Home run: Kiwi qualities at their finest
Enter here at your peril. All objectivity is out the window. These are the rantings of a diamond geezer who’s been playing, coaching or writing about softball for 45 years.
So, of course I’m going to plead that the Black Sox should get the recognition such sustained success deserves.
The Black Sox are New Zealand sport’s blue-collar champions – throwbacks to the hazy days of amateur sport. They best reflect the quintessential Kiwi character – battlers from the bottom of the world who don’t need buckets of government cash to beat the best the Japanese, Canadians, Americans and Australians can hurl at them.
The floating sports fan loves the fact the Black Sox can win a world title and go straight back to day jobs, driving diggers and painting houses. That’s why they won the People’s Choice at the Halberg Awards for 2013.
Yet they get only token recognition from Halberg Award judges, funding agencies, civic authorities, corporate sponsors and television moguls. While cricket enjoys inner-city venues, softball is shoved out to the suburban outlands. Two of its leading venues are smack, bang next to sewage treatment plants.
A lot of softball myths persist. Let’s kick the hoariest into touch first. ‘‘Few countries in the world care about softball.’’
Few countries in the world care about rugby union, cricket, rugby league, netball or America’s Cup yachting either, but that doesn’t stop us celebrating when the All Blacks, Kiwis or Silver Ferns win World Cups. Nor should it.
‘‘The Black Sox are New Zealand sport’s blue-collar champions – throwbacks to the hazy days of amateur sport.’’