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The Story of the Warriors: How Sport Unites a Nation – Breaking the Silence of New Zealand Viewers

OPINION

Sports aren’t just about what happens on the field; It’s about the way it fits into the fabric of our lives.

The infectious energy that spreads through the stadium as we all sing and cheer together is not just about the game, but also about being part of something bigger. It’s a symphony of support, a reminder that we’re in this together, cheering on our team, celebrating their triumphs and coping with their defeats.

As the NRL season comes to a close for the Warriors, it’s time to reflect on what has been an undeniably great year for the men of Mt Smart.

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The Warriors were beaten 42-12 by the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, but let’s not dwell on what might have been. We should celebrate the triumphs, spirit and pure joy that the Warriors have brought into our lives this season. They showed courage, passion and loads of Kiwi pride and that is a victory in itself.

One thing that has been more refreshing than a stormy south is the change in New Zealand sports fans. We’ve swapped our embarrassed shyness for an enthusiastic choir to rival any boisterous audience overseas. Believe it or not, we’ve found our voice, and it’s not just a polite golf clap. We’ve become a rambunctious bunch, shouting “Up the Wahs” and the team singing with an exuberance that makes the Wellington wind seem weak.

Traditionally, New Zealand sporting events have been as quiet as a mouse. It seems that many people think a Mexican wave is a daring adventure. Hopefully times have changed, however, and the Warriors have been the catalyst for this newfound fervor. The fans in Penrose showed what it means to transform a stadium into a roaring cauldron of passion.

The slogan “Up the Wahs” has become our national anthem of support that transcends stadium walls. It is a beacon of unity that shows how sport can bind a nation, even one as politically divided as New Zealand is currently.

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Although our Warriors may not have won the NRL title this time, they will be back stronger and hungrier next season. The fire is burning, the chants are echoing, and sports fans are ready to paint the city with “Wah” again.

Here’s to more noise, more chants and more victories. Let’s hope our sports fields everywhere reflect the Warriors spirit, and who knows, maybe one day we can rival European football fans in the decibel range.

Here’s to the Wahs and onwards until 2024.

Luke Kirkness is online sports editor for the NZ Herald. He previously covered consumer affairs for the Herald and was deputy news director at Bay of Plenty. In 2019 he was named Student Journalist of the Year.

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