Wellington Sevens - Day 1
It’s great to be back at the Sevens!
Fourteen years ago I was the "Face of the Stadium" and I attended every event held at Westpac Stadium for almost 2 years. During that time I was the Big Screen presenter for every event held there. My job was to find interesting folk in the crowd, put them on the big screen and to MC any competitions or events held on the ground. It was the sweetest job ever and one I held until I left for an OE. So my involvement with the NZ Sevens goes back that far. I roamed the Red Zone for the first two tournaments finding folk in costume and having a good time to put on the screen and give prizes to. I was involved for a few more tournaments when I got back as well but 2014 was my first time in quite a few years.
It was great to be reunited with the old team of Mark McLeod (ground announcer) and Craig Bain (big screen producer) who I had worked with all that time ago. It says something for the quality of the stuff that they produce for every event that they are still there so many years later!
This time I'm looking after two areas - I'm a judge for the Costume Catwalk and I'm presenting the "Boot For Ute" competition on the big screen.
As a bit of a warm-up I also MCed the Business Partners Function a couple of days before at the James Cook. It was a great gathering of all the businesses that had helped to put the Sevens on and the All Blacks Sevens team who appeared to mix and mingle. They also split up to help teams with a quiz held during the evening which I ran. The noteworthy aspect of this, which makes me think that everything is in good hands for the weekend was the level of preparation Sir Gordon Tietjen's team put into coming up with their quiz name!
As you can see from the picture, the day started brightly enough and for about the first 2 hours of costume judging everything was fine weather-wise. And whilst the costumes were good my fellow judges, Jan and Jenny from Totally Frocked, and I wanted to see a bit more life from those wearing them. It is a bit of a big ask to expect people to be completely comfortable dressed as a collection of carousels at the beginning of the day before the drink has set in - but we were hoping. Then the weather packed in. We found ourselves attempting to judge the final group of the day, a fantastic collection of toucans, in an absolute downpour that completely soaked the judging sheets and made writing anything intelligible impossible.
Then it was off to the warmth of the VIP lounge to rub shoulders with Jonah Lomu and complete deliberations for day 1. And in the meantime I was off down to the field to preside over "Boot for Ute". This was where 3 punters (literally punters - they had to punt the ball) were collected from the crowd to try and kick a ball into the back of the ute. If it stayed there they won it. No such luck on day 1 but I did meet the guy who is responsible for insuring all the major prizes in competitions like this one. It’s one of those benefits of the job that I get to meet interesting folk with interesting jobs. In this case the guy insures all sorts of things that might be given away in competitions. That's what his business is. He's one of only a couple of people who do this with clients ranging from the casinos down to local surf clubs.
But, like most people at the Stadium, although I met some interesting folk in some cool costumes I don't think I saw a complete game of rugby.