Almanac Poetry: Deano

 

 

 

 

When I first rocked up to the Clifton Hill Cricket Club on a Thursday arvo in November 2009, looking to renew my onfield love affair with the game, the first person to greet me was Steve Cotter. I’d arrived a little early for training but Steve was already there, imparting his cricketing wisdom on the Under 16s team of the day.

 

Of course at the time I was not aware of the extent of Steve’s wisdom when it came to cricket, but 11 years on, I know that it is vast. Perhaps the only thing more vast than his cricket wisdom is his passion for the game, and wanting to be the best he can at it. In the years since I’ve met Steve, I have come to know him as someone who gives everything he can to our club and cricket in general.

 

Steve’s thirst for cricket knowledge knows no bounds. He devours books on the sport — not just the throwaway “My Cricket Yearbook” types but biographies and in-depth analyses, so he can learn what makes players tick and what it is that makes the best ones the best.

 

On the field, Steve’s passion only grows stronger. His thirst for runs exceeds even the thirst for knowledge. He will never give up his wicket easily, but he is by no means dour. He has a range of beautiful strokes and can make runs on both sides of the wicket. I can’t remember how many hundreds Steve has made for us but it’s no small number. When I put together some player anagrams for the club a few years ago, I was delighted to learn that Steve’s full name — STEPHEN COTTER — can be rearranged to form the phrase, “RESPECT THE TON.”

 

That sums him up perfectly. Don’t be satisfied with a 50. Bat as long as you can. His approach to bowling is the same. He’s not usually a front-line bowler but it never surprises me to hear that Steve’s taken another bag of wickets.

 

Off the field, Steve is never frightened to say what he thinks. He will speak his mind and do so without fear of favour. But he does so with respect. Just as he “respects the ton”, he respects the views of others, whether or not he agrees with them. Steve’s forthrightness can occasionally be a little confronting, but seconds after he says something that might make things slightly awkward, he’ll make a funny, smart-arse remark and everyone relaxes.

 

I feel really privileged to have gotten to know Steve over the past decade. And I was not surprised to hear how much the loss of Dean Jones, Steve’s childhood hero, has affected him. What did surprise me — although, really, it shouldn’t have — is that Steve was able to put his feelings into poetry.

 

Steve sent me a poem a couple of days ago, asking what I thought of it. My response was a single word — “beautiful”. Here is Steve’s ode to the wonderful Deano.

 

 

Deano

 

The sound of his cracking bat
Echoed in the crowdless MCG
Not with the Baggy Green
But the Navy Blue
The proud Victorian Peacock
His dance on this day almost unnoticed

 

The County Clipper
The front foot trigger
Collar upturned
White zinc on his lips
And didn’t we copy him?

 

Every atom in him was purpose
Untainted, pure and imperfect
We eulogise for fear we will forget
But I remember…

 

When he walked out to bat
Shining in an overcast October sky
A young boy stood to his feet
In the windswept Northern Stand
And cried…
DEANO
DEANO
DEANO

 

Can you hear it?

 

 

About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?

Comments

  1. Kevin Densley says

    Nice piece, Gigs! Good to see another Deano poem emerge, too – the images of Deano, the crowdless MCG and the admiring boy work well together.

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