Crio’s Question: Christmas sports moments

Even Christmas Day = sport in many Australian homes.
Dad always recalled Shield matches on Christmas afternoon.
We’ve all had a go at backyard cricket or totem tennis on a full belly.
“Stocking fillers” are invariably a sports biog, The 12th Man or some golf tees.
Our Christmas Day always includes an energetic cricket session and a look at the Boxing Day race fields.
What sporting gifts and moments can you equate with December 25?


  1. Crio, I had forgotten all about totem tennis until my wife bought three sets this month for our boy and his two cousins. Three boys under 3 having a crack at the ball on the string – can’t wait.

  2. Cookie,
    I’m tipping one on the nose, one in the nuts and another wrapped around the base of the pole – theoretically good fun….

  3. Here’s a few that I can remember from my childhood in terms of presents…..

    – 1994 I got not only a 12th man double cassette (Wired World of Sports 2), but a Slazenger V Colt bat. I did want a Gunn & Moore bat that Steve Waugh/Shane Warne was using but still had fun batting 4 for the school team with it. I also scored a pair of used County batting gloves later that week too!

    – 1995, the backyard was complimented with a basketball ring. This was about the time when hoops was taking off in the country. Heck I even played Under 12’s that year.

    – 1997 the old man forked out enough for a doggies Junior membership, which had to be returned for a shirt several weeks later when the move back to Qld happened

  4. When we were kids we had a table tennis table. I think it was a Christmas present. Over summer we played some huge tornaments (when it was raining which prevented our backyard Test matches). Often these tournments ended with a bat being smashed against the back wall of the house after a tense grand final. The technique was to hit the winning point, then quickly duck to avoid the flying bat.

  5. Got a cricket set in 1955, significantly not from my migrant parents – my Dad didn’t like any team sports, my Mum regarded cricket as something that got in the way of radio broadcasts of tennis, but from one of their friends – also a migrant, but one without children who had the sense to ask a toyshop about what would be a suitable present for an eight year old boy.

    I played quite a bit of backyard cricket with friends, but mostly friends with barely more ability than I had and found it disappointing that I could not transfer my ability to hit very slow bowlers in the backyard to an ability to hit much better bowlers in the schoolyard when we played lunchtime cricket in February and March.

  6. Way back in my teenage years,the late 1970’s, early 1980’s, my mother used to order old copies of Wisden Cricket Almanac from Roger Page, the famous bookseller of Tarcoola Dve Mcleod. These copies of Wisdens from the 1960’s were looked forward to with joyous anticipation.


  7. John Sands Test Match.

    Major batting collapses occurred when the semi-circular batting control became ‘stuck’.

    Covey and the boys played a listener’s Test Match a few years ago.

    I think the board game is an exhibit at the Powerhouse Museum.

  8. The truncated NBA season kicked off on Christmas Day last year.

    Five games on this year, although given the season the Celtics are having, I probably won’t be getting up at four in the morning to watch them at Brooklyn.

    Other than that, it may just be a few Christmas afternoon games of Yahtzee! with my mother, perhaps the most aggressive Yahtzee! player in the Western District and possibly all of country Victoria. Seriously, I’ve been known to throw games just to keep her happy.

  9. Freddy Truman’s Test Match. (Note: the original version with the bat shaped like a vaccuum cleaner tied to a string…not the later spring-loaded version which was rubbish).

    Undoubtedly the greatest of all cricket games. My mate Tommy and I both got one for Christmas when we were about 15; he and the rest of our mates would play tense Test Matches until all hours of the night, complete with proper cricket score-books.
    Believe it or not, we continued sporadically into our early-20’s, by which time we would – of course – consume beers whilst playing.

  10. It’s all about cricket. In the 70s and early 80s the ABC annual cricket booklet/mag appeared in the Stocking (actually it was a pillow case) from Santa. In about Grade 3 my bro and I got a share present – a size 4 cricket bat (properly sprung handle and all). It took on corkies and rubber guts balls and lived to tell the tale and in fact, forty years on its still alive and well in my garage and gets a ceremonial beach or driveway batting session every now and then.

    The anticipation of the Boxing Day Test has always been huge for me, especially as a kid. Probably the most vivid and exciting memory is the master, DK Lillee and his rampaging spell late in the day, culminating with the dismissal of the Master Blaster Viv – wow,,,, what a spell!

  11. Barkly St End says

    At various times over the decades:
    * hooky (or was it hookee?)
    * darts
    * billiard table
    * swimming pool
    * trampouline
    * games of test cricket (two versions of the board game, might be more out there)
    * frisbees (and the aerobie)
    * badminton
    * boules

  12. Backyard cricket, totem tennis, table tennis, surfing/family body surfing.

    Cricket involving numerous cousins and uncles in particular who were a tad competitive for the amount of alcohol consumed to really be competitive. Being a bit older than most cousins, I had an advantage which led to a well known refrain regarding our 124 NRL playing cousin. “I taught him everything he knows, about backyard cricket.”

    Totem tennis often ended with the killer version of the game where you had to plant your feet and drape the ball over a shoulder, and not move them. This game was excellent for developing the ducking reflex. We have also travelled through much of the UAE and Oman toting a totem tennis kit. Used rarely on selected beaches and occasional desert camps. Haven’t been able to plant it since repatriating, although could have another go since we’ve had a bit of rain.

    Table tennis had the odd game to 501. One of which resulted in a scoreline of 501-499. The jaws of the agony of defeat.

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