Fatten the pig? Strike a Medal? Frock up?

Who enjoys rhetorical questions? Really, me too! Ok then, so who was as excited as I was at receiving their copy of The 2013 Almanac? I tell you, all this talk online about this year’s cover and other musings about the season ahead has had me nose deep in the 2013 publication once more and brimming with inspiration all over again.

Yep, you’ve gotta love The Almanac. It’s opened a few doors for me over the years and prevented a few at my place from banging during storm season as well. Entertaining AND functional. And for the price of a few meagre contributions to its overall publication we can walk away with a handy extra copy or two. I say handy because personally I’ve found that nothing says “Sir, please desist in attempting to sell me insurance door to door” quite like 4 Football Almanacs inside a pillow case.

It’s gotten me out of my share of tight situations as well. Whether it’s a spare copy in the glove box:

“Certainly officer, my licence is in here someplace. Perhaps it’s under this shiny new copy of the Footy Almanac you may care to hold for me?”, or helping to grease the wheels of justice:

“Yes Your Honour, I am aware of the seriousness of the crime. No Your Honour, I think we can all agree that cannibalism is no laughing matter but if it pleases the court, before sentencing, might I be allowed to approach the bench accompanied only by this complimentary copy of this year’s Football Almanac?” Enough said.

Anyway, the whole point of my inane ramblings is to share an epiphany I had over the summer months whilst pouring over its bountiful pages. As it happens, I find that I tend to do most of my best thinking over the summer break and with the neighbours away and their laughable attempts at secure fencing easily compromised, it was the perfect opportunity to just sit poolside, relax and read.

Ideally I prefer to have my copy of The Almanac negotiated by Christmas, for re-gifting purposes. In summers past I would usually seize upon the opportunity of idle time during Test Matches (Change of innings, drinks breaks or during the gaps between words whilst Ian Chappell is talking) to skim a match report or two but on the strength of so many wonderful articles in the 2013 issue, the Yule Tide deadline came and went unchallenged by me. I tip my lid in particular to Round 4.

My involvement with The Almanac makes me want to be a better writer and every time I think I’m starting to hit my stride the turn of a page uncovers a shiny new gem, a Sgt Peppers to my Pet Sounds, challenging me to seek new angles to approach the game from and setting the type of standards that I aspire to one day produce.

I’m not usually one for bold statements, well there was that one time I claimed to be Meatloaf’s choreographer but in my defence I had been painting inside all day with the windows closed. Or how about that time I compared my writing to The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds? What was THAT all about? Anyway, digressions aside for a moment, there I was revelling poolside in the acumen of last year’s match reviews when I found myself exclaiming to a mildly confused Creepy Crawly Technician: “Why isn’t there a John Harms Medal for the best and fairest article in The Almanac each year?”

Having grown from its humble beginnings as a harmless Counter-Culture Manifesto, littered with erotic cartoons and pro-Amway slogans, to the all-welcoming Utopia for sporting tragics, promoting a rich trade in ideas and opinions that we see before us today. I just happen to think it’s time to take the next step.

As the ranks of enthusiastic (mostly) amateur scribes continues to swell, so does the quality of writing and I put it to you, the reader, that it might be time to celebrate our first Write-sing Star (pause for disapproving groan). Sure, there will be conjecture. It’s highly subjective after all. Would there be an officiating panel, a jury of peers perhaps? I don’t know.  The truth is, like so many of my half-baked ideas, I haven’t really thought the processes through yet. Nor do I know what’s in The Almanac budget but an organised gathering of befitting grandeur is what’s needed here. Something that not only honours the book’s contributors but also acknowledges the long suffering SAPE’s (WAGs to be replaced by Spouses and Paid Escorts) that not only endure but encourage our amateur forays into journalism. My wife already has a sequined track suit set aside on lay-buy for when she shuffles the red linoleum (have you seen the price of carpet?), a flaming durry in hand before we all board the bus to get drive-through.

The medal itself, however, I have given serious consideration to. It should be of significance and close to the heart of the man himself. I’m thinking: Hand forged from the discarded cap of a the bottle of Chivas Regal I pinched from John’s recycling bin last Thursday and strung majestically by the locks of hair I managed to retrieve the same night whilst he was sleeping. His recent commitment to a more sculpted, disciplined coiffure complicated the matter somewhat but I was undeterred. I never said it had to come from his head.

We can discuss semantics later but in principle…who’s with me?

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About Jamie Simmons

Born in Melbourne, a third generation Fitzroy supporter, in 1972 before emigrating to Tasmania during The Great Broccoli Famine of 86. Leaving my island lodgings, largely at the request of locals, to settle once more on the mainland in 1997. These days living out a peaceful existance on the outskirts of Brisbane, where I spend most of my time serving as a fashion warning to others.


  1. kath presdee says

    I can see it now. The FAAFOFFS (Footy Almanac Awards For Outstanding Footy Fan Scribbling).

    You could set up a panel of experts who vote on the articles in each round, awarding votes on a 3-2-1 system. With a separate award for “courageous” writing, a People’s Choice (People’s Elbow?) and the Knackers Association Award where all the Knackers vote for an author other than themselves. You could also have the rising star award for first, second or third year contributors.

    Or you could divide us scribes into “Academies”. There’s the straight up and down scribes (trad scribes); the scribes whose reports barely mention the footy except for the score (the vibe scribes); the scribes who adopt various literary pretensions in their reports (the style scribes). Each “academy” votes among itselves to nominate say five outstanding articles and then we all vote.

    (This can spin off plans for Academies to draft new scribes each year, based on the performance of their members in the overall voting system the previous year. Yet another occasion for a night of nights)

    While Melbourne will have the main red carpet, I suggest that interstate venues also be designated for those of us who are flying the flag outside Victoria. You know you want to cross to the Red Cow at Penrith at critical moments of the night.

    Formally released from his requirement to read the Brownlow votes round by round, Andrew Demetriou intones the outcomes for each almanac round with Harmsy being the thinking Knacker’s Bruce providing the ongoing tally after each round. Whether we toast the winner in Champers, Chivas or Coopers – a personal choice.

    You know, it just might work…..

  2. See….Kath gets me. They laughed at Isaac Newton too, you know, when he first assigned scienftific merit to alchemy….OK, bad example.

  3. Ken Haley says

    Most assuredly, the John Harms Medal for Fine Writing would be one of the most prestigious and keenly contested accolades in sportdom. I votes YES.


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