DK Lillee, the Jumbo Prince, and that Young Mum at the Checkout

 

This boy bought some fried chicken. YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT!

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Ten ways Internet cat videos are making you a zombie!

 

We know social media can be a torrent of infantile noise. But I recently found a quiet raindrop in the form of a story.

The author was at a supermarket checkout, harassed by shopping and kids. Suburban drudgery. The English poet Philip Larkin might’ve been right in “Dockery and Son”

Life is first boredom, then fear.

Whether or not we use it, it goes

An elderly woman saw her frustration, and offered support before saying, “You know what? I loved being a mother, and enjoyed every minute.”

Enjoyed every minute? Really? Utter rubbish, the writer barked. Dwelling upon her experiences, she knew, of course, that parenting could be dreadful. Excruciating. But, in those reflective moments after the kids were asleep, she loved having parented.

Is this the defining distillation of adulthood? That life becomes gratifying only in retrospect. That we find our satisfaction in the past tense, in having transacted, having accomplished? For kids life is mostly present tense, as it should be. But moving from present to past is hard.

I remind myself to splash about in the moment.

*

My first SANFL game. I was at a friend’s when Dad picked me up late morning, and we went to the 1976 Grand Final at Footy Park between hot fancy Port and Sturt. The attendance was 66,897, but anecdotally, closer to eighty.

I was among the hundreds sitting on the grass, between the fence and the boundary. It was three and four deep, and arguably like sticking your kids on the roof of the XY Falcon while you drove interstate. But it wasn’t frightening; it was a Match Day Experience.

Sturt ruckman Rick Davies hypnotised me. The Jumbo Prince. He defeated Port and his performance yielded statistics that, forty years on, in this era of high disposals, are astonishing

21 kicks, 21 handballs, 15 marks and 21 hitouts.

At the siren, I scampered onto the ground, and patted Davies, a gigantic double-blue fridge. It was an IMAX moment alongside the coat-hanger-as-antennae B&W footage of my childhood.

The afternoon gave me much: league football, a big event, and the irresistible rush of crowds. In taking me from our little home, it painted a vivid vista of possibility.

Thanks, Dad.

*

On a searing Singaporean day, we watched the 2014 AFL Grand Final, and our seven year-old Alex is now on the Hawks. The Crows have plummeted to number two, and are mostly forgotten like all those number two songs on Countdown when Abba’s “Fernando” was top of the pops for fourteen weeks.

Do you remember, in the latter epoch of its reign when Molly decided to not show the whole video clip because the entire country was ill of its Eurovision-inspired confectionary and communicable melodies? “Fernando” had, in a Sunday night televisual sense, finally faced its Waterloo.

If Tex’s Crows are good enough they’ll give him some moments, and win him back. While Hawthorn keeps winning flags, Alex might never return. Happy with the Happy Team, he could be an Abba fan forever.

As a young fella, the boys’ cousin Dylan changed the team he supported three times in three seasons, until with wardrobe space, cash and patience running out, his mum threatened that she’d never buy him another footy jumper. He’s finally a loyal supporter. Mums have this power. And now he has the Power.

*

We’re at the scoreboard end. Like an Arctic ice floe, there’s foam eskies everywhere. I doubt any sunscreen was applied. Those droopy white hats, worn by Arthur Dunger on the Paul Hogan Show, flopped all about on that sloping hill.

My first Adelaide Oval experience was with Dad at an Ashes Test. It was Australia Day, 1975, after the first day washout. Our captain, Ian Chappell, was caught behind for a third-ball duck. His brother scraped to five. But feisty swinging from Jenner, Walker, Lillee and Mallett got us to three hundred, just shy of stumps.

It was nearly six, and the ground announcer confirmed the English openers Amiss and Lloyd would face two overs.

The first from DK Lillee.

The second from JR Thomson.

A pyroclastic flow of noise instantly buried the outer and the ancient grandstands named for Sir Edwin Smith and George Giffen. I was happily pulverised, and it was apocalyptic and baptismal.

With only eight deliveries each, Chappell unleashed both. Lillee, with his Hellenistic menace, and then Thompson’s Wild West gun slinging. Majesty and volatility, both presenting as terror.

The crowd commotion was now medieval village riot, the Rolling Stones in Hyde Park, and a rapidly unhinging Neapolitan wedding.

How could this not shape a small country boy? Thanks for this too, Dad.

That the batsmen survived mattered little. The next day Lillee took a wicket with the morning’s third ball, as he and Thomson seized seven victims. England was done.

*

These were my introductions to widescreen sport. How could I have had better? I can’t wait to offer Alex and Max this gift; this tormenting, ageless, rewarding gift.

It’s time for them to catch some moments of their own.

About Mickey Randall

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption Favourite song: Khe Sahn Favourite holiday destination: Gold Coast Favourite food: steak Favourite beer: VB Best player seen: Dogga Worst player seen: Frogga Last score on beep test: 3.14159 Favourite minor character in Joyce’s Ulysses: Punch Costello

Comments

  1. We look in the mirror and see our father staring back at us (or in my case I see my grandfather these days).
    Thanks for the memories Mickey. I was at most days of that 1975 Test and have clear memories of Knott’s defiant century and Amiss like a deer in the headlights trying to fend off Lillee. Checking Cricinfo I see Thommo didn’t bowl in the second dig. I have a vague memory that he collided with someone (spectator?) and hurt his shoulder.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    The smartest decision a pack of Elizabeth kids made on that day in 76 was to get taxis from Currie St to West Lakes, once we saw that the queues for the footy bus snaking southwards into King William St.

    We snagged seats a few rows back on the right side of the fence – we may have pelted some of the latecomers on the grass with Amscol Footy Colours wrappers.

    My GF hero worshipping back slapping story came a year later, when (don’t tell anybody) I ran onto Foopball Parg to congratulate R Ebert. I was probably a bit old for that at 17 (and a Centrals supporter at that).
    ***
    The gates were shut at Adelaide Oval by the time we got there on the day of your first test appearance, a dozen of us on the back of Graham Colman’s dad’s Holden tray-top, so we returned northwards. I returned the next day and the rest of that memorable Test.

    Bonzer Mickey – it worked for the youth of Playford’s satellite city too

  3. I seem to recall Thommo colliding with Alan Turner. As usually happens, the wrong one copped the injury.
    Alderman was the one who had the spectator altercation.

  4. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Thommo did his shoulder playing tennis on the rest day at Wyndy Hill-Smith’s Barossa estate. I’m not sure if this was the reason that rest days were abolished.

    As Budge points out, the Turner collision was at Adelaide Oval in the 76/77 series against Pakistan

  5. Thta Adelaide oval test, 1974-75, was a beauty. As Swish mentioned Thommo did his shoulder on the rest day. I recall watching the first days play, day 2 , at relatives over in Plenty rd Bundoora, as Derek Undewod created great havoc. however the lower order got us past 300 and as they say, the rest is history. Mikey, speaking of history, did three of the British team record pairs, Amiss, Atrnold, Underwod ? Without loking at the scores i’m sure there were three players achieving pairs in their ranks. Alan Knott batted well for them though, a gritty keeper. Keep up the good articles.

    Glen!

  6. Rick Kane says

    Thank you MR for splashing about in those moments. And with such vivid language and imagery.

    One small point, please don’t compare ABBA and the mighty Hawks. One I love, the other is just another pop group that got lucky.

    Cheers

  7. The People's Elbow says

    ABBA just another pop group that got lucky?

    *rolls up sleeves, stretches fingers, before typing*

    Sure, sometimes their songs were bloated and even goofy, But man, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus had a gift for writing a pop tune that was always building – always taking you somewhere.

    And they were not averse to take risks – breaking with the Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Middle 8-Chorus-Chorus format to great effect more than once – notably on “Dancing Queen”…

  8. Rick Kane says

    I’ll give em a half a dozen songs tops (Fernando ain’t one of them) but as you know TPE and MR, there’s plenty of great pop groups who got barely a whisker of the attention ABBA got (The Raspberries; Dave Edmunds for example). Hence the point re lucky.

  9. The People's Elbow says

    Martin Luther King once said “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

    I can’t be sure that he was referring to Eric Carmen (The Raspberries) and the ‘Dirty Dancing’ soundtrack, but there you go…

  10. Love this Mickey. I had the opportunity to drop my kids off at the tram stop the other day for their daily commute to school (I don’t get this opportunity very often). I looked in the mirror as I drove away and saw them chatting and laughing as they walked along. A moment in time. Two of my kids sharing a joke. Both completely in the moment. And me? Well I’m already reminiscing about it.

  11. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Rick (TAFKA Trucker Slim?) was on the money – The Raspberries are to Eric Carmen as The Undertones are to Feargal Sharkey.

  12. Thanks everyone.

    PB- Have you visited the revitalised Adelaide Oval? If not, get there, and write a story!

    Swish- R. Ebert went well didn’t he? I remember his 49 possession game, which was astonishing. When he had his own business, Russell Ebert Deliveries, he’d pop into my school often, drop off a parcel, and slip back out the door- untouched, just as he did in a Port jumper.

    Budge- I remember the Alderman injury. The WACA, I reckon.

    Rick and TPE- ABBA. I still loathe Fernando, but acknowledge that they had many astonishingly clever pop songs. Chiquitita is among my favourite songs- the melodies and chorus are brilliant. And I did enjoy Mamma Mia in London’s West End!

    Dips- That’s a lovely moment. Isn’t it great when they don’t know you’re watching, and you spot them doing something like that. Our boys are on the same school campus as me, and I get to see them around, without their knowing. Lots of heartening moments!

    Glen- Thanks for that. Knott was a gritty cricketer, wasn’t he? Valued his wicket highly.

  13. May 10. Round 6 – Eagles V Port Adelaide. Already in the Almanac Diary for the Book.
    My Dad refuses to go because of the money wasted on destroying his favourite cricket ground. He reckons the $ for the new footbridge over the Torrens would have kept 3 hospitals running for a year.
    For years he and his mates have always gone to the first day of all the Sheffield Shield matches and sat up high behind the bowlers arm in the Creswell/Bradman Stand. Too expensive for the SACA to open that section for sparse Shield crowds last season, and they were forced to sit at ground level. Last time he’ll ever go.
    The price of progress.

  14. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Loved it Mick , JR. Thompson doing his shoulder on the rest day trying to seve as quick as he bowled didn’t exactly go down well being there when Amiss was caught
    IM Chappell b Lillee 0 was the highlight for me of that test .
    While it was good to be there this year for the test when N Lyon bowled us to victory my highlight of the new Ad oval will always be the mighty redlegs def port power res in the gf in 2014 and being there with my son , Daneil and his mate , Campbell was special . Thanks Mickey

  15. PB- besides your insights into the football, I and many others will be keen to read your take on the redeveloped oval. I reckon the scoreboard, figs and grassed hill must be kept. I hope that greed doesn’t intervene, but I’m not confident.

    Malcolm- thanks for that. Australian fast bowlers and misadventure have a dreadful record- Thommo, Clem Alderman, Glenn stumbling on a footy in 2005, Dizzy persevering with his mullet. Going to the footy with your kids must be among the best experiences imaginable. Unless, of course, you go to Noarlunga. I sadly see more misery for Glenelg in 2015, even from Singapore.

  16. Luke Reynolds says

    An Ashes Test and a SANFL Grand Final, what superb introductions to big time sport! Well played Mr Randall. And well written Mickey.

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