Top-level sport watching

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian

Having been a spectator at plenty of top-level sport over the years, the atmosphere and action remains just as intense as watching the All Blacks play the Springboks in 1956 - but the method of entry has changed dramatically over the decades.

Attending the All Blacks verses the Boks second test at Athletic Park in Wellington, with my father, uncle and cousin, meant standing in a long queue from early morning for a number of hours, before gaining entry to the ground.

Working on the basis that first in got the best seats, the really hardy and seasoned rugby fans would camp out overnight to stake their claim for the best seats on the Western Bank.

The Johnny come lately's would be relegated to standings behind the goalposts or squeezing in the corners of the ground.

Fast-forward to two weeks ago when the Joseph Parker world title fight tickets went on sale.

With number-one son coming across the ditch for the big bash, there was race to secure two tickets for him, as they couldn't be bought in Oz.

With the website not responding, a frantic 0800 number call managed to grab the required tickets.

Zapped onto our credit card, the tickets will be emailed out to us which means we don't have to snail mail the tickets to our son, but can simply send him electronically.

How times have changed from queuing outside Athletic Park in 1956.

Ground and program advertising have also undergone dramatic change since the 1950's and 1960's.

I recently re-discovered a Ranfurly Shield program I was gifted some years ago.

The C.R.F.U official guide, to the 1950 "Log of Wood" encounter between Canterbury and Wairarapa at Lancaster Park, cost sixpence.

(A recent google search of the game result showed that Wairarapa defeated Canterbury 3 nil)

A full back-page advert of Millers Department Store stated "in the stand or on the bank, a pure wool Millers topcoat will keep you warm with the appearance of comfortable smartness".

Other advertisements featured Christchurch hotels and a New Zealand Breweries ad for Wards Invalid Stout.

Ground advertising in the 1950's was about the necessities of the day, where in the 2000's there is electronic signage that flash and dazzle.

We are just as likely to view foreign advertising of the touring teams as the home grown products.

A recent introduction to Bay of Plenty premier cricket, has been the introduction of yellow and red cards as an addition to the judicial and disciplinary processes of the game.

A yellow card can be issued by the umpires for such as player dissent or opposition insults, with penalties such as run deductions or time on the sideline, available to the on-field officials.

More serious offences result in red card where the player no longer participates in the match and would face a disciplinary hearing at a later date.

A recent Central North Island minor association match resulted in a player being yellow carded and when he continued his tirade, the yellow was up-graded to a red card with the said player taking no further part in the game.

Go the Black Caps


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