Spectators at Auckland’s Hauraki Bay on December 20. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Marcus Wheatley is the head of financial services at Yellow Jersey PR in London.
Thanks New Zealand. Thank you for showing us what good looks look like. Thank you for giving the world the optimism that a brighter future is out there. Thank you for appearing in America’s Cup. Thank you to all the volunteers who gave up their summers for this. Thank you to the many people who packed the AC village. Thank you for giving hope to audiences around the world. Thank you for being enthusiastic. Thank you for encouraging. Thank you for watching. Thank you for hosting the America’s Cup so brilliantly.
I’m writing this from London drenched in rain on the shortest day of the year, locked in the highest tier 4 category with the rampant and highly contagious new Covid virus running rampant in the capital and the country. Turning on the television, we are greeted by adversity and seemingly endless calamities. I am afraid to leave my house. I am very worried about the welfare of my family. I fear, yes fear, a way out. The shops are closed. The bars will break and break. The theater closed with a barricade. The streets are quiet. The economy is in drastic decline. Really scared people. We’ve never seen anything like this before. Friends are dying. Many people are sick like never before. It’s a nightmare. Unspoiled nightmare.
So, what got you through? Well, everyone has their own poison. For me, I have several. Exercise puts me in a positive mood. I buy an exercise bike and spend up to three hours a day on it. Get me off the street. I walk the dog – he’s a lovely dog. I play computer games with my child. I am blessed with the best wife who is my rock. We’re talking. We support. In The Verve’s words: “I am a lucky man.” We’ll get through this. I’d love to go and see my boat in Cowes, but I can’t. I really want to go to a restaurant but I can’t. The list of restrictions is unlimited. But we are still positive.
But what gives me hope and encouragement more than anything else are the photos transmitted back from Auckland, broadcast free on YouTube. Getting up at 2 a.m. isn’t really your homework when the entertainment is so inspiring. It’s another world. Through visible glassware. And the smiling faces of Kiwi, sipping a beer or two, cheering at the Copa America really made it. And the faces of incredible children, wearing team shirts two sizes too big under adult hats and layers of sunscreen, faces painted with their national flags, cheering and screaming, free of masks and cleaners that literally brought them home.
I wish I was in New Zealand now – although I might get a visit from a grinder or two of Ineos – but I want to be there enjoying the sun and the atmosphere. A country at the bottom of the world but at the top. It’s amazing what you show.
Yes, the America’s Cup is an expensive thing to wear right now. Yes, there are social issues that need to be addressed and you have the right to question any public money that goes to the New Zealand Team. But please, don’t get under any illusion what is being accomplished here.
New Zealand presents itself on the world stage as a beautiful, progressive, intelligent, intelligent, forward-thinking, fast-acting, compassionate country rich in culture, heritage and with the best five million people on the planet. A flare shining in the dark. Leading the way on the water and beyond. Example. Where others can’t, New Zealand can.
Thank you New Zealand, it’s your time to shine and boy, boy, did you shine.