Bad winners and even worse losers
Some New Zealand sports followers let themselves down after the Halberg Awards.
Football fans should have been delighted that their sport won the team, coach and moment awards, and the big one, the Halberg Award.
Amazingly, there were still complaints because Ryan Nelsen didn’t win the sportsman category, which went to inspi- rational All Black captain Richie McCaw.
Wynton Rufer, New Zealand’s greatest footballer, said football had never got a fair go from the voting academy. He cited 1992 when apparently he was brilliant in Europe but the Halberg went to skier Annelise Coberger.
Rufer said Coberger never won anything. She was second in the slalom at the winter Olympics (the first southern hemisphere athlete to win a winter Olympics medal).
The irony of football virtually cleaning up this year despite the All Whites having won one of their nine matches in 2010 and being eliminated in the first round of the World Cup eluded Rufer.
Dick Tayler quit the voting academy, disgusted that football had carried off the big prize instead of the All Blacks.
Farah Palmer, women’s rugby legend, appalled the New Zealand women’s rugby team, which won its World Cup, wasn’t recognised, decided it was because there weren’t enough women on the voting panel.
Rugby Union boss Steve Tew was great. He was delighted McCaw had been honoured and saluted the fantastic efforts of the footballers at the World Cup.
I sat on the Halberg panel for 15 years and was outvoted many times. In 1991, I voted for Martin Crowe to win the big one, after he’d set the New Zealand test record of 299 against Sir Lanka. He lost out to world champion lightweight rower Philippa Baker.
I lobbied for Jonah Lomu to win after his sublime play in the World Cup in South Africa, but America’s Cup winners Team New Zealand garnered nearly all the votes.
I voted for Blyth Tait and Barbara Kendall in the late 1990s. They lost out to rower Rob Waddell.
With awards, you can’t win ’ em all. When you do, celebrate the moment. When you don’t, shrug your shoulders, congratulate the winners and carry on.