Tuesday, August 22, 2006


One child was hospitalised, another eight were treated for hypothermia and some remain lost following a school sports day that is being hailed as "a brilliant success" by organisers. Moenui Area School held it's first sports day since recently deciding to abandon many traditional sports in favour of 'high performance' sports. Gone were tennis, softball, basketball, soccer and gymnastics. Instead a crowd of enthusiastic parents cheered the children through athletics, rowing, sailing, triathlon and cycling events.

One stand-out athletic performance came from Kevin 'Kong' Tupaea who put the shot through the Principal's office window during a warm-up throw. In another memorable moment school groundsman's dog 'Bounce' easily won the 43 metre high hurdles but was disqualified after she chased a passing javelin and accidentally tore down the official marquee.
In another dramatic turn three six year olds and a confused grandparent who set off on the run-leg of the triathlon have not been sighted since.
"To see those little fellas stagger off their bikes and head off so bravely onto the run would have brought tears to Hamish Carter's eyes," said Principal Hone Morris. "The fact that they are still out there 24 hours later shows they are real champions of the future."
Meanwhile the rowing event failed to live up to pre-race hype when the two rowing shells, built from now disused gymnastic vaulting horses, sank without trace upon launching. The converted tennis racquets which were to be used as oars were tossed into the tide by disgusted competitors who described them as 'a complete waste of time.'
In the board sailing event high winds made for exciting racing and hyperthermia for seven students and the local coast-guard who was rescued by the eventual winner, 8 year old Babe Kendell.
In an exclusive interview with the Kiwi Herald the school's new Head of Sports and PE Nicholas Hill, dismissed misgivings expressed by parents about the new-look sports day. Hill who admits he does not play sport, says his past experience playing an energetic parrot in 'Treasure Island' and counting trees for Fletcher Challenge had prepared him for the job.
"I think it would have been hard for someone with a sporting background to do this job. Counting trees gives you an ability to see the bigger picture," said Hill.
"Sport can no longer be about fun and games. In the global world it is about money and national pride so we aren't prepared to put our time and money into mediocrity anymore. We are doing away with the sports that don't bring participants big bucks or Women's Weekly cover stories. Hamish Carter, Sarah Ulmer, and that big fat Polynesian chick who throws that steel ball- these are the role models for our future sporting heroes. We are aiming for our students to bring home 6 golds from the Olympics in 2012 and about 20 from the Commonwealth's in 2014."
Meanwhile former softball first-baseman and captain Mati Sorrenson is recovering in hospital having instinctively attempted a catch during the hammer throw event. When asked about Mr Hill's new sporting broom Mati said that the man was obviously a sporting genius. "Trouble is like all brilliant men he will get lots of flash job offers and so he'll move on. There's a rumour that he is off to coach the underwater hockey team in Darfur. He'll be real good there."

Nicholas Hill : sporting genius

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