By Harbour Heather
Oh, Wellington. Pull up a chair, grab an ale, and let’s talk.
For my sins, I am a North Harbour fan. (Pretty sure we can throw Blackcaps and Warriors into that mix as well – I must have committed some atrocities in my previous lives). So, while the rest of the country points and laughs at you, we up here on the other side of the bridge, we can sympathise. We have been there.
We have been winless. We have been point-less, and pointless. We have been the laughing stock, the easy bonus point. We have been the struggling union ‘that should just amalgamate with their big brothers again.’ Gone are the Walter Little, Ian Jones, even Nick Evans days. Goldie couldn’t even help. Our crowds are smaller than Saturday under 12s games. We’ve been the lowest of the low.
So if anyone knows your pain, it’s us.
I come to you with hope. The only way is up.
People have continued to rubbish Harbour this season. However, in the cold, wet, echoing stands in Albany, I saw some hope. We weren’t losing by 30 points this season. They were closer losses, which might have hurt other teams, but when you’re a Harbour fan, a 4 point loss in your first home game of the season is almost a win. Unbeknownst to us in the stands at that point, we’d go on to increase our winning percentage by 200% from last season. Who else can claim such a marvelous statistic? These are the exciting things you can cling on to when your team just isn’t very good.
A couple of weeks back we won our second game of the season by doing what no one else could – beating Canterbury, the undefeated, 6-time reigning champions. I’d like to say we opened the floodgates for their form slump (you’re welcome, Southland and Tasman). We then defeated the reigning Shield holders, which of course gives us all that crazed, desperate confidence to say we’d have the Shield if we’d have played in Napier.
Last season, with a win, and a draw which was celebrated like a win, I’d have never have dreamed of these lofty heights. So, as the old saying goes, there’s always next season. Seasons like yours make the higher points even sweeter, no matter how few and far between they are. We might not make the playoffs, but I feel like I got my money’s worth from my team, if we’re comparing last season to this one. That may sound sad to other unions, but you’ve got to take what you can get when you’re a Harbour fan. After a season like this, I’m sure you understand.
With all due respect, this weekend I hope we don’t have something else to notch up under that title of ‘doing what no one else can’ in losing to Wellington. Your results this year have allowed us to hold our heads just that bit higher, no longer the worst record in the competition; “at least we’re not Wellington”. Perhaps you can take comfort in the fact that your losses have assisted in instilling some pride back into the mighty Hibiscus flower. Or perhaps not.
However, come 80 minutes on Saturday, should we not leave the Capital with our 4th win of the season, our best in recent memory, I’ll do my best to look at it as community service – we’ve been there, we know what that one win can do to (albeit temporarily) erase the pain, especially in the last game of the season. It’ll be our gift to you, as the only other team who really understands.
The rest of the country may look at this weekend’s match as a comedy, perhaps even a tragedy. They’ll smile condescendingly as we pretend this game actually matters.
Of course it does. May the best worst team win.
Follow Harbour Heather on Twitter