I was sitting in the other room working when I heard the netball on the television. Amy had flicked over during Project Runway (I love that show) and was suddenly enthralled by what may have been the most tense game we have ever watched.
I kept typing with the TV audio enough to keep me hooked as did the Twitter updates streaming through that were mainly made up of swearing, groans and score updates. The swearing was mainly aimed at the referees who seemed to a vague understanding of how the rules went and were just kind of winging it. Thankfully their odd calls went in both directions and I thought the commentators did admirably to keep their own swearing in their heads.
By this stage my superstition kicked in. We were seven points up going in to the final quarter and I hadn't been watching… so now I couldn't watch. I was stuck at my desk with only audio and twitter for company. Right at the death of the fourth quarter I snuck a glance at the TV, just in time to see Irene van Dyk miss the shot that would've won them the game.
I was devastated.
I sat quietly at my laptop again. How had she known that I had been looking? The extra viewer that caused her to miss. What had I done?
The extra time began and the first seven minutes went with little tension as the teams traded goals, then in the final seven the tension ratcheted back up. Poor Joline Henry on the sidelines looked like she wanted to burst out of her skin.
It was at this point that I noticed John Campbell's tweets of the scores were about three minutes ahead of the television. What was I to do? I closed the lid and ran upstairs to the TV and stood. I couldn't sit, for fear my complacency would lose the Ferns the game.
At some undefined point the second half of extra time became sudden-death. We needed to go two goals up to win it.
Each team was battling injuries. "The Axe" Casey Williams was limping, then developed cramp in her calf that was clearly noticeable as she ran through the pain, then after her head hit the floor during a fall she was clearly dazed. The Aussie meanwhile were crashing into each other and sliding on the floor, which was probably covered in sweat. At one point Norma Plummer looked like she going to kill the referees after they penalised the Diamonds for holding the ball when one of them went down.
And then when it happened, when the final goal went through, it almost seemed too easy. There was no odd bounce where we all held our breath, no balls circling the hoop only to drop in at the last moment. The lights didn't dim to let the final moment be illuminated with the flash bulbs of a manic crowd.
It just went through and we went mental.
I don't think I've seen a better game of netball and in reality it shows the strength of both teams. The Australians were as emotionally destroyed as we were elated. I read that the medal ceremony wasn't played on Australian TV, which is not just a shame (if true) but a tragedy. This was a match in which both participants needed to be glorified. Both teams overcame their large points-deficits; both held the lead and the momentum at various times; both dealt with obscure refereeing decisions; and both battled until the very end.
This maybe the greatest game of anything, ever.
Apologies for the recent lack of posting. I'm sure to catch my breath soon. Until then get along to the freakin Roller Derby! Both Auckland and Wellington have bouts this weekend and both look like they'll be HUGE.