The reluctant coach

Auskick and other kids’ clinics aside, I’ve never had the urge to spoil my enjoyment of sport by coaching or refereeing.   Those thankless tasks for extroverts and masochists… Spectating or playing is my go, however average I am at those capers too. Alas, three times this year I’ve had to stand in for my kids’ soccer coach.  Notwithstanding my limited grounding in futbol and that…

Preston Lions find they’re raw

There would always come a day when torrid backyard soccer battles with Mr 9 would cease to satiate his undeniable passion for the round ball code. And so it came to recently pass my wannabe soccer star insisted on joining the local team of choice, Preston Lions (tucked away in the backblocks of Reservoir). I swear…

Too few are flipping Father Time the finger

As published by The Footy Almanac, 21 February 2015 If life is but a crack of light between two infinite walls of darkness (according to Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov), then how depressingly short is a career in sport? Despite great investment and advances in medicine, nutrition, training and recovery, not to mention Australia’s average lifespan increasing…

Fast (and slow) times at Wattle Park

By my reckoning Caddyshack and Crackerjack were cinema classics even before I worked in the golf and bowls industries, where it became apparent just how uncannily art imitated life. And there was plenty of ‘Crackershack’ material during my misspent youth at Wattle Park Golf Course, nestled in Melbourne’s leafy eastern suburbs. ‘So where do you usually play?’ I hated that question,…

Shock Losses

Beer, cigarette and couch addictions may be tickets to an early grave. But in the race to the cemetery gates, it’s not always survival of the fittest. In death, celebrities elicit an inordinate level of disbelief and sadness, no matter how faded their star, or how tarnished their reputation. The pressures and surreal lifestyles facing elite athletes aren’t…

Sports’ many cups runneth over, and over

As published by The Footy Almanac, 5 December 2014 ‘Always leave the audience wanting more’ is a show business adage that its insatiable cousin, modern professional sport, seldom follows. Every new sport or variation thereof, every new event, competition, tournament or series, exacerbates the potential meh factor.  Winners scarcely bask in 15 seconds of glory…

I’d hate to be a nag…

As published by The Footy Almanac, 5 November 2014 The distant rumble of thundering thoroughbreds can be heard as they round the final turn. Closer to home the noise escalates to an ominous din, there’s no escaping it now.  Something’s gotta give. The growing rumblings over the Australian horse racing industry have similarly reached a crescendo. …

Spring racing carnage; an inconvenient truth

Published as ‘The cruelty of the Melbourne Cup’ by The Guardian, 31/10/13 It’s funny how the bygone Olympic Park dog track elicits such fond recollections for punters who braved the chill air (and worse elements) on a Monday night. A dirty secret few mugs would know are the lifeless underperforming dishlickers that would confront cleaners on…

Captains Contagious

Published as ‘Who leads the many captains?’ in The Sunday Age Sport, 9/12/12  It’s fair to say Clive Palmer’s A-League foray curried little favour with Australia’s football fraternity.  One of the billionaire’s more audacious directives – Gold Coast teenager Mitch Cooper wearing the armband on his senior debut – typified his contrary sporting ideology.  It also…

Olympics’ Tired Honoured Traditions

Critics of London’s Olympic opening ceremony are in the minority, and I do concur Danny Boyle’s jolly jape was one of the better efforts in living memory. But my opinion on the five ring circus (published in The Sunday Age , 7/3/10) hasn’t changed. As a rule, most sporting traditions conjure positive vibes. Even antiquated grass courts, crap weather…

A Case for Mercy

As published by Inside Sport, July 2012 When a contest goes beyond the pale, where’s the pain relief? Since the lions routinely gave the Christians more than a good licking, humans have meekly stood by as the weak are plundered by the strong. And nothing’s changed if modern sport is any guide. Whether at the…

Social stadiums; winning friends and influencing people

As published by Facility Manager, April 2012 In the short time since that irresistible new temptress social media spectacularly entered the scene, it’s little wonder the world at large has been mesmerized by her candor.  Seductive, addictive, and on a bad day, awfully destructive. The social media statistics are staggering; more than 800 million Facebook users, 200…