Apart from one movie Judgement, this will be my final Blogspot for 2010.
Strange to think that yet another year has gone by, and already some of the events that defined 2010 seem, to my mind, to be ancient history. There were earthquakes, oil spills, Paul Henry, mining accidents with endings both happy and sad, visitations and departures. Closer to home, there were passings, new arrivals and multiple bumps signifying arrivals yet to come. Some things are under constant change while some other things always seem to be until they are no longer.
However, for the nation of New Zealand, 2010 was just a prelude in some ways, as 2011 will - if the hype is to be believed - define us as the Rugby nation. Rexona, Addidas, Powerade, Air New Zealand and a whole host of other international mega-corporations are trading on the Kiwi-ness and patriotic pride of the upcoming tournament to flog their wares, knowing how there is a lot of national pride riding on the boys in black and a second, home soil Rugby World Cup victory.
I have commented (and judged of course) the inanity of the build up and the tie ins, but then, on the odd occasions when I set down my gavel, removed my robes and left the Judge's bench and head out from the cyberverse into what passes for reality, I realise that I am definitely in the minority with these critical views.
Rugby is the social glue, the secular religion that binds the majority of New Zealanders together. There are other threads, like the Anti-Nuclear Policy, pavlovae and jandals that tie those less sportively inclined to Godzone, but I don't think anyone can deny that there is nothing that rouses and binds and motivates Kiwis into a cohesive force like a major All Blacks sporting fixture.
So, from a social perspective, 2011 will be an interesting year to be a Kiwi. Of course, there is a huge amount riding on this from a monetary perspective, like the potential for increased tourism, the months-long planetary media coverage, and of course the associated world wide marketing opportunities. But what will also be on show, for both the international audience and for the population at home, will be a lot about what makes Kiwis tick, about what makes a New Zealander. Will we be gracious in victory, or stoic in defeat? Will we be welcoming to all comers, or unstoppingly patriotic? Will we get a public holiday should the All Blacks win the hallowed cup (please, please, please! we lose both Waitangi and ANZAC days as public holidays - again - in 2011!), or will we just rearrange the educational timetable of our "most valuable resource" children to make bus transit times a little easier for ticket holders? And what impact will the bigger, broader issues have on this nation when it will most likely be more focussed on what happens in one or two open air Rugby Cathedrals around the country?
Yes, 2011 will be very different in style and substance to 2010. And it isn't very far away now at all...
Verdict: 2010 is coming to an end after what seems only a brief stay. But, without doubt, 2011 will be bigger and brighter, and decidedly rugby ball shaped. How to rate it though, seeing it has yet to occur? Let's go for a preliminary rating of 12 out of 15, and see how things go...