Thursday, 26 September 2013
Dear Team New Zealand
I can't believe I actually cried.
Not because our team of 4 million wasn't big enough to beat the American billionaire. I accepted that.
What got me was Dean Barker's speech afterwards. When Dean said we'll 'never know how much they appreciated the support from all around New Zealand, from schools, workplaces up and down the country. From Shed 10, from kiwis that flew to San Francisco to cheer, from kiwis all around the world.' And to them Dean said they 'gave it everything they had.' They 'left nothing out on the water, and sorry they couldn't win that last race.' Cue the water works.
I think that's what all of us wanted to know deep down. We needed to know that Emirates Team New Zealand had used all their resources and thrown everything they had at the American syndicate. Our pockets were never as deep as theirs, and we were never going to have the same level of resources. But, you know what? I reckon our hearts were bigger. How many countries could get behind a yacht race to the extent that New Zealand did?
We mean it when we say that it's our boat. It's got our name on it. How many of us have been late to school in the last two weeks? Who do you know that has been sloping into work at 930am for the last wee while ? How many New Zealanders have been rocking their red socks and racing to wash them every night so they're good to go for the next day's racing? Who else has discussed the recent racing with the postie, the guy at the petrol station, the lady at the New World checkout? Who else went to an RPM class at 6am with all the tracks dedicated to Team New Zealand?
I coped with my frustration and disappointment by sweating it out at the gym after the final race. That was a great place to release some of the adrenalin still coursing through my veins. It also became crystal clear to me that the earth hadn't stopped turning, the sun was still shining, traffic lights still working, and yes- people were even smiling.
Then along came the 6 o clock news. Oh god. Team NZ talking about how they feel. More tears, more pain.
I'm really glad to have done my bit, and been a part of all of it, red socks and all.
Thanks Dean and Team New Zealand for giving us the chance to be part of something this big.
Thanks for racing our boat so brilliantly for so long. Thanks for giving it your all and leaving nothing out on the water. We're ok back home, we'll recover.
Now come on home with your heads held high.