Tag Archives: Sport

Footy is more than important.

Post #82: One Day in September

Footy is more than important.

It’s the morning of the Grand Final. In just a few hours, my beloved team, the Sydney Swans, will run out on to the hallowed turf of the MCG to do battle with the Hawthorn Hawks. And I am already incredibly nervous.

As I was preparing for work this morning, imagining what today might hold, my thoughts returned to one of my favourite poems of all time: Life-cycle by Bruce Dawe. There’s something noble and beautiful about the cycle of life built around football he expresses in this poem. Everything about it is perfect.

Life –cycle By Bruce Dawe
For Big Jim Phelan

When children are born in Victoria
they are wrapped in club-colours, laid in beribboned cots,
having already begun a lifetime’s barracking.

Carn, they cry, Carn … feebly at first
while parents playfully tussle with them
for possession of a rusk: Ah, he’s a little Tiger! (And they are …)

Hoisted shoulder-high at their first League game
they are like innocent monsters who have been years swimming
towards the daylight’s roaring empyrean

Until, now, hearts shrapnelled with rapture,
they break surface and are forever lost,
their minds rippling out like streamers

In the pure flood of sound, they are scarfed with light, a voice
like the voice of God booms from the stands
Ooohh you bludger and the covenant is sealed.

Hot pies and potato-crisps they will eat,
they will forswear the Demons, cling to the Saints
and behold their team going up the ladder into Heaven,

And the tides of life will be the tides of the home-team’s fortunes
– the reckless proposal after the one-point win,
the wedding and honeymoon after the grand final …

They will not grow old as those from the more northern states grow old,
for them it will always be three-quarter time
with the scores level and the wind advantage in the final term,

That passion persisting, like a race-memory, through the welter of seasons,
enabling old-timers by boundary fences to dream of resurgent lions
and centaur-figures from the past to replenish continually the present,

So that mythology may be perpetually renewed
and Chicken Smallhorn return like the maize-god
in a thousand shapes, the dancers changing

But the dance forever the same – the elderly still
loyally crying Carn … Carn … (if feebly) unto the very end,
having seen in the six-foot recruit from Eaglehawk their hope of salvation.

I love sport, Aussie Rules in particular, and all that is associated with it. There’s a culture and a vernacular specific to Aussie Rules, intertwined with a religious fervour. And I love how a few people have managed to accurately capture elements of it: the poetry of Bruce Dawe, the writings of Martin Flanagan, and the music of Paul Kelly. The game means far more to us than just something to do on a Saturday afternoon.

After the heartbreaking one-point loss in the 2006 Grand Final, I hope the universe smiles upon the Swans once again. I’ll be following the action online from my living room in San Francisco kitted out in full red-and-white regalia. Kick off is about 9:30pm SF. Let’s hope I can eat something before then!

Post #72: A Sport-Related Getaway

Post #72: A Sport-Related Getaway

Post #72: A Sport-Related Getaway

It has been six years (maybe more) since I pulled on a UNSW softball uniform. And I miss it. I haven’t found a team to play with here, and I have been itching to play again. So I signed up to play with work in a weekend tournament. It was fun event, and I met, but without the commitment required for a league team.

The tournament was in Folsom, a suburb of Sacramento, and (in)famous for its eponymous prison. And the weather was brutal. We played three games in temps that hovered around 108, which in Celsius is bloody hot. I have become so accustomed to San Francisco’s cool and breezy 64 F/18 C that a whole day in the heat and sun of 108 was a bit much for me. I conked out in air-conditioned comfort as soon as we checked into the hotel. It’s been a while since I’ve encountered a Sydney summer — I’m out of shape!

Back at the hotel. Celcius edition.

Farenheit edition.

Despite the conditions, I played okay. A little rusty, but that was to be expected. I had a solid hit in the second game, and it felt good off the bat. My fielding was reasonable and I didn’t make any errors in the field. The American played alongside me and played really well. He was a force to be reckoned with in the outfield, and even took a brilliant diving catch at centre. He also did well with the bat, and I had no idea that he batted left-handed. I love learning new things about him.

Being that we were all seeking shade and water, taking photos was completely forgotten. A shame, in retrospect, but maybe it was not such a bad thing. Sometimes you appreciate the memories of the event more when there’s no evidence.

What did you do over the weekend?

Post #34: It’s Bracket Time!

Welcome to the thirty-fourth post of the Great Writing Challenge of 2012.
Five days a week for six months, I will be given a topic to write about. The stipulation: it must be 250 words (or more), and positive in tone.
If you would like to suggest topics for me to write about, please email me at TheRebeccaProject [at] gmail [dot] com.

Post #34: It's Bracket Time!

Hurrah, it’s bracket time! It’s that time of year where I get to fill out my Bracket for the NCAA basketball tournament.

I just watched the President fill out his bracket (the ‘Barack-ket’, as ESPN was calling it). The Pres knows his basketball! He tipped the Tar Heels to win it this year, but I went for Georgetown. I went there on my exchange/study abroad program, so I have to pick them to win. Hoya Saxa!

NCAA Tournament Bracket 2012: Duke v Georgetown.

At the moment, professional Basketball is really lacking that je ne sais quoi. The NBA has suffered a great deal from the lock out, and the Golden State Warriors are perennial cellar dwellers. There’s just something about professional basketball that feels so… 1994.

But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I adored basketball growing up in the 90s. Unlike other girls, I did not take up shopping. I took up basketball. I was ALL about the Sydney Kings and the NBL.

When teen girls have posters of the heart throbs from Dolly magazine on their walls, I had the D-Train and K-Mac, Leon Trimmingham, and Greg Hubbard. I was so starstruck I couldn’t speak when I met my favourite player, Damian Keogh, at a book signing at Bankstown Square. Steve Carfino was constantly visiting our school to teach us basketball fundamentals (and our PE Teacher would just about faint with excitement – she totally had the hots for Steve). I would peer through my fingers anytime Tim Morrissey touched the ball, and have done much the same for his post-basketball writing career with the Telegraph. The Kings were a massive part of my life.

I played the game as though my life depended upon it. And in a sense, it did. My goal before leaving school was to make the rep squad for our athletic association, IGSSA. All of the girls from our school picked for an IGSSA representative squad had their name painted onto a merit board in the school hall. I desperately wanted my name on that board. It meant everything to me.

In year 11, I was picked for the IGSSA basketball ‘B’ team, and I was over the moon! But after a falling out with a PE teacher, my name was omitted. I fought this for a year, but they wouldn’t budge. So I turned around the next year and made the ‘A’ team. Vindication! And when the time came for names to be painted on the board for 1998, I stood there and watched the bloke paint until my name was on that bloody board! I may not have had enormous talent for the game, but I lived it and loved it. And to a degree, I still do.

Hoya Saxa!