by Peter Anich
Gutsy as you’ll ever see. As one English journo observed, the All Blacks were so taken to the brink by the rampaging French that all facets of their game were disassembled to the last element, that being bravery. Watching Richie McCaw get up off the deck one more time a few minutes before the end, clearly concussed, reminded me at the time of those Rocky movies with the pugilist’s weathered coach screaming in his ear to just get back up. And our fourth-choice kicker, Stephen Donald, derided, unloved and unwanted by many (show of hands including my own) stepping up to cooly kick the winning points, make a line break or two, and most importantly send the team down the right end of the field...all elements of a classic Hollywood formula transplanted to Eden Park.
One advantage sport will always have over business is in its ability as a visual, physical contest, played over a perfect 80-or-so minute story arc. The characters, already well defined and publicly invested in. Immediate, herculean challenges, moments of fear and truth, the goodies and baddies, along with a definitive end result. Either a great thriller accompanied by happy ending - or tragedy - depending on who’s side you were on.
All occur and peak our senses within one neat package of time.
How then, to capture a mainstream sense of awe and support behind business as one of life’s distinctly long-form games, played with many hits, misses but more often than not, a slow inch-by-inch, pick-and-go by the team, or otherwise a sequence of lonely, solo runs with many tacklers to go through or around? Moreover, no one in the stands to cheer the tries, or play the role of ‘16th man’ when the going gets tough.
Here then to all committed teams, led well, well practiced; who know to risk loss in order to truly win.
And may we definitely include in that bunch our brave All Blacks. Well done indeed.