Friday, 11 December 2009
By MARIANNE KELLY
By MARIANNE KELLY
Howick and Pakuranga Times
LITTLE Kaitlyn Jacob knows an All Black when she sees one, and she’s not averse to trying to kidnap one when she gets the opportunity.
When the five-year-old met her hero Richie McCaw for the first time, she made her dad a tad uncomfortable when she asked why the All Blacks captain couldn’t go home with them.
That was after the International Rugby Board player of the year reached down and scooped up Kaitlyn when he spotted she was getting pushed around a bit by “somewhat larger fans”.
“It was very exciting to meet Richie because he is my favourite player,” says Kaitlyn, who was a bit star-struck when she met him at a computer software launch in Auckland’s CBD.
She describes him as “the best player in the whole world” and was over the moon to have her photo taken with him.
“I had to get up early in the morning to meet him,” she says.
“He was very friendly and I gave him a big cuddle. I didn’t talk to him. I just wanted to cuddle him.”
“Richie is one of the nice guys,” says her dad Tait Grindley, a born-and-bred Cantabrian who lives in Golflands with his fiancée Kristin.
Kaitlyn, who attends Botany Downs Primary School, has been watching the Crusaders, the Blues and the All Blacks since she was two. She knows all the players by name, including most of the present ABs.
But “her absolute hero is the Crusaders’ number seven”, says Mr Grindley.
A lot of people were milling around at the event but “Richie just let her sit with him for a while and carried on talking to me”.
“She just smiled from ear to ear and put her head on his shoulder,” he says. “What a guy and an awesome experience for a little girl who just loved seeing him and giving him a big cuddle.
“It took a while to get her to let go of him and I could only laugh somewhat uncomfortably when she asked why Richie couldn’t come home with us.”
Kristin says Kaitlyn loved going to Crusaders games – “good and cheap family entertainment” – before they moved to Auckland from Canterbury, and is glued to the television for matches McCaw is playing in.