Thursday, 2 May 2013

The Home Straight

Sporting Exile VI – Let’s Finish this list    

"No Dad, I’m not joining the Air Force".
I went home over the weekend... “Lachlan, I don’t think that’s the best shirt for you to wear, do you?” “No Mum. Good point. I’ll go change”.

In amongst our top shelf, witty and often highly satirical conversation my Father produced some old video tapes that he’d had transferred from an even older 8mm film he’d taken of my Brothers and I as children. Now I won’t be showing this at any pizza night for my friends soon but to see yourself and the rest of your family from 30 + years ago and the activities we undertook brought a whole range of memories flooding back.

A huge yard, trampoline, tyre swing, sand pit and a new Greg Chappell Gray-Nicolls Scoop for Xmas! Yep, there was no way I was avoiding sport in a place like that. I double skipped when I bowled, was a speed bump when trying to tackle and had a slice forehand (not good folks, not good) but it was obvious the child in the footage was having a great time. It wasn’t Dad in every shot telling what or how to do, it was he and Mum watching me grow and learn in a safe environment and just letting me play. Not a bad way to go.

Sport for children should be innocent and pure. So we all need to support the fight against betting on out television screens, being led by Peter Fitzsimmons. Check out his stuff if you get the chance at the Sydney Morning Herald.
And you may not be able to control the angry, irrational parent on the sideline but you let your own kids enjoy their game without the yelling. I guarantee they’ll enjoy it a whole lot more.

Now the final 10:

41. New Equipment – Yes a bit like new tennis balls but not exactly. A Club friend of mine worshipped Andrew Symonds who used to say he played better with new gear. Fine when you’re getting it for free like Andrew, but a little more expensive when you’re in 5th Grade….still every week he turned up with a new something. Thigh pad, gloves, shoelaces, anything so long as it was new. Not sure if it helped statistically. He did play 4th’s a bit one year but a lot of the Uni students had gone home for the Xmas holidays….

42. Enjoying Sport in difficult times – There’s a great book titled “The Sportsmen of Changi” by Kevin Blackburn if you’re looking to read something other than obligatory sports Autobiography. It shows how sports can transcend so many other issues, even mentioning matches between guards and POW’s. Bradman became more than a sportsman during the great depression when his batting deeds gave enjoyment to so many around the country. When times are changing or difficult sport can give us something to enjoy.

43. Disabled Athletes – Do you ever have those days when you’re sulking so much you can feel your bottom lip underneath your feet….no. Just me then? But when you look around and see others like Kurt Fearnley, Karni Liddell and hundreds of others giving their all and getting involved it a) quickly heels your lip issue and b) shows how sport provides and should continue to provide opportunities for everyone who wants to be involved. London was a showcase of some extraordinary people and athletes. These guys are inspirational at any level.

44. The Team Photo – When your team mates had hair (peroxided) wore coke bottle glasses and were 15kgs lighter. Priceless.
 Fold Arms

45. Passionate Supporters – A friend used to take me to Brisbane Broncos home games and show off his “trick”. He told me that you only need one actual word or name and a strong tone to get the crowd going. So off he’d go: “nnarrfy doooogoo rrriiifffi Broncos!” in a positive tone and inevitably people around him would cry out, “Yeah that’s it Broncos!” Or “fooglle gaaarnnner hhootspa Ref!” in a negative tone and off they’d go again, “Yeah that’s crap ref, let 'em play!” Hours of fun right there.

46. Sports Debate – Yes we should be doing something more worthwhile but sometimes it’s so much fun to talk sport and debate team selection, style, people involved. Go to a pub, bring up Watson and Clarke and sit back and enjoy that beer as you’re entertained for the next 15 minutes and then some pending on who you're with.

47. Introducing a newbie to a local sport – Explaining the rules (even if you don’t them – who does know every rugby rule?), taking them to the ground on public transport, pointing out the players, telling a young, naïve Aussie to turn up in the opposition colours to the Dublin Gaelic Football home game and giving him a ticket to sit with the home team’s support group so you receive death threats until they work out you’re from another country. Thanks guys.
 Always wear this to Dublin Matches

48. Saturday Mornings – Awash with kids of all ages participating in sports of all types. I knew a kid who used to cry when his sports was washed out on Saturday mornings. Crying not ideal but the sentiment, brilliant.

49. Collector Cards – I quote the Simpsons, “Bart: Oh boy! Free trading cards!
Milhouse: Wow! Joseph of Arimathea! Twenty six conversions in A.D. 46.
Nelson: Whoa, a Methuselah rookie card!”  
Exactly…..well sort of. You know what I mean.

50. Itchy Feet – So that’s it, the season is over and you’re retiring. It’s been a long year. It’s too much time and effort and you’ve got better things to do with your weekends or Monday nights than play social volleyball. But you won’t announce anything to your team mates yet……just in case you've got one more in you.....

Thanks Sport.

Talk later.


1 comment:

  1. OMG, I never thought I would read this. I used to cry when as a kid I could not play cricket in the evenings due to whatever reasons!
    I am 34 now and I still feel sad to miss out on Sunday evening cricket...