The Commonwealth Games have always been a bit weird. They've always sat in between the Olympics, they've never really been a priority for athletes and they've probably been stabbed in the back so many times you wonder how they still exist.
It's a sporting competition for those countries who are lucky enough to fall under the leadership of the great, super duper Queen Elizabeth. An exclusive club some would say, a group of nations who have been guided through their existence thanks to the impeccable leadership and love of the monarchy. It's a few weeks out of our day to day life where we can come together as a Commonwealth and celebrate sports and a bond forged in to the purest metal that England can find.
Ok, I've never really met anyone who feels that way about the Games ... let alone the Commonwealth. But it's all good, for me I just need another reason to enjoy athletic competition. That's why I find it hard to join the seemingly thousands of people who kick up a fuss about the Com Games, rattling of reasons why it shouldn't exist. I love it. I love it and I love the Olympics, I'm not the one paying the rather excessive costs of the Games so who cares, it's my job to simply enjoy it.
And I enjoy it to the maximum. Track and field appears to be an athletic pursuit that is in a state of decay. It falls short in any comparison to mainstream sport and doesn't really ooze the attraction that many artificial sporting competitions do. We don't get to see much on TV and we have to put in a bit of effort to go out and seek a local track meet or do some research on how this athlete performed. The Com Games puts track and field front and centre, so does the Olympics which I find little to complain about.
The Com Games is a little different to the Olympics though, different in a sense that it is made for New Zealand. It's a great opportunity for New Zealanders to get a taste of athletic competition on a reasonably massive stage and make their mark, some would call it a stepping stone others would simply say it's just another platform to perform.
We have the best putter of a shot in the world - Valerie Adams who gives copious amounts of joy to any Kiwi sporting fan, but we also have an opportunity to see some young guns in action. Jacko Gill, Tom Walsh, Siositina Haekai and Julia Ratcliffe were all born in the 90's and will take part in field events which must be an awesome experience given the crowd ends up as a single constant buzz of excitement, anticipation and nerves with all the events happening in the stadium.
New Zealand can medal in a range of different sports and we can have those moments of immense pride with the likes of Adams, the Netball and Rugby Sevens sides likely to do pretty well. Any time where you as a NZ sports fan are spoilt for choice, is a good time.
I highly doubt any athlete will find going to the Com Games a burden. There will be those who must struggle in all aspects of life just to reach qualification ... let alone get to Glasgow, but they will say it's worth it. With so many sports heading in a variety of different directions, the opportunity to unite as a nation of sports people, to experience living in the village, to be able to compete in wrestling and then go support the Sevens team sounds pretty awesome to me.
Sure the best nations with the biggest budgets may not be there, but we're New Zealand. We've got 4.5 million or so people, so to be able to simply compete in an event like this should give at least a little bit of joy to everyone. It's not the Olympics, it's the Commonwealth Games, they're different but equally as cool.
So do what we usually do around this time, watch a bunch of Kiwis take on the world and punch above their weight. Learn about different sports, support different athletes, if you've got kids then get them involved because we all know how awesome it can be to sit there and watch some joker from New Zealand standing on a podium.