Poignancy personified: a postscript from Gerry Both

 

Poignancy Personified: A post-script to “A Blast from the Past” by Gerry (The Torp) Both

 

My recent article (Footy Almanac July 7th 2014) consisted of recollections from the discovery of my old woollen footy jumper (number 136) from the Adelaide University Blacks era of 1967-1972.  I referred to an incident my last game in the A1’s in the 1972 season in which team-mate Tony Brown was severely injured and rendered a quadriplegic.  This was a tragedy of the first order for a fit young man.  I subsequently went overseas for post-doctoral studies and my understanding is that Tony underwent surgery about a year after the injury but did not survive the ordeal.  It is no surprise that the whole sad story has been on my mind from time to time for the last 42 years.

Recently my dear Mother passed away the day before her 94th birthday.  My brothers and I found ourselves in a legal practice in country South Australia while tracing her will.  “I’ll see who among the partners is available to see you to deal with this,” said the receptionist.  The lawyer bloke who was available strolled down the passageway, perused the will and said, “Are you the executors?  Which one is Gerald” he asked?  “That would be me”, I said.  “Did you ever play for the Blacks” he asked.  “Well yes”, said I.

“I was your ruckman,” said he.

(This was no surprise, because I was always a rover).  He introduced himself as Wyndham (Wyndy) Rogers, but I could not remember him, although I was reluctant to say so.  Well, after few more questions and some reminiscing (he did not charge me for this) we identified our common link.  It transpired that his first game in the A1’s was my last game for the A1’s and for the Blacks and our common link was Tony Brown who was indelibly imprinted in both our memories.  It was a remarkable coincidence that the passing of the family matriarch and sheer chance should provide such a poignant link to the past.  Vale Tony.

Click here for Gerry’s original article.

Comments

  1. Gerry,

    Its sunday arvo and hawks freo are practising finals footy. I read your postscript 10 minutes ago and feel moved to respond.
    We talked at the Greys lunch about Tony Brown and I still remember the tackle at about mid way between centre and the goals at the river end. It seemed such an incidental bump from the Glenunga player who I played against (and his brother)for years when Pulteney played Scotch. He was an Adelaide Uni student at the time and it was a tragic accident. Time stopped. I played with Tony at Pulteney and he was a class CHF, CHB or ruckman. He had an elder brother who was a serious musician. His father was an inspector in the SA police force who watched all the pulteney and blacks game and was a person to be respected. I am not going on but it was an awful moment and a tragedy.

    Gerry, I am struck by the fact that SA is a small place and AUFC is a large family so Windy was always only one step away. I have always said if you want to meet someone in Adelaide, even after many years absence, you park the car in he John Martins (or whatever it is now) car park walk up North Terrace, turn left into King William street and left again in Grenfell and head for the Harris Scarfe car park ( or whatever it is now) and if you haven’t met someone you know retrace your steps. So running into Windy Rogers ( even on such as delicate mission) was no accident. I played with Windy in the A2s ,he was barrel chested, affable and a goer- and he had a thirst you could photograph. I remember him featuring prominently at prosh day boat races. His crowning glory was at the 73 GF in front of the score board on the mound, when he held aloft the fruits of his ingenuity- a 10 gallon keg. We can only wonder how he got it in. I suspect he would have pointed out that patrons were allowed to bring in eskys so why not a more efficient means of production. He was surrounded by blacks and others from the amateur league fraternity.

    Gerry great post. Tony Brown is not forgotten and Windy is still riding.

    Nank

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says:

    Gerry the Tony Brown Memorial Trophy for the outstanding individual performance of the season remains a very prestigious trophy and always will be at the blacks .
    Thanks Gerry a poignant brilliant piece

  3. The Tony Brown tragedy was before my time but the trophy in his name was (possibly still is) the most prestigious one avaialble for any player in the club. Wyndy Rogers was a mature ruckman in the 1980 A1Res premiership and a top bloke.

  4. Gerry Both says:

    Nank, The fact that you can remember where the tackle occurred on the ground (as I do) emphasizes how imprinted the incident became on those of us who were there. The players who lead with their head these days may not do it if they were more aware of these consequences.

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