I enjoy a game of tennis every week.
It wouldn’t take much, guys.
At the end of each set the four players meet at the net, try to say something witty to partner and opponents, and we shake hands.
Of course it’s only social – just a few old blokes hitting a ball around. There’s nothing at stake, no money involved and no months of hard training required. But we try our best to win each set and even get angry and frustrated when we don’t play as well as we think we should. Heated words are sometimes directed at ourselves, never at partners or opponents.
This weekend most of us watched two football Grand Finals, the Australian Rules ‘AFL’ final won by Sydney Swans and the rugby league ‘NRL’final won by Melbourne Storm. As the final siren sounded in each game, we TV viewers were treated to scenes of the jubilant winners hugging each other while the losers were left slumped on the ground. Not once did we see the simple gesture of the losers and winners exchanging a handshake. If it happened, the TV director didn’t consider it worth showing. Continue reading
Naturally I have to blog about footy today. It’s the only game in town this weekend.
Sydney plays Hawthorn at the SCG a few weeks ago. Another heartstopper of a match – Sydney ahead until the second last minute, then the Hawks snatching the win.
I blame Robbie Cameron, the boy who lived up the hill from us in Boyanda Rd, Glen Iris, Melbourne. When I was an impressionable seven year old he made me a tragic follower of Australian Rules and a lifelong devotee of the Essendon Bombers.
The Bombers have enjoyed some good years during the decades that I’ve supported them, and started 2012 in fine style, winning 9 of the first 10 games and leading the competition halfway through the season. Sadly they lost the last seven games and finished out of the finals.
That left me supporting my number 2 team, Sydney Swans. A good choice, since the Swans are playing the Melbourne-based Hawthorn for the 2012 AFL premiership. But it took a long time for the Swans to grow on me. Continue reading
In Utrecht this week I spotted a group of fit-looking gentlemen wearing Australian hockey tracksuits. I stopped to chat with them.
They weren’t the Kookaburras, the Australian hockey players who just collected Olympic bronze in London. They were the Australian Masters Team, preparing to play warm-up matches against the Netherlands and Germany before going on to the serious world championships in England. They were competing in the 70+ age division.
Now that I find inspiring!
There was stiff competition for places in the team, they told me, with selection based on a hotly contested 70+ Australian national championship. I thought when I passed 60 that I’d done enough running to last me the rest of my life. After meeting these guys I think it’s time to start serious training again.
I have 352 days to get in shape. The World Masters Games will be held in Turin, Italy, in August 2013.
My brother Andrew, who put together the side that triumphed in the World Masters in Sydney 2009 (Hockey gold medallists – 50+ Competitive Division) is entering a team to defend the title. I’ll do my best to be part of it.
Of course when in New York we had to go to a ball game. Yankees are the team all the other fans love to hate, we heard. They bought Babe Ruth from the Red Socks, er, some time ago now. They have an obnoxious owner, too much money and think they can buy a World Series.
They also have Derek Jeter and A Rod, Alex Rodriguez, two of modern baseball’s biggest stars. Continue reading
The early game - Sculpture: Louis Laumen
The Australian rules foot-ball match played on August 7, 1858 must have been a scrappy affair.
There were 40 players a side from Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar School, a field a quarter of a mile long, and the rules of the game not yet written. The game was continued over two more days and finally ended in a 1-all draw. Continue reading