I paid my accountant a visit recently to lodge my return for the year (oh the joys of paying tax). He’s on my blog distribution list, and was wondering where I find the time to spew out regular sports related dribble. I should have asked him not to worry about my time, but to use the blog to get me some extra tax breaks!!! I’m sure the ATO wouldn’t mind.
I digress...last weekend (or is that the weekend before last???) represented a milestone event – my first father – son footy outing with my eldest son. Ever since I bought him a Sparky Junior Eels membership earlier this year he’s been begging me to take him to the game. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately if you’re a Parra Eels fan ready to erase any memory of this season) for both of us the dimwits at the NRL pander to television stations more than to fans, so the schedule is great for watching the game from home, but not very family friendly for live footy.
SIDENOTE: It beggars belief that the AFL is more geared to live footy than the NRL, yet they still manage to secure more money from TV rights! If the men in charge of the NRL were running the show in any other corporate setting they would have got the arse a long time ago.
All morning he was bouncing around the house with unbridled enthusiasm. I told him we’d be leaving after lunch...but lunch just couldn’t come around quick enough. Armed with his Eels cap, Eels scarf and Eels backpack, we made the long trek from Parramatta to the Sydney Football Stadium. He loved the train trip...he loved the match – he wasn’t fazed at all that the Eels got trounced...he loved the hot chips...and he crashed out on the ride home, totally consumed and overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of the day. Overall a fantastic experience for both of us.
But...and there’s always a ‘but’ – I made some rookie dad mistakes. Everything in life is a learning experience, so I’m a better man for making some critical errors of judgement. Hopefully this posting can act as a guide for all new dad’s who are looking at brainwashing their kids to follow their favourite team. Here are some lessons learned:
- Form: If you’re going to take your kid to his first footy match, try and ensure that your team is at the very least competitive, most ideally on form and ready to win. Nothing worse than a three year watching his Dad screaming at Jarrod Hayne to kick for touch instead of putting the ball dead in goal...and then crying in anguish when Jarrod’s next kick goes out on the full
- Home ground advantage: Never, ever, ever go to another ground for the first experience. Make sure your team colours are everywhere, your mascot is centre of attention, and that most of the people around you are cheering for your team. Dad looks like a d#ckhead when he’s forcing the kid to yell ‘Parra” when everyone else is screaming ‘Tigers’!
- Fierce creatures: speaking of mascots, remember that these are young and impressionable minds we’re dealing with. Minds that are distracted by the simplest things, and can be turned at a moment’s notice. With that in mind, make sure the rival teas mascot is crap. Avoid the cool animals like Tigers and Sharks. Thank God for the Bunnies and the Chooks. We might not be able to beat them next year either...but at least my boy won’t be inclined to support them!!!
With all that in mind, bring on 2012!
THUMBS. It’s been an exciting couple of months in sports. Here’s my recap:
UP – Cadel Evans. Belated acknowledgement for one of the most amazing accomplishments of any Australian sportsperson. The Tour De France is one of the oldest, most prestigious and definitely most physically and mentally gruelling events in the world. And Evans finally climbed to the summit, both literally and metaphorically, to capture the sacred yellow jersey. Congratulations Cadel on an achievement that dwarves many in Australia’s rich sporting history
DOWN – Justin Bieber...sorry...James O’Connor. He’s the Ken doll who missed the World Cup squad announcement because of a heavy night on the tiles. It’s nice to know rugby league players aren’t the only drunken buffoons capable of looking like complete idiots!
UP – Wallabies. Inspirational performance Saturday night. The green and gold’s went toe-to-toe with the All Blacks and came up trumps for their first Tri-Nations championship since 2001. Great preparation for the World Cup
UP – Sydney Swans. Heartbreaking does not adequately describe the story of Jarrad McVeigh’s four week old daughter losing her courageous battle with a heart problem. The Bloods paid tribute to the McVeigh family by winning the unwinnable game of footy...Geelong at Skilled Stadium. Well done boys
UP and DOWN – AFL and NRL respectively. This story (http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/ground-zero-why-commission-must-tackle-sporting-apartheid-20110822-1j6tr.html ) created a lot of debate of the airwaves, as League tragics called to bitch and moan about Aussie Rules encroaching on their territory. Sorry guys, I don’t see it that way. This is yet another in a long list of examples where AFL is proactive and innovative, willing to think outside the box to establish their code as the pre-eminent footy code in the country. The NRL takes its foothold on the Eastern seaboard for granted, and its reactive and cumbersome approach will see its market share slowly dwindle
DOWN – Manly and Melbourne. It’s not really surprising that Manly would put the game into disrepute is it? Less surprising that Melbourne would be happy to follow suit. The brawl that erupted Friday night at the top of the table clash was disgraceful, and the NRL needs to throw the book at all guilty parties, regardless if it costs players the rest of the season
DOWN – NBA Players. The NBA s currently in lockout, meaning selfish and petulant players are striking because they’re not paid enough. Excuse me?!?! This is a league where rookie and veteran minimum salaries are close to a million bucks a year, where contracts are guaranteed without any performance inidcators, and where the players receive 57% of all profits generated by the league. Man up boys. You’d never get a deal like that in any other corporate environment
UP – Red Bull Racing. Winners...again
DOWN – Novak Djokovic. Loses his second match in 2011. Pitiful Nole...just pitiful. Only kidding. He was bound to drop another match this year. Just don’t do it again!!! At least not until after the US Open
UP – Kevin Durant. Check out this cool clip when KD drops four straight treys at Rucker Park http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DBsLxqH-0bQ
UP – Manchester United. An 8-2 drubbing of the Gunners overnight. Top of the table where they deserve to be. Rooney back in form. The new boys – Welbeck, Young, Jones, Cleverly etc. – all making significant contributions. Great start to another title defense. Ashley Young in particular has been on fire, and his two goals against Arsenal were absolute crackers. Enjoy http://media.smh.com.au/sport/sports-hq/man-utd-in-82-gunners-stunner-2588887.html?exc_from=strap
DOWN – Jose Mourinho. An old Sicilian workmate used to make fun of my man-love for Jose. And my love hasn’t diminished. But I am very concerned about The Special One. His recent antics (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olelvRKSpG8) during the second leg of the Super-Cup (another defeat to the amazing Barcelona) reinforce the notion that Jose is slowly losing his marbles
UP – English cricket team. Dismantled India four zip in their recent Test series, and thoroughly deserve the title of best team in Test cricket. Every batsman is a century threat, with Cook and Bell in rare form. The bowlers are all taking wickets. It’ll be a tough gig for the Aussies when the Ashes roll around
DOWN...WAY DOWN – Arsene Wenger. He’s an annoying French prat, but you have to respect his achievements and football philosophy. Scratch that. Had to respect his achievements. His lack of awareness of Arsenal’s shortcomings has hit the club like an iceberg hit the Titanic. At least the Titanic went down in solitude. Arsenal’s ship is sinking in the most public, humiliating and embarrassing way. Such a shame...not