The first thing that struck me about New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame: 25 Kiwi Champions, was that this didn’t just have Richie McCaw on each page. Personally I feel he is at least 14 of the top 25 sports champions that we have had in New Zealand. The other nine spots would go to Richard Hadlee. Of course people expect 25 individuals these days, so if you keep that in mind you wont be too upset at the other 23 sports folk in the book.
I was surprised to see other athletes in this book at all, but then again not everyone shares my views on the two Richards. The author, Maria Gill, has followed on from her very successful book The New Zealand Hall of Fame. That book listed 50 remarkable kiwis that have helped shape New Zealand as we know it. It should be noted that neither Richie nor Richard was in that book. It still managed to sell well enough despite the rather glaring omissions.
My protests at the time were largely and justifiably ignored. There were a few of those remarkable kiwis that probably would have suited a book featuring New Zealanders who were clearly in the ‘flavour of the month’ category. There are a few of those in this book too, but it all helps with youth sales these days so I will let it slide.
However, there is no place in a sports hall of fame book for traitors. Yes, you know who I mean, Russell Coutts. Sure, Gill does offer an objective approach to his success in selling out, but our country’s youth don’t need to be exposed such villains when they can simply tune into Parliament TV for more than what they need.
Same can be said for Sonny Bill Williams. Rugby or League, or Boxing? What’s it gonna be buddy? But again, the young folk will love reading about him. Back to real stars, i.e. Richie McCaw and Richard Hadlee. Why are these two back towards the middle of the book? I still don’t see why they opened the batting with Coutts. He doesn’t sell books, he sells out.
In any case, yes, I will be giving this book to my sons… although slightly edited. I am not lying when I say that I ripped out the Coutts section and moved the Richard section to the front. I did delete the first two words the sub heading about Richie that said “One of the greatest rugby players in the world”. Clearly that was a misprint overlooked by the publisher. At least they got Hadlee’s sub heading right “Greatest bowler of all time”.
Less cynical eyes will enjoy this compilation very much… although I would suggest parental guidance.