Adam Mamo’s new series ‘Rating your Kiwi Childhood’ is all about looking back on your formative experiences as a little kid in the 1980s and a bigger kid in the 1990s. Today, Adam tackles the highs and very low lows of Saturday morning sport.
Love it or hate it, kids sport is a Kiwi institution. Pick your winter sport, then pick your summer sport and then repeat every year until you wake up one Saturday morning, 16-years old, and exclaim “That’s it. I’m too hungover for this crap!” Till that day, you’re one of the thousands of Kiwi kids hitting the fields and courts of NZ seeking athletic glory, parental pride or just after match ice-cream. Now it’s time to bang the boots together and see what falls out, as we rate Saturday morning sport.
Being a bit good – Your first primary school sports day, you line up for a running race, a Stubbies wearing teacher claps two pieces of wood together and you blow everyone else away to take the win. Congrats kid, you’re a little bit quicker than everyone else. Expect to dominate games of tiggy and get some sweet days off for inter-school comps.
Getting team mates – You might not be best mates off the field, but once the game starts you’re bonded together. Being part of a team can be a beautiful thing and you may make life-long connections. Unless you’re really crap or the coach’s kid of course – then your teammates will probably hate you. Beware of Deep Heat-related practical joking.
Oranges never tasted so good – You could never be arsed chopping up an orange at home, but at half time a cold orange segment never tasted so good. Nowadays kids have fancy things that actually hydrate them, like water in bottles. They’ll never know the true joy of getting through an entire game on two slices of orange.
Cancellations – Cold and raining outside, well you might be in luck. Flick your clock radio to the AM and listen in for the weekly sport cancellations. If your game comes up you’ve hit the jackpot, grab the duvet, pour a bowl of Coco Pops and settle in for Saturday morning cartoons.
Being a bit shit – You’re just a regular kid, living content in your own undiscovered mediocrity, then some bright spark has the idea to enter you into midgets soccer, or ripper rugby. Half a season later and you realise you can’t run that fast, you’re kinda small and a bit unco too. Welcome to the real world.
Dad coaches – There are two types of dad coaches: the ones who never wanted to do it, and the ones who want to do it too much. The dad who doesn’t give a crap is never gonna get results and the ‘sporty’ dad who thinks he’s coaching Manchester United is just gonna make everyone cry – especially his own kid.
Player of the Day trophy – It’s total bullshit and everyone knows it. It should work on a strict criteria-based points system around individual performance for each game. But it doesn’t, and everyone knows that the coach is keeping track of who gets the trophy so each kid gets it once a season. Maybe when you’re little you buy into it, but ultimately it just gives you an early taste of corruption in sport.
Frosts – 8am kick off, middle of winter and you’re shivering beside teammates on frosted grass barefoot and short shorted. Awesome. On the sideline grinning mums and dads look adequately attired for Antarctic exploration. WTF peeps.
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Final Kiwi Childhood Rating: 5 out of 10
Very easy to tally this one up. Basically half of us were a bit shit at sport and half of us were a bit good. To be good at sport there naturally has to be kids who are shit at sport. It’s maths. When kids are very young the rating may be higher thanks to the corrupt player of the day system and excessive parental complimenting. But in the end, Saturday morning sport has us divided straight up the guts.
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