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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dadi is King of the Castle

Saturday 9 January 2010 was a very special day in Wellington, New Zealand.

The sun was beaming down on our own little patch of South Pacific paradise, and tourists scoffed ice-creams in the Botanic Gardens and on the Waterfront. Amongst them a handful of Brisbane Roar fans, in town to see their team take on the resurgent Wellington Phoenix.

It was the second to last day of my holidays. I started the day by heading up to the Town Belt with Miro to gather pinecones for the winter- it may seem like an odd choice of activity, but it is actually really fun and a 'recession friendly' father and son activity. Watching Miro stagger about the steep forest calling out for 'cones' gave me great joy, and now we have a few bags of starter fuel for our home fire.

After lunch I headed up to the Dell in the Botanic Gardens to partake in pre-game beer and a spot of Kubb, which urban legend has it was a training routine for viking warriors. This yard game is like a cross between Jenga, Petanque and Chess, and is easy to pick up but hard to put down.

It is quite a nice way to spend a sunny afternoon, hanging out with my footballing cohort Richard Hallam, whose aim was well off that day, missing the King by a country mile, despite the look of concentration in this (posed) shot:

After the half drunken game of Kubb we hightailed it to the stadium to watch the Nix.

The first half was nothing special really- the Nix defended well, but to be honest Brisbane looked an inferior force compared to past incarnations of the Queensland Oranje. Their one or two real chances of the half were snuffed out by former Brisbane keeper Liam Reddy, now wearing the Amber and Black of Wellington.

But the second half, oh, the second half. I moved from my usual spot near the Yellow Fever around to the rejects zone of aisle 10 by halfway, to try and get a different perspective on the game. I am glad I did, for I was in a prime spot to see Eugene Dadi stamp his mark on the match and his mark on Wellington, by producing a wonderfully timed overhead volley. Then, mere minutes later, he completed a debutant brace with an instinctive finish after some great build up work. The Nix kept attacking, and despite a consolation goal to the Roar (which in itself was a fine finish) the three points were safe.

The next day I went up to Martin Luckie Park with 20 other Yellow Feverites for the weekly kickaround, and spirits were high. Finally this season there is renewed optimism in the Phoenix camp and hushed voices are even discussing play-off football.

When life seems complicated, and even the sport you love is drawn into the maelstrom of chaos and terror, (an event which was made all the worse for the cackhanded political maneuvering afterwards) it is sometimes nice to just sit back and contemplate the simple things in life:

A gorgeous summer's day; pinecone hunting; obscure viking lawn games; and overhead bicycle kicks.

Enjoy Dadi's cool goal again, courtesy of 101 Great Goals:

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