, you know.”
And Mum just smiled her wrinkly smile, patted Wendy's hand, and said “ Of course he would, dear. Of course he would.” Then she had a big swig of sherry, and looked at me.
I looked back at her, and I thought “She knows. The old ratbag knows.” Mum's always been able to read my face, and I've learned a thing or two from her about knowing what she's thinking, too.
“She knows, all right.” I thought.
I started to serve dinner up, and called Chutty and Useless to the table. The meal went in its usual welter of laughter and conversation, with all of us ignoring the elephant in the room: Wendy's bruises. If she didn't want to talk about it, then that was that. Every now and then I'd look across the table to Mum, to catch her looking hard at me, and then at Wendy. I shrugged at her. “What can I do?” I thought, fiercely, at her. Mum just smiled.
After the table was cleared, I started to Organise Everybody. Chutty'd been curious about what he'd found on our bed, so I sent him to get dressed up in it. Useless and Treen were to do the same with their outfits, and I left Mum with Wendy as I went into the spare room to get into my dress. Everyone was to call out when they were dressed, and we were all to go into the Slop Room at the same time.
I was pulling up the long zip when I heard the knock at the door.
Three hard knocks interrupted the conversation Mum and Wendy were having.
“I'll get it, dear,” Mum called out to me. I carried on with my dressing: I was nearly ready anyway, and called out to the boys and Treen. We gathered in the hallway, Chutty's eyes goggling when he saw me. He looked good enough to eat: both Chutty and Russel were dressed in white Naval dress uniforms. Russel was looking at me, astonished: then his face broke into a wide grin.
In the kitchen, Mum had gone to the door,opened it, and said “hello, Minister. Come on in,” and Reverend Knox came into the room just as I swept in, leading the family. I was wearing, for the first time in fourteen years, four months, and nine days, my wedding dress. I'd had to let the waist out by two inches that morning, but I have to say I looked great. I stopped short when I saw the Rev. Knox. Mum looked at me, and said “I thought we should have someone proper in to do the honours, dear.”
That's Mum. She never can leave well enough alone. Still, it wasn't a bad idea. I said g'day to the Reverend, then turned to Chutty, and looked at him. He'd wisely kept his mouth shut, although he undoubtedly had a million or two questions buzzing around inside his skull.