Tuesday, October 25, 2011
They did, and everybody screamed, cried, and flung their arms around each other for what seemed like hours, barely believing that we had actually won the Rugby World Cup for the first time since the tournament started in 1987.
Some may say, “it’s just a game”, but it’s really not, it’s so much more than a game. For starters, it’s New Zealand’s national game. I for one have been brought up in a rugby oriented household, and even those who were not rugby fans at the beginning of the tournament were screaming and crying on Sunday night.
It’s also about what it means to be a New Zealander. People around the world love us kiwis and know we love our rugby, and over the last seven weeks, we have proved that, for a little country of just 4.5 million people, we can put on one of the biggest international events in the world – and nail it.
I don’t think I’ve stopped smiling for the last two days and I feel immensely proud to be a New Zealander right now.
We have so much heart, so much courage, so much determination as a nation, and I think we have shown that not just through the Rugby World Cup, but also through everything our little country has been through in the last year.
First there was the Pike River Mine disaster, when 29 men were killed in an explosion. Then came the Canterbury earthquakes – September 4th, February 22nd, and June 13th, which destroyed our most beautiful city and killed 181 people. Now, of course, there’s the Rena, a cargo ship that hit a reef off the coast of Tauranga and is currently on the verge of breaking up after spilling tones of oil into the ocean and scattering containers along the coast.
But we have pulled through all that, and Sunday night’s win will remain in our minds for the rest of our lives. It is especially exciting for my generation – I was just a wee peanut in my mum’s belly the last time we own the cup – because we now have one of the greatest stories in New Zealand’s history to tell our children and grandchildren, just like our parents told us about the 1987 world cup.