Monday, January 7, 2013

A Weekend of Thrilling Sport

Last weekend I participated in some very British sporting - I played a round of golf, and watched a match of cricket. Good show!

On Saturday, while my new Chinese housemate was settling in, I walked the 5 minutes to play 18 holes at the Hagley Park Golf Club. Don't worry, I invited my new housemate, but he wasn't interested. For its location and surprising quality of the grass, I'm rather surprised the course isn't way more busy than it is. I strolled up to the club house where 3 guys were chatting. I paid my ~$40 for the green fees and the club hire, and that was about it. The attendant was impressed I immediately started sorting the rather beat-up set of clubs - "I see you've done this before". No tee-off time, no line-ups.

I sort of improvised with the golf attire: T-shirt, climbing pants, and barefoot running shoes. It all worked out great, though. I shot a 99! Not bad for not having played in about 2 years. Ok, I'm rather guilty to admit I took a *single* mulligan. So really I shot a 101. It probably helped that it was about the fastest game of golf I've ever played. My routine was lightning quick - one practice swing, then hit. Also critical to my seemingly good score was the fact that it's really hard to lose your ball in a wide-open park. The course is extremely flat, and there are strategically placed trees around the edge of the park to protect both pedestrians and motorists alike. I think the trees saved my bacon about 3 times, but were also the reason for my 5 on a 142m par 3. That was another oddity - everything was measured in metres, not yards. It's not complicated to convert - just add 10%, sort of like adding the HST (13%, whatever), but it threw me off at first.

The scorecard of a liar. I think my 11th or 12th tee-off was retaken out of frustration.

On Sunday my Kiwi boss (i.e. my boss in New Zealand, who is a Brit) invited me to a cricket match. The Canterbury Wizards were set to play the Wellington Firebirds. I had done some studying to ensure I knew roughly what was going on, and it paid off. By the end of the game I had stopped asking naive questions, and was getting into subtle issues of strategy and planning in cricket. You see, in a Twenty20 format with only 20 overs for each side, the batsmen tend to be more aggressive and less defensive, often trying for 4s and 6s. Alas, Canterbury played so poorly they were 'all out' by the 19th over, which is really rare in the Twenty20 format. As this article put it, "There's bad, there's really bad and then there's how the Canterbury Wizards played yesterday."

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