This week there are two sporting fixtures that will be equally interesting for their off-field involvement as they will for the on-field action. With the Wellington Phoenix in a nice spot of form, they head to Auckland, the big smoke, where Jaffa's sip their coffee with their pinkies out to be cool. The Australian cricket team will line up in Adelaide, undoubtedly buoyed by passionate fans who will show their love and appreciation for their team, and their fallen comrade.
They're two completely different situations, but they will offer an insight in to the thinking of two different fan bases. One level of support is certain - Australians will roll out in their thousands in what will be an emotional few days. In an Australian cricket summer, fans don't need any sort of encouragement to get out and stand there in support of their troops. They don't need the lure of cash prizes, they just simply get amongst it and enjoy the show their lads put on.
The other is a lot less certain. Aucklanders aren't the best sport fans, in fact they rank in the dungeon and would win the wooden spoon a fair amount of the time. What's even more interesting is that this isn't their team, it's Wellington's team even though many Aucklanders support the Nix, they're called the Wellington Phoenix. Will Auckland get out and support the Phoenix who are tracking pretty nicely at the moment? Will they respond to seeing Auckland City soldier Roy Krishna in some hot form? Auckland is a multi-cultural hotbed and there's a strong possibility that number of Fijians in the crowd out numbers everyone else. The best case scenario is that Eden Park is close to being nearly, almost, kind of full with a vibrant atmosphere and some songs sung. It's what we as Aucklanders need, shit gets pretty boring being a sports fan here.
Worst case scenario, no one likes to be Negative Ned but the worst case scenario for the Nix in Auckland is a bad one. Eden Park could be empty, with the only fans being those who have made their way north from Wellington. It would be another shameful performance from Aucklanders, we're used to these ... cue the Jaffa-hating.
The difference between the best case and worst case scenario in the cricket is minimal. You can bet your house on there being plenty of fans and plenty of good vibes in the air. It'll be fascinating to see the crowd support in Adelaide test, the emotion is raw and the pre-cricket scenes could be something very special.
With all respect to Phillip Hughes and Australian cricket, it will also be fascinating on much less emotional level what happens in Auckland come the weekend. Our fascination with crowd numbers, is weird but it's something that has come thanks to years of disappointment all throughout Aotearoa. Hopefully next week I'll look back with a smile, having witnessed the very peak of support for a sports team as well as Aucklanders getting out and supporting New Zealand's professional football team, which could be referred to as a 'peak'.