Posts Tagged ‘Rugby’

Autumn is leaving its leaves.

May 24, 2019

I leafed through the book on leaves.IMG_0125autumn.JPG

Autumn leaves.

Autumn is almost gone but with the warm weather it has been dawdling and only now the leaves are leaving. In a week’s time it will be winter and yet many trees are still in leaf. I took the above photo to preserve how beautiful leaves can be. Back some decades ago, I went through a period of drying leaves in books but still remember how a fascinating discovery it would be coming across those after a year or so, when opening the book.

I sometimes wonder what will be still showing when autumn befalls us and what be left of any of us? A photo album, my postage stamp collection, a few boxes of photos, copies of rate notices? A faded marriage certificate? (With many, perhaps divorce certificates). I recently found a yellowed certificate of quantity-surveying together with one of printmaking including lithography. What will be made of us when a great-great-great-great grand child in two hundred years time will decide to dig into their heritage and open up the drawers to find those long lost dusty remnants of our lives?

The beauty of a nice fall preceding a good refreshing winter is that it gives a chance on reflection. How did it all go? Sure, a good melancholy has always been welcome, give a philosophical escape, especially in late autumn. Many escape reflecting on the past, and find escape in petrol driven leaf-blowers or go gambling at a club, watch footy on TV or worse,  give vent to a hopeless despair by denigrating Muslims or the Chinese.

For many the watching of falling leaves has a lot going for it. It gives a respite. I love it!

The Falling Leaves

November 1915
Today, as I rode by,
I saw the brown leaves dropping from their tree
In a still afternoon,
When no wind whirled them whistling to the sky,
But thickly, silently,
They fell, like snowflakes wiping out the noon;
And wandered slowly thence
For thinking of a gallant multitude
Which now all withering lay,
Slain by no wind of age or pestilence,
But in their beauty strewed
Like snowflakes falling on the Flemish clay.

The lie of “it isn’t cricket.”

March 26, 2018

 

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Our Grandsons at earlier times. Now teenagers!

 

A few days ago the ABC featured an article whereby fathers were trying to come to grips with the upbringing of boys. It was a father and sons article. It featured a photo of young smiling boys with cricket bats in their hands. The perfect roll model for creating future generations of wholesome men. It was presumed that young boys could not fail but to grow up as honourable and steadfastly focussed in pursuing a life on being good and caring adults. Learning cricket with fathers is sure-fire antidote for young boys to the dreadful Trump and Weinstein culture now so pervasive all around them.

http://www.radioaustralia.net.au/international/2018-03-24/how-junior-sport-can-help-teach-boys-to-be-good-men/1744754

And then the biggest scandal in cricket exploded. Australia has always been a country of cricket. I remember during the first year of having arrived in Australia I became curious about the steady serious drone of male commentators on radios filtering through the venetian blinds of the suburban street walking on my way home from work. . When I inquired, I was told ‘it is cricket’, ‘don’t you know?’

We now know that the expression; “it isn’t cricket” has to undergo some serious revision. ‘Cheating’ is now embedded in cricket. The fall of this sport from grace is spectacularly shown on every front page and on every TV channel. The cricket ball was tampered with. Every few minutes we are shown the video in slow motion of a world famous cricketer trying to hide a small piece of yellow tape in his underpants. This piece of tape was supposed to alter the cricket ball’s curvature and spin when hurled through the sky on its way to the wooden bat and so presumably give an unfair advantage to one side of the playing teams. The plot to cheat was apparently hatched when during a spell they all were drinking cups of tea. The cricket Captain was involved during the tea break and it met the approval of those ready to win at all cost.

Anyway. For those with long memories, I have always maintained that as long as any sport is run maniacally to win at all cost, it will sooner or later come to a sad end. I even suggested and fostered the idea to have losers declared to be the winners at times. In other words, enjoy the playing of the game no matter what the outcome. Winning is all so overrated.

There are all sorts of sport worms now coming to the fore. In Rugby, rorting with salaries is now being exposed. In cycling a champion had to give up his medals because of taking cycling enhancing drugs. Russian sports people are banned for doping and heaven know what else.  One burly Australian footballer went on a rampage in New York City assaulting a family with children and is welcomed back into his rugby team. Can you believe it?  He hasn’t even apologised and paid the amount of compensation as demanded in a Court of Law.

http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/aussie-league-stars-new-york-rampage-i-didnt-know-when-help-was-going-to-come/news-story/257c6eb3211f91cb63801ff2a96e357d

Well, young fathers; I would give visiting sports venues with young sons ( why not daughters as well?) a miss for a while. What’s wrong with a nice outing to a library or art gallery, let the kids run wild amongst friendly non combatting books or soak up a good nicely coloured Chagall painting?

It might do some good. Sport is just not ‘cricket’ anymore. That is a great pity!

 

Watch the Matildas wipe AFL and Rugby out of the sporting pages and (lack) marriage equality.

September 21, 2017
Image result for sam kerr backflip

                          Sam Kerr doing the backflip

Move over boys, the women are coming! Nothing has been more exciting than watching women take over the back-page sporting pages away from the men, and not before time. The on-field backflips of Sam Kerr are sweeping the world.

I am normally not interested much in sport and find it a great pity that one is forced to endure sport before the  weather forecast. I often forego the weather report in order to miss a particularly ear-grating sport commentator. The horror of discovering, after our arrival in 1956, that a sport was being played in Australia with a ball that wasn’t round has never really left.

The Australian all girl soccer team of the Matildas is now winning over the admiration of many if not all. The reluctance of allowing women sport to be equal to that of men isn’t yet totally won over, but it is happening. They still play in lesser stadiums and earning lesser pay but the enthusiasm of the crowds are rising rapidly. The Matildas thrice win against Brazil was the clincher. A full proof sign that it is gaining momentum is the fact that our grandsons and their mates are now watching the women soccer games being played on TV.

The spectacular backflips of the main striker Sam Kerr after scoring her goals, are shown world-wide and grabbing attention that could not be improved upon no matter how well the advertising of sponsors.

It’s almost pushing the Same Sex Marriage debate off the news.

Last week on Q&A ( question and answer)  the Israeli politician Merav Michaeli was on the panel who  was sceptical of all marriages and concerned about the effects of break-up marriages on children, the equal rights of property division etc.

“Israeli parliament Merav Michaeli, whose reaction to Seselja’s meandering celebration of heterosexual marriage alongside his scaremongering over the school curriculum was best captured by guest host Virginia Trioli.Trioli to Michaeli: “You didn’t let Zed Seselja get through that answer without lowering your eyes. You have a jaundiced view of this institution?”

Jaundiced isn’t the half of it: “It was created back at the time when we women were commodities, as were children, as were men without property and of other colours. This is not something that we should maintain in the world when we realise all of us are human beings. It is not about love. 

“I realise the campaign says that love is equal. Love is definitely equal. It’s got nothing to do with this institution. This was a tool that was made to dominate women for the sake of reproduction. For men to have legal custody over children which are to the largest I would say chance of certainty their own flesh and blood. This is not something we should sustain.”

The best answer for the ‘yes’ vote was giving by a member of the audience who stated that a ‘no’ vote meant that the marriage between heterosexual people was the only moral right way, and that the ‘yes’ vote was  wrong denying the rights of marriage between people born with different orientations, implying that being different was inherently wrong and of a lesser value.

Of course, no one is obliged to marry, no matter how equal it hopefully might become.

My ‘yes’ vote is in the post.

 

Is Sport overrated?

July 9, 2017

 

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Northern Territory detention centre for children

It wasn’t all that long ago when men and women were sometimes referred to as ‘sport’. Howyergoing ‘sport’? wasn’t all that an uncommon way of greeting. It sometimes still is used. Most countries enjoy playing sport but many if not most  men and women in this country hold the view that sport in Australia is absolutely sacrosanct and not to be fiddled with. Per capita we used to win more Olympic medals that most other countries. Thankfully that has come down somewhat lately.

In fact, going to the school halls of both public or private schools one gets the impression that schools are there mainly to teach students sport. Those large varnished boards nailed to the hallowed walls at school’s community entrances have the best of student’s sporting achievements all carefully emblazoned in gold-leaf lettering. One looks in vain for the best Math or English language students. The more prestigious the school, the more attention given to sport.

Perhaps the economy is impacting those expensive boarding schools now, but in the cinema we  get shorts in which schools advertise their academic menus which more often than not feature boys, and sometimes girls, scrumming around with balls or hockey sticks. I have yet to see school advertisements whereby a book features or a student is pensively looking at a painting.

This why it is so heartening to see that cricket is coming to its senses. Apparently some ‘tours’ are in doubt. There are payment disputes. It is all too complicated for some of us to get to the finer points of the ins and outs. I have always found it a baffling game of two teams wanting to get ‘in’ only to then, when finally ‘in’ ,wanting to get ‘out.’ With the dispute still not solved there is a good chance we will enjoy a nice Christmas without the tedious drone of cricket scores filtering through the vertical blinds.

But, the real bonus, nay, the icing on the cake, is one of our tennis players openly admitting he is ‘bored’ with hitting the tennis ball. What clear-sighted honesty. Such boldness in admitting that hitting a ball backwards and forwards isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. Surely, the king is starkers underneath all that emphasis on sport. A footballer who hit another one out cold has now been banned for life playing his ball- sport and is charged by police. Sport is clearly overrated when belting each other on and off field is the norm. Look how often enraged tennis players chuck their rackets. They take it all too seriously. Calm down boys and girls, smell the roses!

In a previous post I suggested that winners should be those that come last. It would calm sport down to what it should be. A concern and care for the opponent rather than a selfish need to be a ‘winner.’ I know that we are all urged by our Government to be winners and not losers but a fact remains that per definition a winner is just a single person. It is a silly aim. How does that fit in with being a country that prides itself on being egalitarian and just?

Look at that sad spectacle of a previous female champion tennis player, reduced now to simpering loudly against those that want to get SSM married. She has lost love for her own kind and that just isn’t  good ‘sport.’ No matter what physical sport one pursues, it is all doomed to slacken with age. And then what?

Our attitude to the refugees on Manus and Nauru sits strangely in all this chest-beating of what it means to have true Australian values. It just isn’t good sport, is it?

What it means to support and stand up for Australia. Have those values been allowed to drift away? Are the values of an Italian or Pole so much different? It all smacks of a silly form of nationalism. I noticed Trudeau from Canada publicly and loudly telling the world Canada  welcomes all refugees.

What would I not give for our immigration minister Dutton or our leader Turnbull to come out strongly for the refugees and for once show what it means to be a ‘GOOD SPORT’ and allow them to live in Australia instead of all the horse trading with America.

Pensioners and Wildly gyrating Markets.

February 14, 2016

Put and call options. Etching 1991

The last few months have seen the price of oil dropping to $27.- a barrel. Some years ago, it was ‘peak oil,’ with dire predictions of shortages. People were hoarding it.  Now, they are finding oil everywhere, even under our houses, the local cinema and park-land. People have signs in the window; ‘Close the farm-gate, we want water.’

World markets are reacting like the drunken sailor at Woolloomooloo before being chucked at the back of the Bumper Farrell  Wagon. Bumper Farrell was a revered rugby player and policeman. (1916-1985) His first name derived, when as a schoolboy at the back of the school, he would be caught smoking used second hand cigarette butts, named ‘bumpers.’ He became a most feared policeman. His great grandfather was an Irishman who left the potato shortage for Australia in 1837 as a convict for having stolen a pig.

His fame as a rugby player grew in tandem with his rise in the police ranks to such an extend, the police paddy wagons (Irish again) were suitable named ‘Bumper Farrell wagons.’ It was a badge of honour to make a claim to have been picked up by such a wagon. Of course, if by the man himself, it would ensure an entry to almost everywhere that was unlawful, especially at illegal betting joints.

With the fluctuating money markets, the money men are back in full swing again. They are the ‘Short and Long sellers.’  They thrive on volatility. They are busy dealing in contracts of ‘options.’ An option is usually a contract in buying and selling shares   ( or currencies) that the trader doesn’t actually hold. It usually has a delayed settlement date. This means that provided the market goes your way, either up or down, depending on going ‘short or long,’ you only pay for the option contract and not for the shares.  And collect the difference!  A single contract holds 100 shares. It is believed that the short sellers (and long sellers) are actually negatively manipulating markets. The leverage on options, both selling and buying (Puts and Calls) are much higher than with ordinary shares.

I wonder what the return of retirement funds will be this year? The return on superannuation income is for many retirees the income they have saved up for during their working years. Australia also has a pension system that pays roughly 30% of average earnings. Not a fat pot. Our pension is minimal because of the ‘means test.’ The value of assets and other income is taken in consideration and the pension gets deducted accordingly.  I have a small pension from Holland. This resulted the Australian pension promptly being deducted. It seems a hand-out in Australia, instead of an entitlement that one has worked and paid for. I don’t know what happens if one has too many assets. Does one perhaps end having to top up the politicians to supplement their income?

It’s all good if health continues,…but what about if one gets ageing problems? I mean, a fall and lengthy hospital stay? The loss of eyesight and the driver’s license, a sense of direction or loss of not knowing where the fridge is, (where is my potato-leek bake)? I read a post whereby an old person needs a toilet every hour.  I am not quite there yet! But, what then? So far so good. I can still take two steps at the time. I was told by a friend that I am merely old and not yet ‘old old.’ That is when eighty is reached.

And then there is that sweet couple, George and Irish, who both turned 100 years and still together. Have a look!

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-13/canberra-couple-george-and-iris-barlin-celebrate-100th-birthdays/7166080

Float your Sins on the Ganges

February 11, 2013

Float your sins on The Ganges.

Those millions queuing up to take a dip in the Ganges must have something that we don’t know about. I know that for many, a wash in the rivers of ‘insight and wisdom’ has for hundreds of years been the annual aim for  devout Hindus. As someone from an alien culture, I wonder what it is that seems to beckon those millions to wade into those waters.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-02-10/tens-of-millions-bathe-at-ganges-festival/4510894

Is it a communal confession? The ritual is to cleanse oneself from sin and it seems rather poetic and certainly in contrast with the western method of confession whereby a solitary figure sits in a dark little room separated by a screen. He or she confesses his wrongdoing to another mortal. It must be a bit of an embarrassment, especially in a small village; to have bared your soul to someone you might meet again at the butcher shop next day.

I like the Hindu way of letting the magic of the river carry your misdemeanors and sins downstream much better. The figures are amazing. Over 110 million Hindus are expected to enter at Sangam which is the point where three rivers join at Allahabad. Over 50 000 police are there to try and give everyone a chance to enter the water over a six day period. An ‘en masse’ show of spiritual cleansing and breaking the cycle of death and re-birth.

A nice sideline is that apart from the cleansing of sins it is also a celebration of the Gods overcoming your demons with the promise of precious nectar that would ensure immortality.

With the solitary Christian confession it is a bit of a lonely trip, isn’t it? No promise of goodies coming your way, just hell and damnation if you fail in your effort to keep hands above the blankets or refuse to do the washing up or lay the table, swear at your sister or throw a rock over the neighbours fence or do the shopping for mum. Perhaps, the goodies our way is the sitting around with angels, boring…! Who wants to be good with that kind of reward?

No, they definitely have the edge over us at Allahabad. There it is, millions of people wishing to assuage their most inner self, seeking spiritual salvation, renewal and revival through a wash in the holy Ganges till next year’s pilgrimage.  The clanging of cymbals, the emerging saffron heads rising above the water with the garlands of marigolds tangled around the ashen painted aesthetic piercing the rising fog.  This seems to be a reward in itself and present in this life as well for all the Hindus…It doesn’t lighten the burden of life but is ‘shows’. This is the loveliness of the annual ritual of the Hindus.

It’s hard not to be seduced by the magic of it all. Although for us cynical westerns, we would probably see it as just as a dirty muddy river and ask ourselves; what about the hygiene of it all? Where are the flush duel buttoned toilets? I want soap and hair conditioner with carotene and triple layered loo paper. Perhaps, that’s why we will forever be looking for salvation without finding it. Lost to the arid desert of consumerism and brick veneers with beloved colour bonded fence, separating us from each other till the privacy of our dismal end by the funeral director or “Ladies in White” and final consumption by the fiery but lonely cremation at Rookwood…

Some say, we have our rituals and then mention ‘The Melbourne Cup’. The whole nation stands still wearing large hats and thousands punting on horses and their pacing hoofs. We have Anzac days with two-up in the pub while wearing rosemary and drinking cleansing schooners. Let’s not forget the footy ‘finals’ and tennis. They are our cleansing rituals as well.

I am not sure. I so wish I could believe that.