When football was played with an oval ball

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times)

Back in my day, things were different. And by different, I mean better.

No, dinosaurs did not roam the land when I was a young ‘un, but we did have the Goodnight Kiwi, no-one questioned the political correctness of Eskimo lollies (hell, political correctness hadn’t been invented), young Stu greeted us on after-school telly, Mr Snuffleupagus was still a figment of Big Bird’s imagination, Stubbies were shorts not bottles and, when people talked about football, you knew they meant our national sport that is played with an oval ball.

My how things have changed: TV no longer goes nighty-night at midnight, instead we’re “treated” to hour after hour of infomercials or televangelists, all after our money and heart-strings; our kids watch so many American programmes that they think the most important woman in their life is called “mom” and the term football now means that other game, the one where the players run around cuddling one another every time they score a point.

Soccer (as it used to be known, and is still known by some of us) seems to have invaded the national psyche. We’re all excited and all a-flutter about the All Whites, as we should be.

Sure, soccer will never replace rugby as our national sport on a permanent basis (it could maybe sit in fourth place, behind rugby, cricket and binge drinking) but like any national sporting team that does well, the All Whites are suddenly our No 1 heroes. Everywhere you look, it’s World Cup fever, and Google has jumped on the bandwagon with another of their Doodle 4 Google competitions, this time going global.

To celebrate the 2010 Fifa World Cup, Google asked young Kiwis to design a soccer-inspired Google logo.
The designs of 10 young New Zealanders have been selected to go up for public vote.

The New Zealand design with the most votes will be displayed on the Google New Zealand homepage for 24 hours to support the All Whites on the day of their first game on June 15.

The New Zealand winner will then be entered into the global competition, where the winning design will be displayed on the Google home page of all World Cup participating countries for 24 hours next month. The winner and the runner-up are also in line for a holiday to Fifa World Cup host South Africa.

Voting opened on Tuesday and you have until Monday to pick your favourite. Make sure you vote, because we’ve got three young ladies from Winton in contention.

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