Yesterday started with the weird news of the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust and finished with the news that Dick Tonks and Rowing New Zealand were likely to part ways. After a year that I'd describe as one of Aotearoa's greatest sporting years outside of the Olympics, it was only right that there would be something to bring it down, even after a certain former cricketer flirted with tarnishing our great kiwi image.
I will take you on a journey through the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust situation in a jiffy because in my eyes, Tonks' departure is far more important. Andrew Alderson from the NZ Herald did a great job in putting Tonks' influence into some context (68 medals, five time Halberg Coach Of The Year) which only makes it right that the issue between Tonks and RNZ appears to be Tonks' coaching of Chinese rowers on Lake Karapiro. Tonks exists in rare coaching air, so it's only right that the issue is him spreading his wings as a coach.
I like that idea of a great coach spreading his wings (which I'm sure he's done before) and sharing his infinite rowing knowledge with athletes who simply want to get better. Now if Tonks has done this undercover, sneaking Chinese rowers in for sessions on sacred kiwi rowing water then that's a bit weird. These are details that we might not ever be privy to so speculating isn't wise and it only fogs over the fact that NZR could now be without their greatest asset.
Tonks doesn't need NZR. NZR need Tonks.
Optimism is a lovely thing, so taking a optimistic view could lead some to thing that this will freshen up the NZR program. This could allow for their succession plan to come into action and NZR might find a head coach who is just as effective and not as prickly as Tonks.
If this is just a case of NZR's feelings being hurt because Tonks is openly helping other athletes then they might be at fault. It's unrealistic to expect a coach of Tonks' calibre not to have offers flying in from every country ... every country who can afford to splash the cash on Tonks' services. You would have to assume that any coaching Tonks does for other countries would be for a lot more money than what he earns via NZR.
Weird, so weird and a little sad. As a sports nutter though, this is a bit exciting as we now wait to see what NZR have up their sleeves. How are NZR going to ensure that kiwi rowing maintains its position at the top of the world?
The news of the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust was also weird, so weird. Here's some of the thoughts that flew through my mind yesterday...
Sure Jonah was generous and a huge part of the Pacific community - a combination which sees you give more than you have - and major health issues but he also had a nice house, nice cars and that infamous apartment in Wellington. Which he bought off his father in-law for much more than it was worth? Shit, not a good start.
The father in-law has gone bankrupt numerous times? HUH!?
Are we now teaching the two boys - who this is all about let's not forget - that it is all good to blow your money because you can ask people for more?
The two boys watched their father apparently enjoy the life of a star, now they have nothing?
They sure as hell don't need any money to get them private schooling.
They sure as hell don't need any money to rent in nice suburbs ... or for their mother to rent in a nice suburb.
Not while we all know how many children grow up in this country with nothing.
Damn I love Jonah, but maybe he just wasn't the best judge of a situation.
Maybe instead of having all the nice things that he had, he could have saved some of it?
Fair play, Jonah didn't seek help. Which makes the possibility of anyone taking advantage of him even more yuck.
Is this a case of Naive Jonah or someone taking advantage of him?
Woah, woah, woah... this news broke on the same day that the annual 'Child Poverty Monitor' was released, telling us that one in three kids live in poverty. Kids who don't have the luxury of a superstar father are fighting battles everyday in this country, empty fridges, no shoes, snotty noses and what not, those who don't have the means to ask for help. Ah, so shitty!
Why should I care? I won't donate to the Jonah Lomu Legacy Trust and I don't have any problems with anyone who does.
Well here I am talking about it, talking about the late, great Jonah Lomu because some folks who are apparently much smarter than me publicly asked for help. Those people who are apparently smarter than me threw Jonah's name into the public realm, they put his issues into the public realm and here we are.
I have, however had my faith in kiwis reinforced. Much of the feedback to yesterday's news was along the lines of 'what about the kids with nothing' and so on. This showed me that kiwis know that there's many kids and families struggling and while it's one thing to extend an arm of assistance, just knowing that poverty exists in Aotearoa is a starting point.
How hard would it have been to just ask a few corporates who Jonah previously had relationships with to help out in private?
Because now I'm left with the yucky taste of this not being all about the two boys.
Shiver me timbers, I need some Steven Adams to cheer me up...