A Nichey Niche Convo

Sometimes the Mystery Doctor and the Wildcard talk to each other...

Mystery Doctor: Dear ol' Wildcard, hope our lovely planet has been treating you well. I need to clarify something, I wasn't able to watch either the Halbergs or the Cricket World Cup Opening Ceremony which I'm absolutely not fussed about. Did I miss anything? Am I a terrible person?

Wildcard: What's up Doc? Nah, I don't think it makes you a terrible person. I can understand the dilemma, I was trying to watch the Breakers and Opening Ceremony simultaneously and it was a tough balancing act. Those Ceremonies are always silly and slightly off-kilter and yet for some reason people try to watch them un-ironically like they're at a highly stylised Broadway play or something. But they can be a lot of fun, and this one was, right up until they brought in the ex-players to talk up different NZ towns. When will we learn that professional sportsmen are terrible broadcasters/actors!? I gave up after that. Those things are best kept short anyway. As for the Halbergs, well, Better Call Saul was burning up my laptop at that time, so I only had it on in the background. Hey, I love what Lydia Ko's doing as much as anyone (that might not be true) but I fail to see how what she did in anyway trumped Queen Val. Eh, whatever. The point is to celebrate NZ sport as a whole, really. Any deeper analysis and you end up in a wild, pointless, talkback debate. All I'll say is that it was another big victory for the prestigious, global, heavily-competitive sport of rowing a boat down a stream.

MD: Actual sport > everything else sir. Yes I think we best stay well clear of the debate of who deserves what as it just turns in to a personal battle of 'my sport is more relevant than yours' argument that ends up going no where. When you row a boat as fast as those two jokers you can do as you please. Should I get all up in Better Call Saul?

WC: Not until you've got all up in Breaking Bad, to be honest. It's a prequel, but from what I've seen so far it's one that works best with at least some prior recognition of the Breaking Bad world. Great show, it's pleasantly surprising how well it recaptures the feel of early BB.

MD: Obviously I'm not going to admit that I haven't seen Breaking Bad......
I might give it a spin though, I'm a pretty wise fella so I'm sure I can figure it out. 
I've got 3 games for you to predict, or at least talk some shit about - Blues vs Chiefs, Indigenous vs NRL All Stars and Black Caps vs Sri Lanka #DoYourJob. Go...

WC: You will never in your life regret watching Breaking Bad. 

Ok, first off, Blues vs Chiefs. I'll say I remain blissfully ignorant of all rugby this early in the year. I've not followed any preparation or previews or any of that. So whatever I say probably hold no water, but here we go. I think the Chiefs win comfortably. Close for 60 mins, but run it out late. Sonny Bill excels as always (I presume he's playing. Like I said, nothing) and the media slam the Blues as usual. I also happen to think that within a month or two there'll be talks of an Auckland rugby resurgence. John Kirwin's a great man and a proven coach, he'll get it right.

The Indigenous vs All Stars NRL game doesn't really worry me as a competition and I doubt it worries the All Stars either. Only the Indigenous are really playing for anything. You said something really interesting the other day, what about an Indigenous Australian side vs an Indigenous NZ side? Love that thought.

And as for the cricket it's gotta be the kiwis. All that work in the build up, fine tuning and getting ready... if they slip up it won't be here.

MD: As Jay-Z once said, you've got to learn to live with regrets. Not sure if that quote fits the bill, but it's a nice hip hop quote any way. I'm all in on the Blues this year, it's going to be interesting to see if they can upset the balance of rugby in Aotearoa. In all honesty, Super Rugby right now is well behind any rugby league, A-League or cricket which is saying something. 

Obviously the NRL All Stars clash is important for the Indigenous lads, but it looks like the All Stars are having plenty of fun as well which is what it's about for me. It's a celebration of rugby league, like the Nines was and we might has well have as many rugby league celebrations as we can before the season starts. 

This Sri Lanka game will be interesting because we've played them a bunch recently, so in theory we should win but we'll get a great insight in to the mindset of the Sri Lankans as well. If they come out guns a blazing, then this World Cup should be one for the ages, if not, it'll just be the Black Caps, Australia and South Africa show that many are predicting. I say that as in, if Sri Lanka perform, then it should put the other sub-continent teams in the mix as well because clearly pre-World Cup form means sweet fuck all.

WC: The one inconstant being a certain Lasith Malinga who has the potential to rip us apart but probably won't. To be honest, even if it is just Aussie, South Africa and NZ, that still sounds like a great World Cup to me. Better than just the Aussie over and over again. That got boring.

Great quote too. Very true, very human. I think it applies more to the second half of what you said than anything. Teams like Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the West Indies are in a position where they're clearly not as well stocked as the top couple teams but with the weapons there that they could just sit back and rely on them, play it safe, hope the opposition has a bad day. But take a gamble and go all out, guns a-blazing as you say, and maybe it means they lose by more or maybe it means they pull out some brilliant, thrilling victories. Any World Cup loss is gonna be loaded with regret. Going down swinging instead of limping to an inevitable loss, those are the kinds of regrets you can live with. And the kind of attitude that a great dark horse team should exhibit. 

This World Cup's gonna be outstanding.

MD: It would be near perfect if India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka were all super competitive, making the quarter finals amazing. It would be infinitely better than near perfect if the West Indies decide to turn it on. The 3 .......................... non asian teams are all pretty similar, so I'm keen on the spice of a India or Pakistan or Sri Lanka or West Indies who are riding a wave.

WC: Yeah, I'm really intrigued/worried by the quarters/semi/final structure. A single bad day and your tournament is over. That could just mean 10 bad overs where you start 30/3 or something, and can't quite recover to where you planned to. Winning three games in a row, no second chances, means the margins for error are huge. The best team won't necessarily win, but the team that does will deserve it.

MD: And that my friend is what we wait 4 years for!

WC: You reckon 4 years is long enough to learn to live with regrets?

MD: Well think back to the last Black Caps World Cup side, there's a big difference. It's a long time in cricket years, so it should be plenty but it depends on the team and whether they've rid themselves of those who were involved back then.

WC: Exactly, it's a long time to wait for a second chance and for a bunch of those guys that second chance never comes. It's the same with any tournament like this. I don't think the Black Caps have too many regrets from 2011 because to be fair they were overmatched against that Sri Lankan team anyway. But this time, considering venues, team form, players, etc... this is rightly being called our big chance. Man, if we slip on a banana peel, Brendon McCullum's gonna be regretting it his whole life. That's the beauty of sports, I guess. 

"Beauty is just tragedy's attractive cousin" - Wildcard, 2015.

MD: Surely, surely you didn't just make that up chief. Surely.

Ya know Wildcard I think this is the exact reason we love sport. I live with the regret of watching a lot of sport that is shit and has no meaning to anyone at all ... besides the 5 people in attendance. Now we get cricket, a beautiful sport which puts baseball to shame, on the biggest stage, an exciting format where your balls are on the line against all of the world's best. It's the World Cup or the Ashes and the Ashes involves 2 teams. This is the best cricketing platform there is and there's this buzz around ya know? Wait a minute, it's started....

WC: It's probably the cleverest thing I've ever said. As far as I know I made it up, anyway. Unless I'm doing a Bob Dylan and subconsciously stealing it. On a barely even related note to that idea, why do people actually care that Drake dropped a surprise mixtape? Are surprise albums the new thing? Last thing I knew of Drake he was getting pushed away by Paul Pierce for talking to him while The Truth was trying to inbound a ball. And laughing like an asshole about it. Why is he famous? Where does his talent level lie on a scale of zero to Kendrick Lamar? Not sports (even if Drake thinks he's an NBA player), but it's bugging me. 
And, yep, there we go. Cricket World Cup 2015, under way. There goes every one of my afternoons for the next month and change.

MD: Ssssssssssssssssssssssshhh Wildcard, stop with the Drake. It's started....