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July 16, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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An Open Letter to Alinghi

Dear Alinghi,

Hey, guys! Congratulations on that whole “winning the America’s Cup” thing. What was the name of the syndicate you guys beat again? Ah, doesn’t matter, we’ll get back to them if we have some time – which is what they said before having to pull that penalty turn on the final leg, am I right?

Seriously, Alinghi, I know that as a staunch little enzedder (who had no choice but to sit up in the early hours of the morning watching two swanking symbols of fiscal opulence dip and tack their way through the Mediterranean due to an unfortunate sickness that deprived him of sleep), you’re probably indifferent in regards to what I, or indeed anyone else with a New Zealand passport, has to say about you…

excusing of course the small, irrelevant fact that some of your crew members do in fact sport Kiwi passports, accents, property, children, and wives. In fact, out of your 40-strong crew of largely foreign names (must’ve been quiet down at the port of Bern when your scouts were working the docks) 25 per cent would include a side order of Ensalada de almejas with their fush and chups.

Alright, alright, I know you’ve heard this sort of thing before four years ago, back when this country’s righteous indignation could only be successfully conveyed through the music of Dave Dobbyn, so I’ll exhale and let that one seep out into the ether of other failed attempts to conjure up patriotic fervour, like the time the All Blacks flew to the 1999 Rugby World Cup in a specially decorated plane, or the time the Warriors had motivational percussionists annoying every-fucking-body during every home game. I understand completely that the America’s Cup is by and large a war of attrition fought with bank cheques and sponsors logos, but you gotta understand something here: you guys didn’t really ‘win’ the America’s Cup; the New Zealand public ‘lost’ it.

Yes, you may have had a faster boat, a superior crew and a cartoonishly-evil syndicate head, but your victory off the coast of Valencia was by no means a ‘victory’ in the traditional sense. See, I dunno if you guys heard about this, but we forked out something like $30m of our own dosh for this bloody boat malarkey, and now there’s talk amongst the fish heads of dipping into the kitty to do it all again – but with even more money. We feel like our government is that guy at the crap table betting against the line, and we’re married to him, unable to get him to come home and see his kids. Why? Because whenever someone slaps the proper noun ‘New Zealand’ onto something, it immediately becomes a walking, talking, floating symbol of everything black, white and silver ferny – in this case, a living endorsement that ‘near enough’ is ‘good enough’. That’s how we lost this thing.

I’m sorry, Alinghi. I tried being neutral, but I guess that’s just another thing you Swiss are better than us at.

Yours,
New Zealand Loyal

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