August 13, 2018
Issue 9 2018
On the Line

Free pass

You’d probably be pretty miffed if one of your classmates didn’t turn up to a single lecture or tutorial the entire semester then rocked up to the exam and aced it.

A student who cheats the system is praised, even adored by teachers.

Well how do you think teammates of netballer, Maria Folau feel.

Folau who plays for the Northern Mystics is currently based in Sydney with husband, and Warratas player Israel Folau.

To remain eligable for the Silver Ferns, she is only required to play a total of three games the entire season.

She is New Zealand’s star goal attack, famous for her ability to shoot from anywhere in the circle. She’s even been named the ‘poster girl’ of New Zealand netball.

Yet, she’s rarely at a Mystics training, you’ll hardly ever see her play in the ANZ championship, and she barely knows her teammates.

 "It was quite weird passing the ball around with some of the girls, some of them I've never met before," she admitted in an interview earlier this year.

 But despite this, Folau gets a free pass into our national side.

Sure, I will admit it can’t be easy for her. Travelling between countries and having to adapt to new teammates. And I’m sure she still trains hard and regularly engages with the team.

But it defeats the entire concept of ‘team sports’. The blood, sweat and tears are not quite the same when you’re not alongside the rest of the pack.

And this isn’t the only example. So often, elite players are allowed to code hop, or receieve special treatment due to their ‘abilities’ or as I like to think of it their ‘player rating’.

Think about it. More people would come to games with a superstars like Maria Folau, Sonny Bill Williams, and Aaron Smith.

But what do all these players have in common?

They’ve all received a free pass. Whether they want to live somewhere else, want to play different codes, or they just can’t keep it in their pants.

Their questionable decisions are excused and even rewarded.

Too often athletes utilise their celebrity status to cheat the system. Like waving their magic wands and convincing national sporting organisations that without them, the sport would wither.

Folau even admitted that New Zealand netball had to break the rules for her.

The question is, is it better for New Zealand sports organisations to bend the rules and keep our players in local teams, or should they stick to protocol and watch their stars put on a different uniform?

Pass or play: Sepak Takraw

Sepak takraw loosely translates to “kick the woven ball” but is more commonly known as kick volleyball.

A sport native to Malaysia which is considered more of an art than a sport. Sepak takraw differs from the similar sport of Footvolley as players can only use their feet, knee, head and chest. Sepak takraw also uses a rattan ball which is made of a flexible wooden material.

The sport is a combination of football, volleyball, and gymnastics. Think of the movie Shaolin Soccer where martial arts is combined with soccer. It’s a super competitive sport and is played predominantly in Eastern Asia. New Zealand do have a national team who competed in King’s Cup Sepak Takraw Championship in Thailand last year.

Ponder that:

There are 18 minutes of total action in a basketball game