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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 11, Issue 3 (June 1, 1936)

Panorama of the Playground — New Zealanders Are Sportsmen

page 56

Panorama of the Playground
New Zealanders Are Sportsmen

At one time New Zealanders were looked upon as the best players of Rugby football in the world. There is sufficient proof, however in the experiences of teams visiting Great Britain and Ireland, South Africa and Australia, that this much-prized reputation is no longer upheld by results. Be that as it may, New Zealanders can rejoice in the knowledge that wherever their Rugby players have played they have left behind a fine reputation as sportsmen. Surely such a reputation is better than a mere “best players recognition? And with the gradual acquisition of Rugby knowledge among Continental, American and Japanese people there is every reason to believe that the oval ball code will eventually reach the universally high standard enjoyed by Association football. When that day comes—and the dawn of it is near—New Zealand will not have many seasons in which international tours do not figure as regular fixtures.

One impressive feature about the growth of Rugby is the manner and enthusiasm in which it has been adopted on the Continent. In France, unfortunately, the zeal of the players led to an abandonment of Rugby relations between France and England, but in Sweden a totally different state of affairs exists. In that country a “Rugby school” has been in existence for three seasons! An English paper states: —

“Sweden's Rugby school, which has just entered its fourth year and was founded in order to inculcate the principles and spirit of the game, and to teach its rules to aspirants, has given such satisfactory results that a move is being made in France to establish a similar institution. Most of the instructors in the Swedish school are Britons, and they carry out interesting courses of practical and theoretical teaching. At present only the national federation's school is authorised to examine intending players and certify them as suitable, but next season certain clubs may be authorised to establish schools.”

It reads strange to New Zealanders that intending players have to pass an examination, particularly as New Zealanders are born to Rugby football, but the ultimate high standard that must be attained by a thorough practical and theoretical knowledge will surely prove the project to be worth while.

The Radio and Sport.

Five or six years ago radio broadcasting had not reached the high state of perfection that we know it to be to-day, and few purchasers of sets realised just what wide range of entertainment was to be put at their disposal. Nowadays it is accepted as commonplace to hear broadcasts of the running of the Melbourne Cup, the All Blacks playing in England, Royal messages from England, or English radio programmes. But in sport and radio there is always something fresh to interest those who are not blase. When Jack Lovelock raced Glenn Cunningham in America last year, an English sporting writer timed the race in England! He started his watch at the report of the gun heard by radio in England and stopped it as the announcer told of Lovelock passing
The Bessborough Hotel of the Canadian National Railways at Saskatoon, Canada.

The Bessborough Hotel of the Canadian National Railways at Saskatoon, Canada.

the post—and his watch showed time only one-fifth of a second slower than the official time! That was just one of the thrilling uses of radio in sport. Another example comes from the Arctic wastes. Here it is: —

When H. B. Toft was selected as a hooker for England in a recent Rugby match he received innumerable congratulatory messages, but the one he prized most came by radio from Brandy Bay. It read: “Congratulations, good luck in match,” and was signed “Moss.” The sender was R. Moss, a school contemporary of Toft's. Nothing thrilling about that, is there? But wait a minute—. Moss is a member of the Oxford University Arctic Expedition to North-east Island. The party consists of ten men with a base camp at Brandy Bay, but Moss and one companion have established a camp of two on the ice about forty miles inland—(or in-ice?)—where they are conducting physical research into the nature of the ice. They are completely isolated for fourteen months, and from March to the end of April Moss was alone living in a hole bored in the ice, while his companion, was away on another task of research. The only means of communicating with the main party, and the outside world, was by wireless. The batteries were charged daily by suspending a bicycle and pedalling, the back wheel geared to a small dynamo. The names of the English team reached Moss over his radio, and

(Continued On Page 60 )