Unlike my father, who was an avid sports enthusiast, and who in his younger days was selected as an All Black trialist in the late 1930s, and later in life participated in golf and lawn bowls, I showed little talent or interest in sport. My father was also very fond of horse racing, and on most Saturdays, he had his ear glued to the radio listening to the live race commentaries from the various race meetings around the country. When major race meetings began to be televised, my father could often be seen watching races on TV with the sound turned down and the radio turned up as he much preferred the racy fast paced style of radio commentary over the more laid back style of television commentators.
If he wasn’t listening to horse racing, he’d be listening to rugby in winter and cricket in summer. As a game of cricket can last up to five days, that was almost all we heard on the radio during summer. At least once a month he’d be off to watch a sporting event or to attend a race meeting. His “excuse” for purchasing our first colour TV was so that we could watch the Christchurch Commonwealth Games of 1974 in “all its glory”.
Of course my father was not very different to most men of his era when it came to sports. They were all sports mad, and it is still true that as a nation we have an obsession for sport. Often times, you’ll hear the comment that sport is the national religion of Aotearoa New Zealand. As an example, with a population of about 4.7 million, one broadcasting network has 2 television channels and 32 radio stations dedicated entirely to thoroughbred and harness horse racing, and greyhound racing. And that’s just one network.
My interest in sport tends to be the occasional watching of sporting highlights during the evening news bulletin, although I’m glued to the TV during America’s Cup events and to a lesser extent I enjoy watching Olympic and Commonwealth Games.
But occasionally a sporting moment piques my interest, and one of those happened last weekend. A rider fell off his horse at the first jump in a steeplechase, yet was able to remount and win the race! As the event happened only a few kilometres from where I live, and has been shown numerous times on TV, I couldn’t not be interested.
Here’s the fall:
If you’d like to watch the race from beginning to end, here is all seven and a half minutes of it in “all its glory”
As the title says, this post has been somewhat different from my usual fare. Normal transmission will resume eventually (when this series of daily migraines eventually runs its course).