Almanac Reflections: A Sporting Life

A love affair with sport throughout my life has given me fantastic, memories, experiences.  friendships and pleasures, which I reflect on now.


I was born in Scotland and therefore being a young immigrant in Australia soccer was a passion, which I followed throughout my life.  Due to travel, work placements and curiosity I embraced all the football codes at one time or another.  I played soccer in Adelaide, Britain, South America and Thailand then  AFL in Adelaide, Woomera and Port Lincoln with a brief season of  Rugby Union in Adelaide.  Rugby League in Sydney and New Guinea   and though not a master at any, but an enthusiastic participant.


I consider myself extremely fortunate, as after a dissolute and wayward life travelling around the world I followed the well worn path of  marriage, responsibility, children and a mortgage, which forced me to pursue a more stable existence.   To fund this lifestyle I became a physical Education teacher, a dream occupation for one who loved sport.  Football though was still my abiding interest and  on reflection  I believe soccer was my passion, whilst AFL to me was the exciting machine code with Rugby Union being the ultimate team sport and of course  Rugby League a very physical and brutal one.   Sadly my last game of football was not an inspiring one, as played in Chiang Rai Thailand where my mid fifties body struggled to adapt to the signals my brain was producing.


Reflecting on those great days one of the most bizarre experiences occurred during my time working as a patrol officer in Chimbu province of New Guinea.  Our work as government officers mainly concerned administration, but Chimbu a very volatile province where tribal conflicts occurred on a regular basis and a major task was refereeing these tribal skirmishes.   Rugby league very popular and and when confrontations occurred on the field it was another excuse for the locals to join in the mayhem.  Fighting therefore frowned upon, so during a local game that I was involved in our star centre got into a physical tussle with his opponent.  Due to a police directive  the officers on duty marched onto the field and to the bemusement of players and referee, our star player arrested on the spot and marched off to the local jail leaving us of course one man short.   Early days of soccer in Adelaide produce much the same tension, as most were ethnic teams and a few times a referee was bailed up in the clubhouse with angry supporters calling for his blood.   Great memories and good times.



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  1. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Is that photo from soccer match in Adelaide Rod?

  2. rodgrierson says

    I played for Birkalla Rovers in Adelaide, but that photo was in the Port Lincoln Times, as I played a few games when I was teaching there.

  3. I think you may have a few more stories to tell – if this overview is any indication. Welcome to the Almanac.

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