A week in a life: and footy is just around the corner

It’s lovely to see the sun again, I exclaim to Marshall as we head towards Moore Park and the lights of the SCG. We’re on our daily one-hour(ish) stroll, this time to see the swans at Kippax Lake, adjacent to the cricket ground and Allianz Stadium. The sun has been missing for weeks – seems like months – and the Sydney humidity is starting to ease off. That can only mean one thing: footy is just around the corner.

The SCG is lit up, despite the sunshine, so we stroll in, wondering who’s playing. I know it’s not the Swans as their home ground has been taken over by the Blues for the cricket season. They’re fighting it out for a berth in the Shield Final, and we join the 20 other patrons in the Members to see them overwhelm South Australia by eight wickets. With my Queensland team now sitting third on the table, and a game to play, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be facing the Vics at the end of March. Pity the cricket’s finishing, but it can only mean one thing: footy is just around the corner.

With that in mind, I’ve made sure that the niggling medical issues that confront people of my generation, (Oh, how I hate having to admit and accept that my body is ageing!) have all been attended to before our first game. I’m certainly gearing up for the next six months.

My right eye now complements the left, thanks to last week’s cataract operation, and with two new eyes (the left done in October) I will soon be able to see what’s really happening on the far side of the SCG! The other niggle involving a procedure this week didn’t happen without a fight. I hate colonoscopies. I loathe having to have one. Those gastroenterologists seem to really enjoy their job. Why on earth would you choose a job that looks up people’s bums? I asked mine before I went under. He smiled and said I love it. All I remember next was a sandwich and a cup of tea. This time round – three years after the previous one – I almost refused to put myself through the torture of the previous day’s proceedings. That’s probably the worst of it: swallowing all that vile tasting liquid in order to make the gastroenterologists happy. But, with the usual threat of You could well end up having to live the rest of your life with a colostomy bag, what is an “old lady” to do?!

News from around the world hasn’t made the week any easier. Still reeling from the story in last Saturday’s SMH News Review “Surviving IS – The Innocents” reporting that a child in Mosul watched his friend’s head being hacked off because he was a Shiite, saying One of my friends carried his head and I carried his body. We threw them on the garbage pile, certainly put my own bodily functions into perspective. I found myself overwhelmed with sadness and despair at our unloving world.

And, the rest of the week’s news hasn’t helped either.

It was reported in the Herald that Ian Roberts was in town for Mardi Gras. Ian, the first professional footballer to say I’m gay, whilst still playing rugby league in the mid 90s, continues to get called a “f….ing faggot” – 20 years later!; Pauline Hanson carries on with her anti-Muslim rhetoric, joining Cory Bernardi and their cohorts in the Trump-inspired racist politics of 2017; a 27 year old desperate woman tries to drown her two small children in Moama; millions are starving in Somalia; paedophiles continue to cause much anxiety within religious institutions, as their victims fight for justice; and on March 8, International Women’s Day, members of half the population still suffer at the hands of the other half.

And, to top off the week’s news, the Aussies fail miserably in the second innings to lose the Test in India, amidst claims from India’s hot-headed captain that our boys are cheats, and then, to put a dampener on the whole shebang, we’re informed that four of the Swans elite players, Heeney, McVeigh, Papley and Rohan will all miss the first round!

However, this morning, as the week draws towards its conclusion, the sun is still shining, I can see the beauty of the landscape surrounding me, I can hear the magnificent sounds that I choose to hear, my arms and legs are doing what they should, and the gastro men have done well to ensure that those bags won’t be required. And, knowing that there are far more good, decent people in the world than otherwise, I know there is hope.

What else can I be thankful for?

Plenty, but my other half is never far from my thoughts. With a visit to the lung specialist this week, Marshall has been given the all clear after his lobectomy in January, and has therefore kept his promise to be fighting fit for the first game.

So with a new week approaching, I remind myself once again that I am very fortunate and grateful, and that footy is oh so close – in fact it’s just around the corner!

About Jan Courtin

A Bloods tragic since first game at Lake Oval in 1948. Moved interstate to Sydney to be closer to beloved Swans in 1998. My book "My Lifelong Love Affair with the Swans" was launched by the Swans at their headquarters at the SCG in August 2016. www.myswansloveaffair.com


  1. Well said! there are too many bad things going on – with help from D.Trump – but thank goodness most people are decent. We can be thankful for that.
    But I’m not thankful that Heeney, Papley, McVeigh and Rowan are out for the start of the season. However, our Swannies “will win overall”!

  2. Neil Anderson says

    I was about to enquire firstly about how Marshall was going after his op. Great to hear he was given the all-clear and is fit for Round 1.
    I had a similar procedure to you last year plus a bit more and isn’t great to know everything is right before we start the new season. A bit like the footballers saying how important their pre-seasons are to get them through to September.
    I hope those injured Swans don’t decide to be fit and firing for Round 2 against the Dogs.
    And yes, I’m also still reeling from that boy’s story in Mosul. By chance I’m reading a book called ‘Songs of a War Boy’ about a boy-soldier conscripted/dragooned into the Sudanese Liberation Army at age 7 and who experienced the same horrors as the boy in Mosul. I know the ending which is a refugee success story because he is now a lawyer working in Western Sydney.
    How lucky are we with the best of medical facilities and not fighting to survive on a daily basis.

  3. jan courtin says

    Thanks Marcel and Neil

    I hope you’re right, Marcel – we’ll win overall. It’ll give some of the new boys a good look at the real stuff, and hopefully Cheer Cheer will be ringing out after the game!

    Neil, I’ve thought of you almost every time The Doggies Almanac appeared front and foremost on the Home page of the Almanac throughout the off season. And that was one helluva lot! From my perspective, I’m glad the celebrations are almost at an end for you guys, but look forward to seeing how your dogs and my swans follow-up from last year. We’ll be driving down to Melbourne for Round 2. Should be a cracker!

    I’ve read about the book you’re reading and certainly know of the subsequent success of the boy/man in question. Great story. We need more and more inspirational people and their stories.


  4. Vanessa Ashcroft says

    Love it Jan, and posted it to Facebook.
    Good news for you me and us but the world…. not so much!!
    Sad times.
    Stay positive and happy. A great inspiration

  5. Cat from the Country says

    So pleased for you that Marshall is right for Rd 1.
    On the health side my hubby and I both do Rotary Bowel Scans annually and so far … all clear.
    Now for a good year for The Cats!

  6. Earl O'Neill says

    Great piece, Jan, love the dry humour in yr colonoscopy tale. Glad to hear that you and Marshall are fighting fit and raring to go.
    Being a mere stripling of 50, I’ve little to worry about, tho the base of my right thumb is a bit sore after four hours rehearsal. As for the tinnitus, it is well earned.

  7. jan courtin says

    Many thanks one and all: Vanessa, CftC and Earl.

    I am constantly trying to stay happy and positive, Vanessa, so thanks for reminding me again!

    Appreciate your kind words about Marshall, CftC, but not too sure about “Now for a good year for the Cats”! For your sake, I certainly hope so, and we’ll be playing you down your way again this year, so I can only hope that the result will be as last year’s!

    Oh, Earl, to be 50 again!! I can hardly remember it. Well, that’s a complete lie actually. Of course, I remember almost every day of that year: was still in Brissie, desperately trying to think of a way to resign my Uni job and get to Sydney to be with my Swans!

    Your turn will surely come – colonoscopies, cataracts and all!!! I would never have believed it, had I been told 20 years ago, how quickly things can change. Keep well and look after that right thumb!

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