Local Footy: My bump felt brilliant but I still need bread

By Captain Cupcake
I really like bread, and over the years I’ve been able to refine my bread-making to something of an art.  My preferred loaf is a 1:2 wholemeal/white combination, dense with sesame, poppy, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds.  To maintain my playing weight, I’ve been known to eat a loaf in a day.  Bread makes me happy.
But the other day my Breville bread-maker broke.  That made me sad.  I took it apart, but unlike the old McCullough chainsaws with which I used to tinker back home, the workings of this contraption made no sense to me.  It was like a team of nanobots had made the device from the inside out so that there was no way of penetrating its innards.  It’s now in the garbage, and I’m none too pleased.  I’ve had to resort to buying that nasty fluffy bread full of preservatives and artificial boosters.  It’s rubbish, but I eat it still.
It should come as no surprise, then, that a hungry man such as myself should have a surplus of belligerence to share with friends and foe alike.  At my rented house in Chapel Hill my housemate bailed me up the other day to complain that I was “negative and aggressive”.  What mean you, asked I?  Well, he explained, you are always making derogatory comments to me.  I was baffled, so he offered an example.  “How about when you came home the other night and I was in the loungeroom on a yoga mat stretching, and you questioned my sexuality.  Or when I go for a run and just because it’s only 500 metres you call me a wimp.  Or when I say you can’t have the door open because I’m allergic to air, and you call me an inbred poodle.  Or when I’m eating vege burgers and you tell me that if I actually got some meat into my body maybe I wouldn’t be so pathetic.”
Doesn’t he know that I’m hungry for bread?  Besides, I explained, where I’m from a mild insult is considered a greeting, a harsh insult a salutation.  I only call the inbred poodle a poof because I like him.
At any rate, if the boy is too precious for the odd insult I figure I’d best refrain.  That means of late I’ve had a surplus of “negativity and aggression”, as well as being hungry for bread.  That’s got to come out somewhere, which brings me to last weekend’s games against Beenleigh.
I know it’s not the done thing to talk up your own game – unless you’re Little Fuzz who gets away with it by talking in the third person: “Fuzzy had a good game today…” or “Fuzzy likes the chicks, the chicks like Fuzzy!” – but I wanted to share the beautiful hit I laid on Saturday.  Sometimes the planets just align.  Beenleigh player sprinting with the ball down the wing, Cupcake belting across from half-back.  The Beenleigh player figures it’s the 4s and as he disposes Cupcake will pull out of the bump.  Fool.  Doesn’t he know Cupcake’s bread-machine is broken?  Cupcake commits to the hit and it feels good.  The boy goes horizontal before eventually coming to rest with a faceful of turf.  Turns out 100kgs trumps 70kgs.  Negative and aggressive indeed.
For any new player reading this who hasn’t yet put a massive hit on someone, take my advice: it’s something you want to do.  It feels good. It puts a smile on your face, and sometimes even a little wood in the shorts.  It makes all the pain and bullshit worthwhile.  And the best thing is, you don’t have to be an angry bastard, or a big bastard, or a psychotic bastard to smash someone.  The smallest, sweetest, sanest of lads can bring down anyone they like – it just takes intent, commitment, and that joie de biff that animates all good players.  Go on, smash someone, I promise you’ll like it.
But back to the game.  Going into the match the 4s thought they had a good chance.  Last time we met Beenleigh we were still pretty raw (not to mention thirsty that day), but we’ve come together nicely since then.  We’ve won some big games and shown that we can play footy competitively in this division.  Hell, we were even a chance to make the finals.
But things go pear-shaped quickly, never more-so than when your’re at a uni club.  In the last three weeks numbers have dwindled.  Students have exams, people go on holiday, and, let’s face it, it’s been cold, and some of our available players are like my housemate and would simply rather stay at home fiddling with themselves.  Our best players, too, have been poached by division 1, which is fair enough (and while we’re on the subject, congratulations to Marty, Cam, and Dan for performing all season and getting the nod over the last few weeks).
Unfortunately, on Saturday the 4s were short, and I’m not talking height.  Unlike the previous week we didn’t have a mob of Irish Gaelic-football players who were willing to help out, so we had to call on the services of a few 3s who would play both games – Dave ‘Crackpot’ Campbell (I only understood why Dave was called Crackpot after spending 2 hours on a bus with him) and Jacko.  It was good to have their experience in the team, but even a few wise heads couldn’t help what was an unusually listless effort.
In past weeks we’ve relied heavily on the midfield to drive our attack.  While we had Cam he was our main work-horse, with Little Fuzzy adding the finesse.  More recently Cam and Fuzzy have been playing up, and Josh Culnane has come into the fray.  He’s got that same aggression at the ball which impresses about guys like Cam or Ben, or Tommo in the 2s.  Josh wants the ball, he gets the ball, and then he belts it forward.  Unfortunately, almost immediately it comes back out, our team unable to cultivate the forward pressure to keep scrappy ball moving towards the goals once in the fifty, and our zone never quite good enough to lock it in outside the fifty.
So poor sods like Josh run around laying tackles and rebounding the ball all day long, to little avail.  One man cannot win a game.  For that matter, two or three or five men cannot win a game.  Every unit of your structure has to perform, and right now no unit in our structure is performing.  Same players, same oval ball, same game plan as two weeks ago when we rolled Kedron, but an inferior standard of football.
What’s frustrating about this is that I reckon just about everyone knows whether we’re going to play well or not before the game, based just on the warm-up.  You play like you train, and the same goes for the warm-up.  Warm-up no good, footy no good.  So let me sum up the 4’s performance on Saturday: warm-up no good, footy no good.
Steve Russell was the 3s acting captain on Saturday, and from their warm-up he also knew it was going to be a very long day.  There was no intensity, no talk, and skills were average.  He gave the boys a rev up, but it made not the slightest scrap of difference.  I’d say he was pretty filthy, and rightly so.  The problem is, you can run different drills, emphasise different points, encourage and cajole, but nothing seems to make a difference.  The reality is that there’s very little a coach or a captain can do to lift a team, other than leading by example on the field.  There’s no amount of ranting or raving or imploring or bribing players to mentally switch on. Either your head is in the game, or it isn’t – and if it isn’t things go pear-shaped very quickly, as they did on Saturday.
There is any number of examples of how our mentality was all wrong, but one example stands out to me.  Jarad gave very clear instructions to the 3s for the kick-outs, with special emphasis on two of our senior players working in tandem as targets.  As I was sitting on the bench I noted to Jarad that that happened once, and then had stopped.  Why?  “Because they are not doing what I have asked them.”  There’s bugger all a coach can do to win a game when his players do not do what he asks of them.  And surely enough, we lost those games on Saturday entirely of our own accord.  Tim Mackinley has said on many an occasion that once the boys take the field, he can’t make their kicks go straight, he can’t make them mark the ball.  It’s up to us to follow the coach’s instructions and get the basic skills right.  I can’t say we did either, and it showed in the flogging Beenleigh gave us.
Jarad noted of both teams how terrible our skills were.  I was having a bad day with skills myself.  I estimated after the game that 50 per cent of my kicks were on target, 50 per cent wayward.  With stats like that I could be playing for the Dockers.
I read in the sports news today that there was a kerfuffle after a damning under-10s match report was written and posted by the father of a player in Melbourne.  Psychologists were consulted, and, surprisingly, they said: “Let the little tackers cop the criticism.  It’ll toughen them up for the real world.”  Well, it’s about time we got some of that under-10s medicine.  So I say: we’re a big bunch of inbred poodle poofs and it’s about time we got our shit together.  And I need a new bread machine.
Div 2 Reserves (4s)
0.0 to 4.3
1.1 to 9.9
2.1 to 12.12
2.3 (15) to 19.16 (130)

Goals: Lance Howard 1, Mark Simpson 1
Best: Josh Culnane, Sean Harte, Lucas Wilson, Avan Stallard, Robert Ahchee, Dean Fawcett

Div 2 Seniors (3s)
0.1 to 5.4
1.1 to 12.13
1.4 to 16.21
2.6.18 to 25.33.183

Goals: Blair Brown 1, Justin Corry 1
Best: Brian Marsden, Peter Herring, Josh Savage, Anthony Newberry, Stephen Russel, Avan Stallard

Comments

  1. johnharms says:

    Captain Cupcake.

    I popped into UQ’s No. 7 oval on Saturday (I was in Brisbane very briefly) and saw the ongoing evidence of Breville absence. Saw the second quarter. Not a bad game of footy. Hope you got the better of the hot-heads from Caloundra aftre half-time.

    Great piece.

    JTH

  2. Great read Captain Cupcake. I notice that your 3s at least forced Beenleigh into kicking 33 behinds. You can take heart from that. Or maybe their bread machine is busted too…

  3. Ahhhh, a good bump does indeed make it all worthwhile. Much like CC, I am reluctant to talk myself up, but I also put an opponent on the turf playing for the Red Lions. It was a turning point, career wise, as it was the last game I played.

    We were playing a pre-season game against Kenmore Bears. They had a few skillful players, although when put under a bit of scoreboard pressure, they tended to forget the ball and go at the man more than necessary. (To be fair this was more apparent in the second of our pre-season games at Uni No 7, where they were copping a flogging. A bench clearing gathering formed around the Uni Centre-Half Back area after a bump the Kenmore player made a good five steps after the kick had left the boot).

    We were at their home ground, which is where my Aussie Rules career kicked off with the Taringa Primary School team for Friday arvo sport in winter. I was making a return to the game after a hiatus of near on 20 years. Playing in the ruck and having one of those games where you are chasing the ball, but always arriving just after it left. Getting bread machine angry about it too…

    Was on the ground after a ruck contest, got to my feet to move towards the ball which was about 20m away towards their forward line. One of our nippy rovers extricated the pill and took off. One of their blokes was on his tail and in being focussed on catching him, didn’t notice me lumbering towards full pace towards him. Our bloke was about 2m in front and the pursuer was totally focussed on making the tackle. Our bloke was ran past me and I was able to put my shoulder right through the middle of his chest.

    Time slowed down as my sub-conscious preparation for the contact, (leaning forward to counter the oncoming body mass), combined with the victim’s total lack thereof, (running full pelt), led to the his forward momentum stopping, his legs going forward, falling horizontally to the ground flat on his back, closely followed by me landing on him. The ump gave him a free kick for the shephard (intentional sp.), being outside the 5m. A blatant lie.

    To the bloke’s credit he got up and kept playing. Whereas in the collision I managed to knock my knees together and copped a fair bit of a bruise on the right one…

    Didn’t end up playing in the regular season, but did end up enjoying some success with the Bali Geckos and had a run with the Abu Dhabi Falcons in their first year.

    Love you work CC.

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