“The A Team” (2011) by Ed Sheeran
“The A Team” (2011) by Ed Sheeran
Here are the biggest Team sports in the world:
10. Rugby League
Foreigners truly can’t tell the difference. But say that to a League supporter and, boy, will they tell you! League always plays second fiddle so much so that League supporters, I believe, are more passionate and will go out of their way to display why League is better than Union. Union supporters needn’t say anything – All Blacks performances will converse for them.
I love League more, because it’s faster, far easier to explain! and because part of me wants to play the second fiddle. A friend of mine asked me why I would support League, when Union is the National Sport. I explained to him metaphorically that the men in the bar always go for the blonde. Someone’s gotta go for the brunette.
(Hannibal, of course, would be the Captain and play Prop; Faceman would play Scum-Half; Murdock play Hooker; and B.A. Baracus would best fit Fullback.)
9. American Football
Thanks to the internet, television and the growing US community in this country, Grid Iron is gaining popularity. Its final has truly become one thing I look forward to in January. I may know follow most of it, but like most Kiwis, I’ll hop on the train right at the end, at the only destination that matters – the Super Bowl. And why not watch it? It’s televised during our daytime; it’s a great way to end our Summer; and it’s the greatest television spectacle – Americans basically invented such a thing.
(Hannibal always starts play, so he’d be a perfect Quaterback; Faceman would get the ball rolling as Running Back; Murdock as Offensive Guard would protect him. Baracus, however, could be the entire Defense team.)
8. Ice Hockey
It hasn’t really taken off in New Zealand, only in parts of it down South, where the climate his more hospitable for it. The Stanley Cup is exciting to watch, only if I could see where the hell the puck went. And their biffo is worse than anything we could come up with. Other than that, it’s a niche sport here.
Let me share a lesser-related story though. My mate, Cunningham, was called in to be the team mascot for an Ice Hockey team in Avondale, only in the last minute. Being enthusiastically young, he took the job because it’d be fun acting a fool in a big bear suit – or was it a penguin suit? He was shocked no one else wanted the job. He soon found out why, when he realised the former occupant of the suit spewed inside of it. The bosses tried their best to clean out the costume, but the stench was still faint. Unable to pull out, Cunningham had to endure four quarters … and an overtime in that horrible get-up. He was paid, spewed in the carpark later and never did that job again. Ironically, he now lives in Canada.
(Many sports have official positions but also unofficial positions. Faceman could play any position as long as he be a ‘Grinder’ – a person who’s duty is to simply take the attack and let his ‘face’ get ‘grinded’ along the boards. Hannibal could play anything too, obviously still be Captain, but would be best as a ‘power forward’ – intelligent and strong offense. Then there’s two other unofficial terms that fit Murdock and Baracus appropriately. The job of a ‘Pest’ is to provoke a fight: Murdock. The job of a ‘Goon’ is to start a fight: ‘Baracus’.
I was gonna write … um … something here …. but … got lost … um, thinking about the um, Brazilian Beach Volleyball …. team. Something … bum … I mean, um … um, sand … yeah.
sorry, what were we talking about?!
(Faceman and Murdock are agile enough to serve defensive support. And Hannibal and Baracus would be great in the front: the ball would properly explode with the amount of punch these two would give it. Hannibal tossing it high, while Baracus comes in to spike, hammering it straight into the opposition’s ground. And with victory, Hannibal declares, “I love it when a plan comes together!”)
6. Field Hockey
Though it’s the Summer cousin of Ice Hockey, and though the girls in high school had a team for it, and though our country is fairly good at it, I, unfortunately, haven’t much else to say about it. Sorry, but it’s not really for me.
(… and with my lack of knowledge, I personally can’t see the A Team playing the sport. Get them on the field and Hannibal would probably walk over to the grandstand to rather watch, cigar in mouth; Face would be chatting up the girls on the sideline; Murdock would’ve left the scene already; and Baracus would’ve snapped the stick in half: “I PITY THE FOOL that plays this stupid game!”)
5. Rugby Union
Our country isn’t really known worldwide substantially. We got no political hold at the U.N. Our wealth of Archaeology is only limited to since the 10th Century. Our film industry maybe blooming but is still small potatoes to Hollywood, or even Bollywood. We are planted in the middle of nowhere. We ain’t got gold. The Queen is still head of our government. Thanks to being the greatest export of dairy products, everyone thinks we are a giant farm. And all our great brains go and make better money elsewhere.
But we are the greatest Rugby Union nation in the world. It may not be much. But it’s ours.
You could even say, that compared to the lower ranking alphabetized squads of all the other countries in the world, we are … the A Team …Dun-Dundun-Dunnn! Dundun-dun … no?
(As Union is far different from League, Baracus would leave Fullback to be brought into the Scrum as a Hooker; Hannibal in support as a Number Eight; Face would be a great Fly-Half; and Murdock could play a Winger.)
Yes, it’s bigger than Rugby – 79.5 million attending 2,430 matches. Thanks to the culture of the United States, we may think that 79.5 million is only American. But the sport is gigantic and has a passionate following in Japan, Taiwan, Cuba, Venezuela, South Korea, USA, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Canada, Colombia, Panama, the Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua and the Dominican Republic.
There seems to be a disproportionate amount of American Baseball movies to other American sports movies. Maybe because it’s the only sport that’s truly part of their heritage or maybe because Baseball is a better place to tell stories of triumph. (They also always seem to strangely star Kevin Costner and involve a character with a limp.) They love Baseball movies as much as they love Baseball. But make no mistake. Other countries love Baseball too.
Just like those beautiful stories I read of when Rugby was taken introduced to other countries, I can imagine a young Japanese boy, beyond the hill, watching some WWII soldiers batting it about and becoming fascinated. In time, they’d both earn eachothers’ trust and that young Japanese boy would introduce the sport to his friends. Before you know it, it would become widespread, popular sport. Then comes the day, when Japan beats the United States continuously in every international Baseball competition. The game is so precious to the United States, it hurts so much more when the student beats the teacher. Why they haven’t made a movie about the US Baseball team losing, I have yet to understand.
(Trying to read the pitcher in what ball they’ll try and deliver you, is incredibly difficult, that’s why Murdock, the most unpredictable of the Team would be the best player there. Face would be a flexible Third Base and Hannibal would be a fair Catcher. I can see Baracus, actually, as the Coach. The guy who throws his hat on the ground at an Umpire’s bad decision, runs up and gets in the Umpire’s face and starts calling him a such-such. I love how Baseball coaches get angry. Then a guy with a limp would come along and try and calm Baracus down.)
Ice Hockey, Baseball and Grid Iron may not be taking off too much down here. But of the sports the Americans have given us, Basketball is one of the fastest growing national sports. It doesn’t hurt either that the New Zealand Breakers have won the Australasian Championship three times in a row.
Maybe compared to those other American sports, Basketball has become popular mostly due to its Ethnic and Urban appeal. It’s a sport that city dwellers love, but also loved by kids of colour, especially Maori and Polynesian, who grew up watching the feats of Michael Jordan. He was so important as a role model for our disenfranchised youths of colour back then. He was admired by our community as a great athlete. It’s no wonder all my cousins love Basketball.
Nowadays, unsurprisingly, my young nephews and nieces are playing golf. Wonder why.
(Since they were wanted by the government, they had to keep a low profile. And of all the sports mentioned so far, I think Basketball is the one game they could easily play under auspices. A court and a basketball were easy to find. And you could play in, at best, a five minute spurt. The perfect sport for a bunch of vigilantes. I actually think I remember a scene of them playing. Baracus was playing centre trying to block off Faceman and Murdock as point and shooting guards. They hooped and Baracus bellowed, “Hey man, that was foul, sucka!” Hannibal was off somewhere doing something. Anyway, I could be wrong. My memories getting old on me, y’know.)
I’ve already talked about the sport in Entry 54, but lemme just state that it is in fact the second biggest team sport in the world. You could probably lay that fact down to the entire population of India: 1,210,193,422 people with a bat or a ball in their hand. That is an astounding figure … or image.
(Baracus would love hitting on the pitch. I can see him blasting it for six. As too Hannibal. His black gloves would feel right at home with the grip of the bat. Murdock would be great at sledging, so he’d make a good wicket keeper or bowler. Face would be a fielder, but be too busy signing autographs for the girls on the grandstand.)
1. Association Football:
The Chinese invented it (with a dead king’s head, I believe.) The English instituted it (and yet are too useless to win more than one World Cup.) And unofficially, its become the World’s biggest sport (the beautiful sport.)
One reason of its global popularity is due to Empire. From what I’ve read also, I too can imagine a young Swiss boy, Argentinian boy, Portuguese, Chinese boy, Boston boy, South African, Morrocan, Fijian or Palestinian boy, etc, beyond the hill, a group of Victorians, in the country either studying, foreign-working or raping, kicking around a small ball. The boy becomes fascinated. Tells his mates. And before you know it, soccer has spread like wildfire across the world. It’s the one bridging language we all have.
Another reason for its popularity is that it’s almost easy to explain. Offside can be a difficult to explain to the uninitiated, but other than, getting the ball into the other goal is basically all anyone needs to know in how to play soccer. (Especially more exciting as the ball is bigger than a puck.) And, in truth, if you didn’t know that basic fact about the sport, where the hell have you been?
I understand it’s difficult not to observe soccer. It is, as noted, the biggest international sport. The FIFA World Cup is something the entire world looks forward to watching. That final was watched by 46.4% of the entire world’s population. 46.4! That’s 3,298,112,000 people. That’s a lot of bloody people. That is an amazing figure … let alone, image. (I wanted the Netherlands to win, since they’ve come so close, losing their third final again.)
And at that World Cup, I was honoured to see New Zealand on the world stage, like that. We may go crazy over Union, League, Cricket and even Basketball, but as Soccer was always a mainstay sport in this country as well. And with their appearance, Soccer was boosted even more confidence here. We didn’t win any games. But we didn’t lose any games, neither. It’s not the greatest feat, but to say we draw all our games is something special to us, at least. I can imagine how other countries saw us, there: ‘what the hell are they doing here?’ So proud of our boys. Hope we do well, next time. And if we don’t, there’s always the All Blacks.
(You seen that advert featuring Mr. T? He turns up in the middle of a soccer match in a tank and lectures a player for diving (pretending to be hurt). He throws a Snickers bar at him and then leaves, “Snickers: Get Some Nuts!” A great parallel in what Baracus thinks of Soccer. Same goes for Hannibal and maybe Face. Murdock however I think would love it.)
(The four biggest Single sports in the world are Tennis (Face would just be there for the chicks); Golf (I think Hannibal said he used to play it. Again my memory’s faint); Table Tennis (only someone as crazy as Murdock would be consistently playing this game. He may even state he played it with the Viet Kong. That guy was so cuckoo!); and Motorsport (he usually drove the van; and he obviously can drive a tank – suits Baracus down to a tee.))