1982 was a great year.
It was the year I started my formal education, starting in Mrs Slattery's J1 class at Selwyn Primary School.
It was the year the British Empire emerged from its catharsis, smashing the Argies when they tried taking the Falklands Islands away from Her Majesty.
It was the year that Chariots of Fire won the Academy Award for best picture (even though Raiders of the Lost Ark should have won), Israel invaded Lebanon to deal to the PLO, the Commodore 64 was first released and Michael Jackson's Thriller hit the shelves.
It was also the year of the 12th FIFA World Cup, the first - and, so far, only - time that NZ has played at the highest level of football, on the most global of all global stages.
How did the All Whites go back then? Well, they lost. 2-2 against Scotland after 64 minutes became a 5-2 drubbing by full time; the USSR were not seriously challenged in their 3-0 victory over our lads; and Brazil took it easy, scoring 'only' 4 unanswered goals against us. NZ finished 23rd out of the 24 nations, our goal differential being slightly higher than El Salvador's and enabling us to at least earn bragging rights over someone.
Since 1982, a lot of things have changed - or have they? I'm STILL in formal education. Israel hasn't attacked Lebanon to deal with terrorists for two years now - or at least not in any size that would make the news. Another sentimental favourite, Slumdog Millionaire, beat out the real best film of the year, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, for the Academy Award (even the Reader was a better film that Slumdog!). The release of Windows 7 resulted in almost as much hype as the C64 did. Michael Jackson may not have released a new album, but Thriller was back in the number one selling slot for a time after his death. And once more the All Whites are the focus of the NZ sporting public's attention.
Tonight, in Wellington, it is do-or-die stuff. One shot for glory. NZ must beat Bahrain - and if Bahrain score a goal, NZ must score twice as many - in order to qualify for next year's World Cup in South Africa, our first appearance since those days of yore.
Tonight I, like many other NZers, will be huddled around a TV watching, hoping, wishing, praying for the dream to come true: for our lads to be make it into the world's premier sporting event. They probably won't stand much of a chance once they get there, let's be honest. But simply to make it will be enough.
Tonight, the dreams of one country will be granted, and those of another shattered.
Tonight, I'm praying for sub-ten degree temperatures, driving wind, possibly a bit of sleet as well - anything to make the Bahraini footballers as uncomfortable as possible!
Come on, All Whites!!!