Sunday, 28 April 2013

Old notions in Modern Sport

Sporting Exile V

Sometimes intelligent and well spoken, sometimes....not so much. The modern day athlete.

Hearing from a Primary School Teacher the other day, she told me of some Professional Athletes who came to encourage students in years 1, 2 & 3 to read books by, yep, reading out loud to the class. By the time the third of her Year 1 students looked up at her to correct another mispronunciation of the book aimed at 1st to 3rd year reading levels she decided it was time for some Q&A of the athletes instead.

“Do you enjoy going to schools to meet the children?” One of her class asked.

“Definitely, yeah. It’s one of the funnest things we do.” Came the response. That's lunch Year 1.

She wanted to take the Athletes aside and give them a speaking and reading lesson. My argument was at least they turned up on time and in their sporting team’s clothing. Small victories.

So what has sport put forward this time:

31. The Team Song – I can’t remember all of the games I’ve been a part of. The good, bad and completely embarrassing but I have vivid memories of the great song renditions lead by some very amusing and enthusiastic people. Also great to sing the team lyrics when the team you support has another victory….or in the case of the Melbourne Demon fans, practice them. Sorry Dan.

32. Team Clown – Everyone’s got one and if you don’t then it’s highly recommended you hire one. Stats don’t show how effective this person can be, especially when things aren’t always going your way. A day in the cricketing version of hell (Valley’s Cricket Ground in Ashgrove, Brisbane at 38 degrees, and 90% humidity in the middle of January) was looking long. Our clown volunteered to run around the wicket block after every delivery of a six ball over and be back in place for the next ball. Sure he was cooked but totally worth it.

33. Great Strategies – When Duncan Armstrong rides the Matt Biondi stroke wave to create a draft that saw him over power Biondi for the gold in the 200m at Seoul the story of how the win was planned just blew me, and most definitely Laurie Lawrence away, “Stuff the silver, we came for the gold!”. Pat Cash breaking down the Ivan Lendl forehand in the 1987 Wimbledon Final, The UQ Med XV deciding to not drop the ball in a distinct game plan change for a sub districts semi-final are some of the best. Would love to hear some of your favourites?

34. Duets – Lennon & McCartney, Simon & Garfunkel, Abbott & Costello, Jerry Seinfeld & Larry David,  Kylie & Jason from Neighbours. Every industry has its great combinations. Sport lends itself to some terrifically entertaining duos: The Williams’ Sisters and the Woodies on the tennis court. Horan & Little for the Wallabies, Kenny & Sterling for the Eels, Lillee & Thompson opening the bowling for Australia, Lexcen & Bond for Australia II.  When great combo’s come together it’s something you never forget.
Dynamic Duos

35. Girls Playing with Boys – Something uplifting when in junior (and senior when it occurs) when the girls get to play with and against the boys. Equality on the sporting field in terms of payment and viewership (unfortunately) doesn’t remain in many cases as they mature but the girls more than hold their own when they line up against the boys in junior tennis, league, AFL, cricket, basketball – you name it. And it’s just great to watch.

36. Admitting Your Opponent Was Better on the Day – Yes, I know. It’s an old fashioned notion but it still happens and when it does it warms my aging heart. Is it just me or are some of the best at the moment the big four on the Men’s Tennis Circuit – Nadal, Federer, Murray & Djokovic?

Sure something may have gone wrong for you, not gone your way or even something that wasn’t called by a referee or umpire. But when you give credit to your opponent for their victory you also do yourself the same.

37. Sporting Poetry – No, not the latest jingo, rhyming beat your chest stuff. I’m talking the classics. The likes of Henry Lawson and for your reading pleasure, Banjo Paterson, “BRING me a quart of colonial beer, And some doughy damper to make good cheer, I must make a heavy dinner; Heavily dine and heavily sup, Of indigestible things fill up, Next month they run the Melbourne Cup, And I have to dream the winner.” Apologies if that's a bit too Tom Waterhouse.

38. Roy and HG – When seasoned broadcaster HG Nelson and retired athlete turned expert commentator ‘Rampaging’ Roy Slaven get going on any topic is there anything better….I think not. I miss them doing This Sporting Life.
 Anyone who listened as these two called the Greco-Roman wrestling during the Sydney Olympics with moves including “The Battered Sav”, “flat bag” and “hello boys” and didn’t laugh….well no one can help you I’m afraid.
"Do you listen to Roy & HG?"

39. Your Health – Again it’s an old fashioned notion but there is supporting evidence everywhere that being active helps you both mentally and physically. What better reason do you want?

40. Knowing useless and or useful statistics – Who owns the following…..99.94 runs per innings, 18 golfing majors, 17 for the men and 24 for the women, 6 NBA MVP’s (I hope I’ve got this one right…) and 426 AFL games played? And they’re just some of the big ones. Stats in sport keep going and going and going. So much so that if you do it properly there’s little time for number 39. So it’s win/win really.

Thanks Sport.

Talk soon.



Monday, 22 April 2013

Sporting Exile IV

Ok, this is meant to be an attempt at promoting the positives of sport and our sporting communities… but if I could just for a moment point attention to anyone who’s interested to the Four Corners story this week (22.04.13) on some of the drugs in sport stories that are prevalent at the moment.

It’s really important that sport is for ALL Australians. Not just for those who think it owes them and for those people who ONLY want to be associated with winners and names. We need to create organic environments for children, and adults for that matter, to enjoy and develop a whole range of skills on sporting fields, gyms, courts etc. From skill acquisition and problem solving through to socialisation and understanding of others.

What is dangerous is that some of the people who receive the platforms to comment on sport too often come from an ignorant, arrogant or one dimensional point of view. So therefore the problem is not necessarily what they say but who and what they ignore, put down and the negative connotations that have towards other opinions that have merit and deserve to be heard.  

At the moment we are falling short of some standards and ideas that reward skills, integrity and honesty. Administrations, Boards, Player Unions and Player Managers, Television rights and promotion of gambling are creating false gods out of people and a misunderstanding of the learning and development process – we’ll talk later, but interested in any views on this.

Of an even greater concern are the events at the Boston Marathon last week. Sad for so many reasons. The words of Robert Kennedy on violence ring as relevant as ever, “Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr's cause has ever been stilled by an assassin's bullet……No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of reason”


So, where were we…..oh yeah, happy thoughts…..sorry! Our next Ten things Great About Sport:

21. Sporting Movies – Come on, it’s ok to admit you have one or two or in the case of someone I know “The Entire Mighty Ducks franchise mate”. For me I’m a bit of a sucker for some Baseball action. Field of Dreams, For Love of the Game, The Rookie, Moneyball, Bad News Bears….throw in a bit of Major League and you won’t see me until Monday. I know there’s a lot of Rocky People out there too which leads us to no 22…..

22. Sporting Montages – The boys from Team America World Police had it right you do have to love a montage. Particularly a sporting one:

The hour’s approaching, just give it your best
You've got to reach your prime.
That's when you need to put yourself to the test,
And show us a passage of time,
We're gonna need a montage (montage)
Oh it takes a montage (montage)

Show a lot of things happing at once,
Remind everyone of what's going on (what's going on?)
And with every shot you show a little improvement
To show it all would take too long
That's called a montage (montage)
Oh we want montage (montage)

And anything that we want to go from just a beginner to a pro,
You need a montage (montage)
Even Rocky had a montage (montage)

(Montage, montage)

Anything that we want to go from just a beginner to a pro,
You need a montage (montage)
Oh it takes a montage (montage)

Always fade out in a montage,
If you fade out, it seem like more time
Has passed in a montage,

23. Crazy Extreme Sportspeople – Bless these folk who do all the things and more that your parents told you not to do and broadcast it for us to watch in amazement. Again you’ll all have your favourites but you’d have to agree that Felix Baumgartner freefalling from the edge of space recently is definitely something your Mum would have frowned at…..

24. Volunteers – The Australian Bureau of Statistics report recorded that 2.3 million Australians volunteered for sporting purposes in 2010. Whether they be parents, coaches, officials or that great club stalwart who is talked about for generations it’s so good to have people helping other people be involved.

25. Oranges at half time – It’s been a tough first half. The Centre Half-Forward, Wing Attack, Lock Forward, Opposition’s Key Weapon who you’ve been specifically asked to shut down, is all over you. A good coach might take you through some options and see what you’re thinking but you know the one you’ve got is more likely to send you a verbal spray. It’s going to be a terrible half time….hang on, someone’s brought oranges cut into quarters. Yes! Problem solved.
That'll fix it

26. Under 7’s Playing Football – Of any code, anywhere in the world is there a better sporting moment than this? No matter how you try to structure or spread them out it simply turns into a game of pass the parcel until someone runs with it and gets chased down or scores. When you’re team is down at half time (should I mention the Brisbane Lions here Jim?) an Under 7 match on the ground is one of the few things that can make you smile.

27. The magic spray – He’s been hit. There’s no way he’ll be able to shake that off and continue. Every chance it’s a fracture. Yep, here comes the trainer, he’ll have to come off now. No, wait, the trainer has something in his bag. What is it? It’s magic spray…he’s putting it on now. Compound fracture issue – solved. Play on son.
 That'll fix it
28. Finishing a marathon – As a tribute to any and all involved this week gone and marathon runners in general. How amazing was it to see Bill Iffrig, the 78yr old runner in Boston who was blown off his feet during the bomb blast get back to his feet and finish! His thoughts, “After 26 miles you’re not going to stop there”. Fair point. Anyone competing in and finishing a marathon is worthy of praise.

29. Playing for Your School – Although in some regimes where sporting scholarships and recruitment to win trophies and premierships is growing there also remains something special in playing with your mates at school and the memories they generate. I had a drink the other night with a true rugby and sporting fan. He was the First XV openside flanker at my high school the year ahead of me and in a well beaten side (most times – sorry guys) he gave his all every time. He still looks like tearing up each time I ask how hard it was to miss the game with our great “rivals” through injury. After his children I believe his School No. 7 jersey is his next favourite possession. If I asked him to choose between the jersey and his medical graduation certificate I wonder which one he’d pick…..?

30. The Smell of Dencorub – Amazing how smell can evoke such strong memories. Playing a game of touch football with old (very) friends the other day and one of them broke out the deep heat. It took me back to a time of dressing room pranks and preparations. Great moment.

Thanks Sport.

Talk soon.




Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Sporting Exile III - The Teens

Firstly, let us recognise here today Adam Scott. There’ll be enough written about him over the next bit of time for me not to go into details but in light of such a fantastic achievement I will share the tweet of Peter Fitzsimmons, “CLASS OF ADAM SCOTT IN VICTORY: "There was one guy who inspired a nation of golfers and that's Greg Norman, & part of this belongs to him." Nice.

It’s amazing how in such a vast area one can become claustrophobic but spend some time in IKEA and I think you’ll appreciate this (maybe it’s just males). There’s just NO…..WAY…..OUT. Every time my female friend stopped and commented on the next display, “Oh now that would go nicely with a beach house in Noosa”, my mind kept wondering back to Edward Norton in Fight Club, “Like so many others I had become a slave to the IKEA nesting instinct. I’d flip through catalogues and think ‘what kind of dining set defines me as a person?’” I may also have been thinking of ways to knock myself out so as to avoid looking at any further sets.

This led me to the next 10 things I still think are great about sport. I’ve also included a couple of ideas suggested – thank you!

11. Being in a team – It almost reads a little too simply….but finding yourself in a team for the first time can be one of the really great moments. Perhaps it goes to the human condition of wanting to belong? Many things are improved when shared. A long day in the field, an amazing victory, the telling of a joke, a stupid error or a devastating loss. To look across or listen to a room and know that you’re in it together is like having Mike Hussey coming in at no.6, very reassuring.

12. Knocking in a New Bat – Being an extratec man myself (you mean I can use it straight away if I just put the contact on it?!) I certainly appreciated the suggestion of knocking in a cricket bat. Taking it home from the store and starting the process of readying it for action. There’s a pride and discipline involved and it’s yours. The tapping, the oiling and the tapping again. Driving your parents crazy as you sit in front of the television night after night until it’s finally ready to go. Just imagine the joy of discovering extratec in a house of four cricket loving boys. Still, not the same as knocking in your own.

13. The Hours Leading Up to the Melbourne Cup – Even if you’re not a huge racing person there’s that special feeling about a race that stops a nation. All of a sudden people who don’t breathe of a word of horse knowledge for the other 364 days suddenly appear like a winter snow. “Oh, I think he’ll run well, it’s little heavy out there today”. “Should finish stronger than the others given its track work over the last 12 months”. “I like the one in Pink and Blue, I’ll have a dollar each way thanks”. Sport, creating experts since the joust.

14. Rivalries – McEnroe vs. Borg, Bird vs. Johnson, Frazier vs. Ali, Lewis vs. Kenny, QLD vs. NSW, Collingwood vs. Carlton, Warne vs. Lara. In Grade 2 it was Scott Campbell-Lloyd vs. Warwick Walsh on the handball courts at lunchtime. These great rivalries sustain us in our love of sporting support. Governing bodies try to create rivalry rounds but the great ones don’t need to be forced down our throats. They are the ones that echo through generations.

15. Not Having to Go to IKEA on Saturdays – Yeah that’s right, NOT going to IKEA is one of the greatest things about sport. I know this is meant to be a written format but sometimes a picture says a thousand words….
 This or Sport?

16. Your Favourite Commentator – Dennis Cometti, Ray Warren, Richie Benaud, Kerry O’Keefe, Quentin Hull, Bruce McAvaney, Bill Lawry….we could go on. You've all got your favourite quotes and impressions, go on, give yourself a moment...."She's going to do it Cathy....."
When you have a favourite you will go out of your way to hear him or her in your living room. For me it is the descriptive Gordon Bray, the voice of rugby in Australia. When Gordon gives me background beyond the touchline, "And Matthew Burke, lining up to convert the Kefu try, whose Grandmother is crocheting and watching tonight from the great sporting community of Wagga Wagga and cheering on the Wallabies, it leaves the boot...." I feel immediately at home.

17. Nicknames – Pup, Magic, Punter, Beefy, Nobody, the Black Pearl, Alfie. Sport lends itself to these types of names, and coming up with one that sticks is even more fun. When a former team mate of mine with an awkward stance and exaggerated grip on the bat came out and thrashed balls to all parts of the ground, throwing himself into every shot, it was suggested that he looked like Animal playing the drums in the Muppets. He hasn't been known as Mark since. 

18. Team Curses – The North Sydney Bears, Queensland winning the Sheefield Shield, the Collywobbles, the Curse of the Bambino, an Australian winning the Masters....oh wait. There's something quite fun about a team having this imaginary barrier that we can create in our minds that require something extraordinary for it to be broken. Of course the truth is winning anything requires planning, skills, work ethic and a bit of fortune but don't let that spoil the mythical curse - they're much more fun and the celebrations when they end are a joy to behold.

19. Playing Golf with Cane Toads – I wonder if we did a survey of golfers from Queensland (and now northern NSW), what percentage of them have ever practiced their pitching wedge on the ever growing cane toad population? My Brother and I found a few back in high school and each chose our favourite club. They both ended up in the wheelie bin - but only one remained there the next morning. Lesson being: Always complete your follow through.

20. The Comeback – When all seems lost for you or your side and all that's left to is pick up the spilt popcorn. Then from nowhere..... your team scores with still enough time on the clock to score twice. Australia II wins the 5th race of the Americas cup but still teeter on the edge of defeat at 3 - 2 down in the best of 7 races. Then they win the next race, score the next try and suddenly it’s even with one race or 60 seconds to go. And then…..from out of nowhere a moment you never forget, the length of the field try or Alan Bond lifting the boat to show Ben Lexcen’s keel and your Prime Minister declaring free days off work.
Thankyou Sport.
Talk soon.



Thursday, 11 April 2013

Reclaiming Sport – The Top 50


On one hand it was Abraham Lincoln who once said, “Better to remain silent and thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt”….

On the other, I think it was Homer Simpson who suggested, “How could you?! Haven’t you learned anything from that guy who gives those sermons at church? Captain Whatshisname? We live in a society of laws! Why do you think I took you to all those Police Academy movies? For fun? Well, I didn’t hear anybody laughing, did you? Except at that guy who made sound effects. Makes sound effects and laughs. Where was I? Oh yeah! Stay out of my booze”.

Both these quotes remind me of an athlete or coach talking from time to time. And how amazing that Lincoln could see that far into the future so as to warn Fullbacks from Canberra about their tweeting protocol?

But I digress. Thankyou to anyone who skimmed over the first five things great about sport. Some mixed comment on the Haka (sorry Tui) and some interesting suggestions as to what other people did and loved around their sporting youths that should be told. I can’t even count to 50 let alone think of a list that has 50 ideas and explanations, so any suggestions more than welcome.

So let’s keep going and see if we can’t get to our 10th reason by the end of the read.

50 Reasons That Make Sport Great:

No. 6: ANZAC Day – I know things are not well at Essendon at present and we should not ignore that in any way. But as for ANZAC Day, sure the AFL Grand Final is the ultimate prize in Aussie Rules….but when the Pies play the Dons amid the honouring and acknowledgement of those who have served Australia throughout the world on the most difficult of stages, there is something spine tingling about this event. 100,000 fans, split 50/50, in silence to respect the haunting last post before the deafening roar anticipating a great clash between two tribes. A 35yr old friend, in his own right a terrific sportsman, doesn’t know it but his face lights up like a 4yr old on Xmas morning when you ask what he’ll be doing for ANZAC Day. He’s told me of the day the Bombers came from nowhere (I think it was 2009) to snatch victory away from Collingwood eight times at last count – and he tells it like the first time, every time. I’m sure Pies fans do the same. A great event on the Australian sporting calendar. Let’s hope it’s peptide free.


No. 7: Selling a Dummy – From Under 7’s, to Wednesday night Social Touch Football, to State of Origin is there a better moment during any match than pretending to throw the ball but not and have this new space open up in front of you. It matters not that you don’t have the pace to get through the aforementioned space, what matters is you have made the space through your crafty brain and slight of hand. It’s the equivalent of having the tennis ball in your hand, with the dog in front of you begging for the throw so it can go fetch. You fake the throw and the dog flies off to where he/she thought it may have gone and there is a moment you feel vastly superior to the dog. The dummy is exactly the same. Right up until you get crunched from the side, or head on by the fullback, or, in my case tearing your hamstring attempting to accelerate through the newly created gap. For that split second you are the smartest person on the field.

No. 8: Great Team Names – What can I say, I like the names a lot of teams play under at all levels of sport. I completely get supporting your team and enjoying a great team name. How much fun is it to say who you play for and who you’re playing against this week….? The Dragons, Pies, Eels, Demons, Panthers, Bookworms, Dolphins vs. the Rebels, Suns, Lions, Saints, Buffalos, Redbacks, Tigers. And then there's my favourite 3: The Columbia FIGHTING KOALAS, The Hiroshima CARP & The Cairo SYRUPMAKERS. I can hear the ground announcer now, “Come on Cairo, let’s hear it for your SSSYYYRRRUPMAKERS!


No. 9: The Poetry of Roger Federer – Granted I don’t have lot of adjectives in my vocabulary. Even if I did have a plethora (noun not adjective unfortunately) of them I think I’d still fall short of the mark to describe watching Federer in action. He’s no longer the best in the world from a ranking’s point of view but a lot of people still go out of their way to watch him play. The game was seeing end of the Sampras era to which I was saying, thank god! My favourite battles were those of Agassi vs. Rafter whose contrasting styles saw such raw and riveting contests – check out their Australian and Wimbledon semi-final battles if you have time. Then along comes the man from Switzerland upsetting Sampras in the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2001. Hitting one hand off both wings, deft touch, power, spin, gliding over the court, some of the best shots of all time. Just great to watch.

No. 10: Learning Something New – It happens at all levels of sport and is surely one of the reasons we keep turning up? The joy on a kids face when they learn how to drop punt, how to pace their 800m run, catch something for the first time (I’m still waiting for this moment, should be good though). There’s a fast bowler I know, loved everything about him from the moment we met. Big, strong, raw, country boy who was his own man. He bowled big inswingers to the right hander and his bowling coach (one of the best) wanted him to be able to bowl an outswinger to get “nicks at the ‘Gabba”. They tried everything, angle of run up, position at the crease, angle of wrist at ball release, fingers on the seam, velocity of arm speed….but they just couldn’t get it to go. So accepting this they reverted back to just letting him bowl his way and work with that. Then one morning of a match the big quick started bowling outswingers, getting nicks, beating the bat and keeping batsmen’s feet on the crease as they weren’t completely sure. When he came off we were all dying to know what he did….”I just turned the ball around” In the happiest voice you’d hear. A 26yr old with a new trick – how good is that.

So there’s another 5 reasons to go out and kick the footy, shoot the basketball and roll the arm over when you get a spare 10 minutes.



Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Reclaiming Sport

Reclaiming Sport – 50 Reasons: 1 through 5



Hello Readers (probably just Mum if I show it to her – Hi Mum),

How’s things?

For a little while now a combination of stories, media reports, hear say and perhaps even some element of personal knowledge I was feeling somewhat hollow and disenchanted around sections of the sporting world. Was tired of “professional athletes” complaining or selling each other out, of player managers who scrapped for the last dollar on contracts, of political jockeying amongst staff, management and boards to show who knew the most, who would receive the praise and who'd get to go on tour.

I’ve heard of emails from a player telling why he should be paid more than another three players who he would always hang out with and pretend they were friends. Players and their managers threatening to leave the team as another organisation is offering more only to push the dollars to huge portions of total salary, sign to stay and then say to the journalists that he bleeds for his team and team mates and that he never considered leaving. Heard Strength & Conditioning Coaches guarantee that a hamstring will never be torn on “his watch” only to….well you do the math.

Watching players in many sports behave badly on and off the field, drugs, alcohol before training and after injury, ignorance, arrogance, poor winners, even worse losers and….talking in the 3rd person – dear god, please stop talking in the 3rd person!

So enough of that rubbish and feeling sorry about some issues facing the industry – money over loyalty, arrogance over skills, Tom Waterhouse. Let’s keep a sceptical view on much of what goes on and why – but for now, even just for a little bit let’s talk about what is good.

Let’s talk about….50 Reasons That Make Sport Great.

We’ll try and go back to the 6 year old in all of us who fell in love with something sporting for all the na├»ve and right reasons. We’ll start with 5 pieces of theory and go from there:

1.       The Sound and Smell of Opening a Can of New Tennis Balls – Yep, what a sensation. Pull back the lid and there is something magical about the moment. It’s better than smelling Mum’s Sunday Roast (poetic licence Mum). It means that play is about to happen, it means for people who like me move like a Rhino on ice skates, that you’re more likely to hit the ball on the first bounce and actually have a rally. Yep, great.
2013-03-18 15.39.06.jpg


2.       The Haka - When the Argentinians faced the All Blacks in the Quarter Finals of the 2011 World Cup at Eden Park I felt like giving a group of grown men in the Blue and White stripes a hug. They looked somewhat isolated. When the men in black produced the Haka it was if the Pumas were all alone and there was no way out (there wasn’t). How could you not enjoy this symbol of warfare between two tribes. The theatre, the aggression and quality. Wallabies talk about how to confront it yet respect it (do we walk towards it, smile, wear our tracksuits?). The crowds cheer, jeer and sometimes just sit and listen to it and I’m guessing that somewhere deep down even the opposition admire and occasionally fear it. Grown men walk to pubs openly saying, “Quickly, I want to get there for the Haka”. Priceless.


3.       Putting last years’ shirt/jersey/skirt on and it still fits - That’s right you stared down the strength and conditioning program given to you by…..well you read something in the Men’s or Women’s Health magazine from a few years ago in the barber’s/hairdresser’s. Your off-season routine consisted of couch, ice-cream, beer, three jogging turned shuffling sessions and watching The Biggest Loser or Family Guy. But you’ve come to the start of the year and it slips on like it was last season. Gold! Let’s hope you’ve made the same team. I was going to write something about wearing your favourite supporters jersey but a friend I know (Hi Dan – it’s ok Mum I know him) would strongly argue that adults shouldn’t wear their team’s jersey to the matches, “They’re never going to pick you to play”. So let’s just be grateful for fitting into actual playing kit. And if not, you get new kit – so it’s win/win really.


4.       Brian Lara’s Backlift - Not sure if this’ll appeal to anyone other than cricket watchers but if you’re not then all I ask is that you give it quick look to see if it has any effect….what’s the best comparison I can think of….it’s the same feeling you get when sunlight breaks through the on a cloudy day (that might be a bit much – sorry). For those of you who are cricket watchers, how good is it?! Wrists cocked, hands up, full flourish. On his day it didn’t matter who or where but the Lara and his backlift were going to hit you wherever the hell he wanted to – most often through cover point.


5.       John Harms’ Writing - I don’t read enough of his work but when I do it warms my heart. The way he writes, the reasons he loves his sporting sides and the characters involved in his adventures. He is a great reason to read about sport. Anyone who has read his sporting trilogy, Play On, will surely relate. His love of Geelong, long before they won three out of the last five flags, the punt, the Australian Test side and his beloved Camira are unquestionable. Harms himself speaks of what sport can mean to him, “My fascination with sport is in part the sheer fun of play; of striking a five iron out of the middle...” (I guess I can’t use that one now?). Anyway, give him a try when you want to read about sport on a different note.

So there’s a start. It may not be a State of Origin type start but we’re in the game and just for the shortest amount of time remembered what it is to enjoy sport.