Why I don’t like sport
I should clarify, I like playing sport (not that I am very good at it), but I don’t like watching it on television or in person. This is particularly in regard to team sport, of which New Zealanders are very keen.
Watching a rugby or rugby league match is akin to the proverbial grass growing for me. I just don’t get it. What is exciting about a misshaped ball being tossed from one end of a field to the other? I am sure Steve Hale will be seething when he reads this and will hurriedly get on the phone to extol the virtues of the game. I look forward to that call, because he will need to do some explaining. I am pleased that the forwards do at least wear head protection these days because those cauliflower ears are so bizarre. Can they be fixed?
Slightly more bearable for me is soccer or football. I have to admit that one of the most exciting days of my life was going along to the Wellington Westpac Stadium to see that nail-biting decider between the All Whites and Bahrain. I remember when Bahrain got the free kick and I just couldn’t watch. Covering my eyes, I heard the collective sigh of relief and my partner saying to me, “He missed”. Gosh that was exciting, but I haven’t watched a match since.
By far the only sport I will make a vague effort to watch is tennis, but only at the highest level. My ex is one of the best tennis players in the country (in his ancient age group), so I used to love watching him play in the regional and national competitions and I am partial to a Grand Slam.
My least favourite spectator sport would be cricket. This game can go on for days. How do people sit through it, let along play through it? Is it like Grid Iron, where you have to know the players and the statistics? I am always open to enlightenment. Oh and also watching the recent America’s Cup when we started losing. That was torture and I am sure everyone will agree.
A rap on the knuckles too far.
We are a nation full of child abusers and almost all the abusers were themselves abused. Yet there are still some who think that it is acceptable to hit their own children.
It wasn’t so much that Colin Craig admitted to physically disciplining his children, it was the fact that he described how he did it and what he saw as the efficacy of a flick on the knuckles. I thought such punishment had disappeared with Charles Dickens, or at least with my Primmer One teacher. I know several people who still hit their kids, in spite of it being against the law.
I remember looking innocently into a classroom through its glass door at Stanley Bay Primary School with a couple of other little friends a zillion years ago. Something interesting must have been going on, I can’t remember what. Perhaps they were putting on a play, it certainly wasn’t anything sinister. What I do remember clearly is the sharp stinging on my backside as I was slapped very hard by a teacher for being insolent. This damaging episode has remained with me more than forty years later. I remember little else from my time at that school apart from being terrible at playing netball.
Being hit hard on the bottom did not shape me into being better behaved, it did not make me work harder, it did not make me respect that teacher. Quite the opposite, it made me terrified of her. Hitting children does not make children grow up to be better adults. Not hitting them does.
I know lots of people reading this will say I have no right to tell them how to bring up their children. I expect I will receive several letters strongly disagreeing with me, as I did the last time I stood up for the so-called AntiSmacking Bill when it was being debated and I was the host of the Good Morning Show on TVNZ.
I am certainly not saying that I am a perfect mother. I lose my cool and my daughter misbehaves like any other child, but there are so many other ways of disciplining children that are much more effective and legal. The most important thing is that she is not scared of me. Who on earth would want their child to be scared of them?
Not being physically hurt by another person is a basic human right. If I rapped the knuckles of my boss, I would be fired. Think about this when you next consider flicking your child on the hand to produce a short, sharp sting, Mr Craig.