Archive for July, 2015


Not Like This

One of Goodes' many, many, many speccy marks

Now I will always love my Tigers above all other teams, but our local AFL team is the Sydney Swans and I’ll freely admit that I’ve always had a soft spot for the Red and White.

I watch more of their games live than any other team, so I suppose it’s hard not to like them just a bit and given 4yo has latched onto the Swans as his favourite team, I reckon that soft spot is there to stay. I never enforced any rule like Dad’s “everyone has a different team” and yet I ended up with a Tiger (7yo), a Giant (6yo), a Swan (4yo) and Co-Consul continues to deny that she’s a Bomber (like a lot of Bomber fans at the moment I suppose). I love the diversity of our footy family because it means I get to watch more football (reckon Dad was onto something).

Because I’ve been able to watch the Swans since I moved to Sydney, I watched as their 2005 Premiership unfolded, their 2006 campaign end in defeat and their 2012 Flag cement their spot as one of the power teams of the early new millennium. I’ve watched Adam Goodes develop from a gifted young rookie, to a Rising Star, to a gifted, yet injury-prone ruckman, get moved back out to the midfield to become a superstar, dual-Brownlow Medallist, dual-Premiership player and co-Captain, four-time All Australian, three-time Bob Skilton Medallist and Australian of the Year.

I respect the footy ability of every superstar the game has produced, but Adam Goodes is one of the few I feel is as deserving of respect for their work off the field as they are for their work on it.

I’ve never met the man personally, but from what I’ve seen on TV, live in games, live on the sidelines and heard about him – he’s a driven, passionate man with a quiet, considered demeanour. He seems a man who wants to set an example for young people of all backgrounds, but particularly for young Indigenous people whom he feels the deepest kinship. He is a man who can help make this country a better place to live and wants to make that difference with all his heart.

I have the utmost respect for Adam Goodes, for what he has done for the game of Australian football in New South Wales, for what he has done for young people and what he has done for the profile and respect Australians pay to Indigenous people. I respect him even more for the way in which he has gone about it – I have never heard Adam Goodes speak disrespectfully about anyone or anything, he has always maintained not only his calm, considered demeanour throughout his career, but has also dealt with the spotlight and the media with a class you don’t often see. Goodes has worked through the Sydney Swans in schools, raising money for charity, publicly spoken out against incidents of racism and with his 2005 Premiership teammate Michael O’Loughlin, has set up the Go Foundation which helps Indigenous kids complete their school educations and hopefully encourage them to bigger and brighter things than if they had dropped out. In our most recent generations of school-goers, 68% of Indigenous kids dropped out of school before they finished Year 12 compared to only 28% of non-Indigenous kids. Despite what the far-right paper the Daily Telegraph may have said (I won’t link to their “article”, but you can look it up) – this man deserved every bit of his Australian of the Year honours and then some.Adam Goodes with his Mum after he won the Rising Star in 1999

It saddened me to read this morning that Adam Goodes was considering hanging up the boots, not because his body could no longer take the rigours of football as many aging stars find, but because opposition crowds continue to boo him when he gets the football. It saddened me not because I think it’s true, I would think a competitive sports person like Adam Goodes would eat that sort of opposition heat and fire back with superb football (as he did) and perhaps the odd war dance (see – class), but rather it saddened me because people might actually believe that it’s true. That a man of this stature could be brought low by a bunch of half-pissed idiots in the opposition crowd.

Now for all that’s been written about the racist overtones of the booing of Adam Goodes, I don’t believe the phenomenon began as a racist thing. I personally think it began as a reaction to a couple of diving incidents. These incidents Goodes has said himself he’s not proud of, but many, many superstars have been caught diving – recent 400-game player Brent Harvey is a perfect example. Smart players, you see, will do almost anything to win and Boomer and Adam Goodes I think are cut from the same competitive cloth. Star players also seem to get an easier ride from umpires because they are star players and both Goodes and Harvey have certainly had their share of star treatment on-field. Some years ago, after a couple of questionable on-field incidents, opposition crowds started to boo Boomer Harvey, but the Kangaroos faithful quickly picked it up and decided to own it with the “BOOOOOOOOOOOMER!” cry every time he touched the ball. Now it’s a Kangaroos war cry.

The fact that the booing of Goodes has continued, I think indicates that it has now become about race, as the sadly inevitable racist elements of every crowd latch onto the booing and join in – thinking that they can suddenly get away with expressing the racism which our increasingly educated society has forced them to hide away in recent years.

Well I’m here to say that they can’t. We’re not going to accept people booing this man for any reason – particularly for the absurd reason of his cultural background!

Goodes as Co-Captain winning the 2012 PremiershipWhat I’d like to see is one of two things: either everyone who attends the next Swans match to call for any booers to shut up or for Sydney Swans fans to take a leaf out of the Kangaroos book and own it. Make it a war cry of your own “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODES!” You’re going to need to publicise the ownership so that everybody knows it’s you and not these other wankers, but why not? Own it! It worked for Boomer.

But whichever way, I’d like everyone with half a brain cell to stand up for one of the greatest players to ever play the game – one of only fourteen players to ever win two Brownlow Medals – stand up for a champion of not only the Sydney Swans but of the sport of Australian Football, stand up and show respect to an Australian who has done many things to make this country better, stand up for a man who, unlike many of these booing idiots who claim to be proud of an Australia they’ve had nothing to do with improving, should be able to walk away from the game proud of his achievements and the respect he has earned from them.

Goodes could well have been planning to hang up his boots at season’s end anyway, but this blight on the game should not be the closing chapter of Adam Goodes’ playing career. He should be respected as one of the great players ending his career in style as part of the Sydney Swans team which made their 6th successive Finals appearance and their 12th in 13 years.

— IEK

hawksAs the AFL community at large turns its attention toward the seemingly unstoppable Hawks and bookmakers continue to shorten their odds of the Flag heading to Glenferrie Oval for a third straight year, the early favourites in Fremantle, despite still sitting on top of the ladder, are looking a little tired after their 9-0 start to the season.

 

 

 

dockers_trainingFew could deny that the Dockers’ results since the bye in Round 12 – even the unconvincing wins over bottom-4 opponents – are proof that their stamina is flagging. But if history is anything to go by, then all is not what it seems when the Dockers cross the white line in mid-to-late season.

Whilst at the helm of St Kilda, Fremantle coach Ross Lyon was well known for punishing his Saints on the training track in the lead-up to the finals and July-August was when the pain began (for the players and the fans).

In Round 16, 2009 the Saints were a game clear on top of the ladder (sound familiar?). They comfortably beat top-8 sides Adelaide and the Bulldogs, then in Round 18 only just snuck past a Sydney team languishing in 11th spot, then went on to lose two of their final four matches against opposition either vying for 8th spot (Essendon) or out of the race entirely (North Melbourne). The Saints went on to finish on top of the ladder in the home-and-away, but lost to Geelong on the big day.

It was a different story in 2010 when the Saints under Lyon had just gone down to Collingwood in Round 16, they drew with Hawthorn in Round 17 and were sitting outside the top-4. With their position in the 8 anything but a certainty, Lyon said in an interview that the team weren’t in a position to “flatten out” in matches due to training overload. Interestingly, 2010 was the closest the Saints got Premiership glory, drawing with Collingwood in the first Grand Final before being soundly beaten the following week in the rematch.

By 2013 Ross Lyon had made the switch west and the Dockers, despite sitting in 5th, had the luxury of a soft draw leading into the finals. A review of the results and comments from Lyon would indicate that the 2nd-year Dockers coach brought forward the timeline for his punishing training burst in order to make a tilt for the top-4. Coming off what Lyon called a “really heavy training load”, the Dockers lost to Richmond at the MCG in Round 16, then proceeded to win every match until Round 23 when (the team’s position in 3rd assured) Lyon elected to leave most of his stars in Western Australia and team which more closely resembled the Dockers WAFL Reserves than the best-22 were handed a thrashing by the struggling Saints at Aurora Stadium. That the Dockers caused one of the upsets of the season the following week in Qualifying Final against the Cats vindicated Lyon’s decision to not only leave the stars at home the previous week, but also the heavy training load in June-July.

Perhaps their result in the Grand Final against the Hawks two weeks later suggests the heavy load went a little TOO early to pay the ultimate dividend.

This year, given the Dockers are a game clear on top of the ladder, two games clear of the 3rd-placed Hawks and have a run home which the coach could conservatively pencil in as at least 4-5 wins, one suspects Ross Lyon has his players’ pushing themselves harder than every before at every training session right now (several weeks later than 2013). The extra training load will likely be a factor in every match up until the last few when the whip will have been put away to allow the players’ bodies to build up strength ready for them to explode into the last couple of home-and-away rounds and the Qualifying Final.

With the exception of very few, the members of this Dockers team will still feel the pain of the 2013 Grand Final loss to the Hawks and with their position on top of the ladder, they will each know what it takes to not only get to the big day, but also how it feels to get there only to fall short. The Dockers are hungry.

dockers_huddleFeeling the training load most of all will likely be the Dockers youngest and oldest players. Possibly the reason for the drop-off in form of Captain Matthew Pavlich. Is this the mighty Docker’s last season? Will the thought of seeing the greatest player their club has ever seen go quietly into the night without having tasted Premiership glory drive them to take it now?

Only time will tell, but one thing’s for sure – we shouldn’t write off the Dockers just yet.

— IEK

Day 36:

My Master,

As you may have felt from the minor disturbances in the force, there have been some personnel issues during the test firing of the new Death Stars medium-range defensive cannons.wpid-wp-1437112064391.jpg

An accident during a live fire exercise has resulted in the death of an infantry stormtrooper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A subsequent investigation determined that the personnel register originally drawn up for the Death Star’s crew (see graphic) did not include any actual Death Star Gunners. This oversightdeath_star_personnel forced the Moff in charge of tasking to use the only senior staff not already assigned to critical tasks. That’s right – we had to use managers. Unfortunately the manager in charge of test-firing the medium-range cannons was trying to cut corners and get to lunch early, so failed to aim before they fired.

 

I have dealt with the manager responsible appropriately.

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I have also ensured that some trained, experienced Death Star Gunners have been posted to the Death Star. The medium-range guns have now been thoroughly tested.

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The Death Star WILL be completed on schedule.

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All my love,

— Darth Vader

 

cuneiform
Yes…my name is something starting with “I” and it has been 21 days since my last blog post.

I am a bad monkey.

It’s not so much that I haven’t had anything to post about, in fact, Co-Consul, 7yo, 6yo, 3yo & I just spent 10 days in Asia partying like it’s 1989, but rather while myself and my family are overseas I tend not to like to post about it. I’m not sure if I’m so much a private person or whether it’s more the relentless fear my parents drummed into me regarding being broken into & robbed which prevents me from blogging about or while on holidays, but either way, I put a ban on it. The utterly shite WiFi in some of the hotels we stayed in* was also a minor factor.

But here I am! Back to the land of Oz, rather a lot colder than I was in Singapore, Malaysia or Thailand, but all the better for having travelled.

Before we left I was feeling tired, stressed, overwhelmed and I wasn’t writing very much at all because I felt so tired, stressed and overwhelmed. Yes, yes – I know I should just keep going, but it’s very hard to do that when there is approximately 1 hour per week in which you can just keep going. My life seemed to have scheduled writing out of it and not being able to find time to write was part of what had me so stressed.

While we were away it was even more difficult with the kids sleeping in the same room as us, the timezone changes throwing us all out juuuuust enough to be annoying and there being SO MUCH to do during the days that the nights consisted of putting the kids to bed, then sleeping. But I got to thinking: I need to write, I WANT to write, I LOVE to write, so why don’t I just write? Why don’t I actively schedule in some writing time and just ignore everything else for those periods?

So here’s the plan:

  • Monday: Write on the bus + Monday Night Games (optional blogging when MNG goes tits-up…you know like tonight)
  • Tuesday: Write/Edit from 8 – 10
  • Wednesday: 5am Writers Club (yes – ouch. But it’s SOOOOO good)
  • Thursday: 5am Writers Club + 30 min blog window which could be filled with Writing/Editing
  • Friday: Party night. No writing unless Co-Consul is out, then it’s WriteClub!!
  • Saturday: 30 min blog window which could be filled with Writing/Editing
  • Sunday: 5am Writers Club + Write/Edit 8 – 10

So let’s see how this goes, but if I can actually DO this, it should give me around 8-9 hours writing time per week. Which is around 7-8 hours more than I’m getting at the moment and means I should have Bifrost’s second draft finished by the time I can draw a pension. HUZZAH!

Yes, I’ll write a travel blog post soon.

— IEK

 

*Not LEGOLand – its WiFi was solid

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