We can’t outspend them, so we’ll have to out-think them” – Emirates Team New Zealand boss, Grant Dalton
Were he still alive the great mythologist Joseph Campbell would have been proud to see New Zealand, our small country at the bottom of the world, win the America’s Cup in yachting against all odds. This most epic of sea battles whose origin dates back to 1851 bears all the hallmarks of the Hero’s Journey myth, Campbell’s subject of interest.
I was prompted to pen this wee piece when I heard a radio presenter say she wasn’t interested in the America’s Cup, and a few other commentators sniffing about “a waste of tax-payers money”. I say we need heroes – we needed them in Ravensbourne (Dunedin) when the Signal Hill plantation went up in smoke last January and mercifully good men showed up in their flying machines with monsoon buckets – and whatever it costs is worth it. At a time when the Masculine is all too commonly represented as loser and abuser and boozer or engineer of terrorism, we should all be interested when a great and wondrous myth of good heroism unfolds across our 21st century screens. The 5 o’clock starts were worth it. It’s not just sport. Not just entertainment. It is the classic Call to Adventure where the best a man can be gets showcased: his technological prowess, his strength and stamina, his devil-may-care and his loyalty. It’s all there on the global sea stage; potty, rich kings, demons and dragon face-offs, old foxes jousting young rookies, the skulduggeries of taking down our flags, rascally opponents, ghosts (of San Francisco) then the art of the comeback after sinking to the depths of despair, magical helpers, and the pauper prince stealing off with the sailing world’s oldest trophy under the noses of the Establishment…
And what prize is this beautiful intelligent display of contemporary masculinities seeking? Answer: the chalice, the holy grail of sailing, a Victorian piece of silverware nicknamed the Auld Mug which our collective unconscious dimly remembers happens to resemble the many-breasted, slim-waisted, broad-hipped sculptures of the pre-Christian nature religions – the Divine Feminine that nurtures humanity. We see the heroes drink from it. It’s good to know we are still capable of acting out the remnants of a grand ritual of renewal and hope that thinker, theologian and mathematician Sir Lloyd Geering suggests we need.
So let’s celebrate the new 3 R’s of Kiwi educational culture: Relief, Redemption, and Revenge (in a good way) as spoken by veteran broadcaster Martin Tasker. Kiwis don’t choke anymore. Today’s young Kiwis can act on the global stage, can cross the finishing line with style and panache, and can bring home the treasure of treasures in what was an unbelievable win that out-thought everyone.
Annette Rose is a registered nurse, doctor’s wife, mother & grandmother, social anthropologist, creative entrepreneur & storyteller, and in the future she wants to be an angel investor.
Read Annette’s previous Corpus pieces, about mask-making with children in the wake of the Christchurch earthquake: