Posts tagged sport

Love the Olympics? Try these sporty reads

If you’re a sporty person you’re probably in heaven right now with all the Olympic Games coverage on TV.  There are heaps of different types of sport to watch, from swimming and rowing, to gymnastics and athletics. 

We have heaps of sporty books in the library for you to enjoy.  Why not try these:

We also have a great page all about the Olympics, where you can find out about Canterbury Olympic Athletes and visit some interesting websites with information about the Olympic Games.

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Cauliflower Ears by Bill Nagelkerke – Chapter 10

Chapter 10: Injury

‘It was a fair throw!’ I said, wondering what had happened.

The ref nodded. ‘Agreed,’ he said. ‘But a foul tackle.’

At first I didn’t know what he meant, so I looked to where he was pointing. Poor Sprigs lay on the ground, one leg twisted under him.

Taggart stood beside him, grinning, but sly and dangerous looking as well.

‘Legal tackle,’ he said.

The ref shook his head. ‘The ball had left Sprigs’ hands,’ he said.

‘Hadn’t,’ said Taggart.

‘Had too,’ hissed Sprigs from below.

‘You OK?’ I asked him.

‘Just twisted my ankle I reckon,’ said Sprigs.

The medics helped Sprigs off the field.

‘I’ll be OK,’ Sprigs said. ‘Good thing it’s not you being carted off,’ he told Grubber. ‘Your old man would’ve had a fit.’

Grubber looked anxiously towards the sidelines. ‘What’re we going to do now? We’re a man down.’

Sprigs glared at Taggart. ‘I’ll be back,’ he said.

‘Not likely,’ said Taggart.

Taggart was still grinning, but not for long.

‘Sin bin,’ the ref said to him.

‘Wha . . .’

‘Don’t argue. I’ll talk to you later.’

‘Not fair,’ said Taggart.

But, even so, he couldn’t stop smirking. He knew what he’d done. He’d taken out our best kicker.

‘Oh no,’ said Grubber suddenly.

‘What?’ I asked.

‘Look,’ said Grubber.

I looked. We all did. Striding towards us was Grubber’s dad.

‘He’s going to tell me to get off the field,’ said Grubber. ‘I just know he is.’

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Cauliflower Ears by Bill Nagelkerke – Chapter 8

Chapter 8: Wings

‘Did you see how he tackled Danny?’ I asked Sprigs. ‘The ref should’ve spotted that, he was right there. If I’d been the ref I would’ve done something about it.’

‘It was legit,’ said Sprigs.


‘But legit.’

And I knew he was right.

Things improved a little after that bad beginning. Grubber scored a try and Sprigs’ place kick converted it sweetly between the posts.

Seven – seven.

‘At least my leftover lace is still working its magic,’ said Sprigs. If he could have bent down far enough to kiss that lace I’m sure he would have.

‘The try will help keep my dad awake and on his toes,’ said Grubber, sounding really pleased.

‘You did good to get him to stay and watch for a change,’ said Sprigs.

Grubber’s dad was a nurse at the hospital. He worked in Accident and Emergency. Grubber’s dad didn’t like rugby much, because he thought Grubber was going to get injured one day, but Grubber loved the game so much that his dad just had to let him play.

‘I told him this morning that I’d never talk to him again if he missed seeing us win the Junior Home World Cup,’ Grubber said.

‘You didn’t mean it, did you?’ I said.

Grubber didn’t answer me.

I was happy that Sprigs had converted Grubber’s try. Me, I’m not a kicker.

And I was really, really stoked that Grubber had scored that try.

But I couldn’t help wishing that it’d been me. I’m a winger, you see. That’s why my nickname is Wings. When I’m running I feel as if I’ve sprouted two massive feathery things that fly me all over the field.

I desperately wanted a chance to use my wings before the final whistle blew.

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Cauliflower Ears by Bill Nagelkerke – Chapter 7

Chapter 7: Kick-off

We were playing into the wind for the first half, which was good. It meant that the second half, when we’d be more tired, would be easier for us.

Spike Maynard, the captain of the Reds, stared over at our captain, Chip Butterfield.

‘Got the collywobbles?’ he asked.

Chip stared blankly at him.

‘Don’t you get it?’ said Spike. ‘Colly as in cauliflower.’ He turned to the Reds. ‘Not only thick ears but thick between the ears as well.’

Some of the other Reds laughed maliciously.

‘We’re going to flatten you lot,’ said Spike. He turned to look at me. ‘And you’d better keep out of the way if you know what’s good for you.’

‘Takes more than a bad haircut to frighten me,’ I said to him.

Grubber, listening to this exchange of compliments, momentarily thought he might have to dash for the toilet again but then something happened which made him forgot all about it. The ref had blown his whistle.

Danny Millwall, our first five-eighth, kicked the ball into play. The Reds and Greens both dived for it. Sprigs grabbed it but it slipped between his slippery, muddied fingers. The ball bounced and twisted like it was alive, but luckily ended back in Danny’s outstretched hands. Then Spike suddenly rammed into Danny – it looked like a high tackle to me – and bowled him over. The ball popped from Danny’s hands, bounced again and was picked up by one of the heavy Red forwards who spun round and raced into our territory. He was too quick for any of us. He threw himself between the goalposts for a perfect try.

Five points to nill.

Half of the spectators cheered. The Red Brigade.

The other half, the Greenies, stayed silent.

Five points to the Reds, and another two for the easy conversion that followed.

Seven to nill.

Seven points on the scoreboard, in the first few minutes of the game. What a way to begin the Grand Final. What a way to begin my final game.

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Cauliflower Ears by Bill Nagelkerke – Chapter 5

Chapter 5: Team talk

‘Listen up now,’ said our coach, Mr Marlow.

We stopped exercising and listened up.

Mr Marlow had been a top player in his day. We knew this was true because of his cauliflower ears. The left one especially was flattened and lumpy from having been in too many scrums and rucks.

Mr Marlow’s ears had given the Green’s our other name. We didn’t often use it as a name ourselves. It was the rival teams, especially the Reds, who did. Whenever they called us the Cauliflower Ears, which was each time we played them, they used it as an insult. But we took it as a compliment, just as Mr Marlow had suggested. We’d even put it into our team slogan to show how proud we were of it. Grubber had written the slogan. He was good at writing poems.

‘This is a noteworthy day,’ Mr Marlow continued.

We all nodded. It couldn’t get any more noteworthy than this. The Greens were in the Grand Final for the first time ever.

‘Repeat after me,’ said Mr Marlow.

‘This is a noteworthy day,’ we repeated.

‘It’s the Grand Final of the Junior Home World Cup.’

‘It’s the Grand Final of the Junior Home World Cup.’

‘And futhermore . . . ’

Mr Marlow paused for a second or two, then went on.

‘. . . it’s Wings’ last match with the Greens.’

I felt really weird when Mr Marlow said that. It made it seem more real than ever.

When mum and dad had first announced that we were going to live in Wellington I felt:

  1. like a stunned mullet
  2. angry
  3. sad
  4. more angry
  5. a little bit excited

But I knew we didn’t really have much choice. My parents were both from Wellington originally and they’d always said they’d go back there when they got the chance. Now the chance had come. Besides, boths sets of grandies and most of my aunts, uncles and cousins lived there, too.

‘You’ll find another team to play in,’ said Mum.

‘Maybe.’ I said. ‘But they’ll be nothing nearly as good as the Greens.’

Wings’ last match with the Greens.’

Everyone turned to look at me as they repeated Mr Marlow’s words. I turned away and gazed at the muddy ground. We’d played together for so long, it was going to be tough to quit. That’s why we had to win today. Mr Marlow had called this game my swansong, my final appearance.

‘We can do it,’ Mr Marlow said.

‘We can do it,’ we repeated as one.

‘We can win.’

‘We can win.’

‘All it takes . . .’

‘All it takes . . .’

‘Is applying the skills we’ve learnt and practised . . .’

‘The skills we’ve learnt and practised . . .’

‘Our determination . . .’

‘Our determination . . .’

‘And consideration . . .’

‘And consideration . . .’

‘For each other . . .’

‘For each other . . .’

‘And . . .’

‘And . . .’

‘The opposition.’


‘I’m waiting guys.’

‘The opposition,’ we said, knowing that consideration was the last thing the Reds would show us.

‘Great stuff,’ said Mr Marlow.

Then we chanted the Green Team’s slogan. It was short but sweet.

Three cheers

For the Cauliflower Ears!

‘Remember,’ said Mr Marlow, ‘you’ve come this far by fair play and by following the rules, so don’t let yourselves down.’

Then Grubber said the thing we’d all be thinking. ‘But the Reds give me the jitters Mr Marlow. They’re thuggish. That’s why everyone calls them the Devils.’

‘And that’s why you’re proud if they call you the Cauliflower Ears,’ said Mr Marlow.

‘Why?’ asked Sprigs.

‘Because you know how to play the game,’ said Mr Marlow. ‘And a good game played by Cauliflower Ears will always beat a bad game played by Devils.’

‘They foul all the time,’ I said,‘and they always try to make sure the ref doesn’t see what they’re up to.’

‘Then they’ll be the losers, whether they win or not,’ said Mr Marlow, which sounded strange but true at the same time. Not that we wanted the Reds to win, of course.

‘I’ve got to go to the toilet,’ said Grubber, suddenly all jittery.

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Cauliflower Ears by Bill Nagelkerke – Chapter 4

Chapter Four: Jitters

Kick-off was at eleven. At ten-thirty both teams, the Greens and the Reds, the Cauliflower Ears and the Devils, were warming up at opposite ends of the playing field.

We needed the warm up, and not just to get our muscles loose and supple. It was really chilly out on the field. Our breaths were puffs of steamy white.

‘Just listen to that,’ said Grubber.

‘What?’ asked Sprigs.

‘The roar of the crowd.’

Sprigs and I looked round. The single stand had several dozen people on it, their hands wrapped round thermos flasks. There were also about fifty supporters standing in little groups on the sidelines, marching on the spot to keep warm. The Red Brigade and the Greenies. But you’d hardly call it a crowd. And it certainly wasn’t roaring.

‘That’s not a crowd you’re hearing,’ I said. ‘It’s your heart drumming.’

‘That’s what it is,’ agreed Sprigs.

‘Is not,’ said Grubber, but he clutched his chest all the same.

‘It’ll be because your dad’s staying to watch the game,’ I said.

Wings was right, even though Grubber wasn’t going to admit it. He’d managed to drag his dad out of bed and make him solemnly swear to stay for the whole game. Now Grubber wasn’t sure it had been such a good idea. He always felt queasy before a game.

Today he felt worse than usual. His lips were dry and his stomach was doing flip-flops. His heart, now that he had his hand over it, was definitely banging away like a jack-hammer. Grubber wasn’t surprised Sprigs and Wings could hear it. The whole team probably could. Actually, he’d never felt this bad.

‘I thought I was going to be late,’ said Sprigs, as we stretched our legs and swung our arms. ‘Man, it was hard finding matching laces.’

This time Grubber and I looked at each other. ‘Can’t have been as hard as me having to wake my dad up,’ said Grubber.

‘You two can laugh,’ said Sprigs, ‘but no way was I playing without a matching bootlace.’

‘We’re not actually laughing,’ I pointed out.

‘Not yet you aren’t,’ said Sprigs.

‘What I don’t understand,’ Grubber said, ‘is why you only replaced one of the laces. They come in pairs. You could have put in two new ones.’

Sprigs shook his head. ‘I just had to leave one of the old laces in,’ he explained. ‘They’ve been my lucky laces all season.’

‘Don’t we know it,’ I said.

Sprigs was our top scoring fullback. He hadn’t missed a goal kick all season. We were all depending on him, and his lucky laces, in the Grand Final.

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Cauliflower Ears by Bill Nagelkerke – Chapter 3

Chapter 3: Butterflies

Grubber felt sickish. He always did before a game. His stomach had gone swimmy, his head felt light and floaty like a helium-filled balloon.

‘Maybe you’d better stay home,’ said his mother.

‘No chance,’ said Grubber.

‘But if you’re feeling crook wouldn’t it be more sensible?’

‘It’s not that sort of crookedness,’ Grubber explained.

‘Crookness,’ his mum corrected.

‘Whatever. It’s butterflies I’ve got. I can feel them dancing around.’

‘Are you sure that’s all it is? If you’re not fit to go, then sit the game out. It’ll keep your dad happy. ’

Course I’m fit!’ said Grubber. ‘I wouldn’t miss the game even if I really was sick.’

‘In that case, go and try waking your dad again.’

Grubber went to the bedroom where his dad was fast asleep after doing his nine hours on night shift. Grubber shook his dad’s shoulder.

‘Come on Dad. The big game’s starting soon. I need you to run me over.’

His dad groaned.

‘Hurry Dad, please, we’ve got to be there in less than an hour.’

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Cauliflower Ears by Bill Nagelkerke – Chapter 1

Bill Nagelkerke is a fantastic local author and one of our previous Star Authors on the blog. Bill has written some great books, including Old Bones and Sitting on the Fence, which are set in Christchurch.  As well as being a writer, Bill has also translated books, reviewed books for magazines and newspapers, been a judge for book awards, and he used to be a Children’s Librarian at Christchurch City Libraries.  

Bill has very kindly given us permission to publish his rugby story, Cauliflower Ears, right here on the blog.  We’ll post a new chapter every second day over the next four weeks so you’ll need to keep checking the blog to follow the story.  A huge thank you to Bill Nagelkerke for sharing this wonderful story with us!

Chapter 1: Getting ready for the big game

All over town members of the Green Team, sometimes called the Cauliflower Ears, were getting ready to play their final game of the season.

At Number 13 Lucky Street I was eating breakfast, wondering if Mum was going to make it back from Wellington in time for the kick-off.

At Number 54 Hoani Street, Sprigs was inspecting his boots, holding them up by their lucky laces.

At Number 217 Templeton Drive Grubber was wondering if he was going to be able to get his dad to wake up in time to take him to the big game. And also wondering if he would manage to get his dad to stay and watch for once.

My name, by the way, is Wings. You’ll have guessed that Wings, Sprigs and Grubber are our rugby nicknames, not our real names.

It was Saturday. The Saturday, the day of the big game, the Grand Final of the Junior Home World Cup series. The game in which we, the Green Team, were playing our arch rivals, the Reds, sometimes known as . . .  the Devils.

‘It’s just a game,’ my dad said as I wolfed down a great plate of porridge.

‘You don’t understand,’ I said. ‘It’s not just any game, it’s the game. It’s the Grand Final. In more ways than one,’ I reminded him.

You see, Mum had got an important new job in the capital, in fact she was already working there a few days each week, and we would soon be moving cities. This was going to be my last game with the Greens. Ever.

‘I know it’s important . . .’ began Dad, but I didn’t give him a chance to finish.

‘This is the one game we have to win,’ I said.

‘Well, just remember this,’ said Dad as he tidied the breakfast things away. ‘You’ve always given it your best shot, one hundred percent plus. No one can do more than that.’ He looked at me. ‘And don’t they say that the most important thing isn’t winning or losing, it’s how you play the game?’

‘Huh,’ I said. ‘Not when it comes to the Grand Final of the Junior Home World Cup. No way.’

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Rugby read #3: Sitting on the Fence by Bill Nagelkerke

With only 3 weeks to go until the Rugby World Cup kicks off, we want to share some rugby reads with you.  If you love rugby and reading, then these books are for you.  This week’s Rugby Read is Sitting on the Fence by Christchurch author, Bill Nagelkerke.

It is 1981 and Martin senses big trouble brewing at home.  The South African rugby team has been invited to tour New Zealand.  Martin’s sister, Sarah, is out to stop the tour in protest against South Africa’s racist apartheid system.  His rugby-mad dad is equally determined that the tour should go ahead.  Martin wishes the whole thing would simply go away.

“You just fence-sit like a dumb bunny,” Sarah tells him.  But Martin would just rather not take sides.

Then a new school leads to a new friendship, and Martin is faced with a choice.  He can walk away, or he can become involved in something that will end up being bigger than anybody could have predicted.  The story is based on the Springbok rugby tour of New Zealand in 1981 when the nation was divided between pro and anti tour supporters.

Recommended for 9+

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Join the 2011 Reading Crusade and win


If you love rugby and reading then you should join the 2011 Reading Crusade.  If you’ve never done the Reading Crusade before it’s a fun reading promotion run by Christchurch City Libraries and the Crusaders rugby team.

All you have to do is read six books, fill out a reading log and get a parent, teacher  or librarian to register your reading.  Once you’ve registered you’re in the draw for heaps of cool prizes.  Find out more on the Reading Crusade website.

Each week we have a Reading Crusade Challenge for you to try and we’ll be giving away some great new books each week to Christchurch kids who comment on the blog.

Get reading and join the Reading Crusade!

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Big Weekend for Sport

My family is going to have square eyes by the end of the weekend. On Friday the Phoenix play the Gold Coast. As it is comng from Oz it isn’t on until 11pm. It is usually replayed so check the guide. Saturday Canterbury meet Otago at Carisbrook, 5.25 pm. Lion Foundation netball is on from 12.30. There is also the replay of the AFL final. You will have to check the guide for the time.

Sunday is the big one for us. NRL grand final and the UK Super league final. At Old Trafford St Helens meet Wigan, 6 am our time.

Coverage of the NRL Grand Final starts after that with shows like the Footy Show until 4 pm when the Junior Warriors take on South Sydney in the Toyota cup final. That promises to be a great curtainraiser. Both teams play with alot of flare and are not scared to throw the ball around. Then the big one the Grand final. The safe methodical Dragon who slowly strangle the life out of their opponenents with the best defence in the NRL against the Roosters. Last years wooden spoon winners and written off by many early this season. They have a shocking defence and win games by out scoring the opposition. They have flare and speed and are a dream to watch. I’m backing the Roosters to win.

Our wonderful Star Author Brian Falkner has written a wonderful book about league. It is called Henry and the Flea. Daniel wants to play for the Warriors. The problem is he is only 12. How does he do it? It’s a great book about friendship, loyalty and sport. It is also very funny.

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Sensational new football books

The world seems much quieter now that the Football World Cup has finished and everybody has put down their vuvuzela’s, but I was really enjoying watching the games on TV even though I’m not a very sporty person.  If you’re missing the World Cup too you can always get outside with your football and boot it around, or you could borrow one of the sensational new football books that we have in the library.

The Kingfisher Football Encyclopedia has lots of information about playing the game, football legends (including some famous women footballers), the various football clubs, and the major football competitions including the European Championships and the African Nations Cup.  There are heaps of photos of players in action and the best part is that it has statistics about New Zealand teams and players and Australasian football websites that you can visit in the back of the book.  For presentation and the information that it has in it.   7 out of 10

The Football Book published by Dorling Kindersley is one of the coolest football books I’ve seen.  It’s brand new so it has up-to-date information and just looks cool.   It has information about playing the game, particular skills that you need to know,  statistics of different teams (including New Zealand), and information about the World Cup and other football tournaments.  There are also diagrams of the best football stadiums in the world, photos of different football trophies, diagrams to help you learn skills like goalkeeping and taking penalties,  and even a photo of Ryan Nelsen.  This is the best book if you want to know anything about football and a great book even if you don’t like football.   10 out of 10

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All Whites – All Right

Who would have thought it? The All Whites one game away from reaching the World Cup quarter finals. We have attracted a lot of international media attention.  Have a look at for this article and more. With any luck some of our players may get decent international contracts.

Are you staying up for the game?  Do you think we can beat Paraguay and even make it to the quarter finals?

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Win ‘Sammy goes to the World Cup’ with Stuff

Sammy goes to the World Cup is the latest book about football fan Sammy and her team the Shooting Stars, by New Zealand author Michele Cox.  In the latest book, Sammy wins a competition to go to the World Cup in South Africa to meet some of the world’s best football players.  Not only are these great stories, but Michele, who is a former New Zealand football representative and member of the FIFA Committee for Women’s Football, includes playing and fitness tips to help you improve your football skills.

If you would like to win a copy of this exciting new book from Michele Cox, news website is giving away 5 copies of  Sammy goes to the World Cup.  Just go to the Stuff website and enter to win.

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Unless you’ve been hiding underneath a rock, you’ll know that the Football World Cup in South Africa has started.  There’s soccer all over the news and on the TV and even somebody like me who isn’t really a sporty person can’t help but be excited.

There are lots of books in the library on soccer, from books teaching you how to play to stories about kids who love the game.  New Zealand author Michelle Cox, a former New Zealand representative soccer player, writes books about a girl called Sammy who loves playing soccer.  Check out our selection of soccer books, magazines and DVDs:

You could also check out these cool websites:

Are you watching the World Cup?  If you are, what do you love about it?

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