Crio’s Q: Opening Stinkers and Rare Clinkers

Good advice to potential speechmakers is simple: “If you can’t be great, be brief”.

Sports “events” organisers clearly disagree.

Look at the evolution of “pre-match”.

The Olympics, for example, invest more time, money and effort on opening ceremonies than anything else (except maybe incentives during the bidding process!).

The big-bang theory.

I’m unimpressed. I remember players entering a field unannounced. Music didn’t drown our banter.

Undoubtedly, the hyperBash will follow the trend – unremarkably excited by fireworks and noise.

The NRL is in love with the National anthem.

Union dotes on the laughable haka.

Schibecster spruiks the ‘G. Music perforates the Dome.

But, there are some places…

“Spider” Kalac, in an aside during a Euro wrap, praised the theatre created at Benfica’s ground.

Here’s the back-story:

Benfica play at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, the Cathedral to its fans, in Lisbon, Portugal.

Wikipedia continues…

“The emblem is composed of an eagle, a shield in the club colours of red and white, and the acronym SLB for “Sport Lisboa e Benfica” over a football, all superimposed over a bicycle wheel, which was taken from the Grupo Sport Benfica emblem. The club motto is “E Pluribus Unum,” Latin for “Out of many, one”.

Before every home match, an actual eagle named Vitória flies around the Estádio da Luz several times and lands on top of Benfica’s club shield, creating a real life version of the club’s emblem. When this tradition first started, the eagle would not land on the shield every time, so it was believed by fans that when the eagle landed on top of the crest the team would win their game. As time went on and the eagle consistently landed on the shield, this belief was quickly forgotten.

It is said to be the only club in the world whose official anthem is sung by a tenor, Luís Piçarra, and the classic musician António Vitorino de Almeida has written a symphony to commemorate the club’s first 100 years.”

Now that’s impressive!

Having defied my own wisdom regarding “Less is More” in this epic intro, I’m challenging Almanackers this week to recall opening ceremonies and pre-match rituals that work and fail and to offer some advice to the decision makers.




  1. Crio, I thought Collingwood’s premiership flag unfurling was a triumph this season.

    No, really.

    After Eddie led the faithful onto the field in solemn procession, he expounded on the magnificence of the achievement (kept it to a snappy 20 minutes or so I’m told, I’d nodded off).

    Then, with an obvious nod to the Atlanta Olympics, our eyes ascended heavenwards (or at least to the scoreboard). Standing in for the role of Muhammed Ali was the Sainted Prestie, who had apparently earned the honour by NOT playing in a premiership side, who was on the other end of the rope to receive the flag.

    Fair brought a tear to the eye it did.

  2. Meatloaf should be left on the bench from now on – then preferably put in the compost bin. It was the only bad thing about the Grand Final this year. That and the fact the Eddie Maguire’s head didn’t actually explode in the last quarter even though it threatened to.

  3. I liked the NRL GF a decade or so back where the string holding up the giant plywood boom-box broke. Caused a big change in angles for the tv cameras as they tried to keep the destruction out of the viewing.

    Also don’t mind the soccer deal of teams walking out together onto the field to keep the idiots from booing.

  4. JB,

    Eddie was just setting the bar for the unfurling of this year’s flag. Remember the first of a long dynasty.

  5. Andrew Starkie says

    I’ve been ranting about noise pollution and ground announcers at sporting events for years.

    Before, during and after events, it drives me nuts. I understand sponsorship, corporate partnerships and all that. But what about spectator comfort? You can’t hear yourself think let alone have a chat to those you’re with for the constant, repetitive, thundering noise. Don’t the AFL, CA etc. trust their own product? Why do they think audiences need to be entertained and occupied every second of the match, day, event? Is it us they don’t trust? Can’t we be left to out own devices, decisions and minds. It’s insulting.

    I used to love the quiet before a footy game. Calm before the storm.

    Don’t get me started on the amount of people – entertainers, trainers, drink boys and girls, officials etc – on the ground when the umpires and teams enter the arena on GF day. Why can’t the arena be cleared for the arrival of the most important people? As opposed to now then the players get lost amongst the throng. Would do wonders for the drama. You got me started.

  6. hmmm…must agree andrew – “HERE COME THE MAGPIES!!!!!!”
    I remember the anticipation of watching for a flurry of excitement and activity around the players’ race.
    At cricket, we could monitor the scoreboard for milestones and know when to clap a player off the ground!

    I’m a shocker re pre-match. I don’t like any national anthems, songs, dancers…Ross Oakley or Wayne Jackson never convinced me to arrive early once the magoos were scrapped.

  7. Pamela Sherpa says

    Agree with all your sentiments Andrew. It would be nice to be able to hear ourselves think wouldn’t it? After all we are the paying customers . I feel insulted and assaulted when I go to a game these days. I agree re cutting the crap-all the ridiculous people flapping around on the ground. Get rid of them! .

    The reserves used to be the perfect curtain raiser on GF day. There was always a great natural build up of excitement then.

  8. But that won’t happen. I agree – I’d be happy to let someone have my tkt for preliminary entertainment and then get my spot for the game.
    I’m not just referring to GFs here though, I have long been bemused at the “Opening ceremony” obsession. Naturally I boycotted the Sydney Olympic intros and avoid any ANZAC “Craig Willisisms” also.
    I just reckon you go to Moomba for schmuck and the ‘G for sport.

  9. Bloody Barca. Flogged our pre-match. Wally the Wedgetail does a half dozen laps of the Subi stands and then lands on the giant footy in the centre of the oval. Daddy Cool and Ross Wilson know out a few choruses of “doing the Eagle Rock”. Only one home loss last year with those auguries in our favour. Do you think Barca would let us have Lionel Messi on loan for the finals next year? Reckon he would make a great crumber at Kennedy and Darling’s feet.

  10. Jamie Simmons says

    It’s Angry Anderson in a batmobile or it’s nothing!

  11. Mick Jeffrey says

    If you look hard enough at YouTube, there are almost too many National Anthem stuff ups to mention from Basketball and Hockey in particular. But the one that always seems to stand out for me is the bloke in Dunedin in 2001 who tried to sing the Australian National Anthem, which turned out to be a total disaster.

  12. The best prematch entertainment is a Reserves match. This remains the case whether the prematch is pre-home and away or pre GF. End of Story

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