Ode to the Fat Boy

Ode to the Fat Boy.

Some sad news came to me recently. A friend from my sporting past had left us after a long illness. I had lost touch with him, and whilst I knew of the illness the finality of it all shocked me. I passed on the news to my brother up north who also knew him.  He sent back these updated thoughts on a beer conversation we had long ago.

To do with the rise of the lean mean sporting machine, and the demise of the Fat Boy in sport.

I do contend that no sports team, certainly no cricket team can afford to be without a Fat Boy. I present a few random qualities – all personified by Stewie.

The Fat Boy always:

  • Has a friendly, engaging personality. Never able to rely on good looks and lack of body hair to become popular, the Fat Boy has a big smile and a crude but funny turn of phrase. Through this he becomes sought after company and essential for team bonding after a big or tragic loss.
  • Has a powerful arm in the field. Often achieving run outs of aforementioned lean, mean sportsman who underestimate the deceptive speed of return and unexpected lightness of foot.
  • Is a sweet timer of the ball. The Fat Boy does not feel the urge to crush the pill, but will glide, dab and stroke. There is an air of gracefulness about it all, though with the added body matter they can be the big hitter needed in times of trouble.
  • Is an economical judge of a run. You rarely see a Fat Boy run out. They know exactly how much to leave in the tank.
  • Has soft hands, and can be surprisingly agile in the slips or short leg. This of course is a survival edge designed to keep them from running around in the outfield. No need for hot work in close (Think Boony, Tubby, Warnie, AB, Botham and Gatts).
  • Seems to do it ‘easy’. By virtue of the Fat Boy’s capacity to do nothing that doesn’t have to be done, what they do do, is done well. Plenty of time, never rushed, the cramped hook shot becomes a controlled pull shot, the defence shot is set with the ball not half way down the track, the slog shot always on.
  • Drinks heavy beer. No ‘lights’ or cruisers here. The Fat Boy is generous to a fault, last to leave the bar, and can often be found comfortably snoozing in unexpected places late at night.
  • Knows where the next feed is coming from. You never go hungry when you spend time with a Fat Boy.
  • Shows equanimity. Because they know where the next feed and beer is, things are good. You are far less likely to be found fighting if you are with a Fat Boy.
  • Is happy to fart in a public place. Car, lift, bar or slips cordon. Loud and Proud.

Now that is just off the top of my head, the tip of the ‘fatburg’. But if just those few points are not a compelling case for a Fat Boy in every sporting team, you’re blind to the truth. No super fit, super prepared, psyched up, Nike wearing Yuppie can ever compete with the plain old happy Fat Boy. It’s how I remember Stewie, and the world is worse for his passing.

Stewie Lever – Good cricketer, Good bloke.

Michael Howard  (using Rory’s notes).


  1. Peter Flynn says

    G’day MWH,

    I concur.

    Enjoyed your piece.

    FB just back from the ‘Bool.

  2. Ross Andrews says

    Hi Michael and Rory

    I am sure Stewie would have a laugh at this as I have done. As well as cricket, I do recall playing a season of u17s footy with him at Monbulk where he was the quintessential laconic half fwd flanker – if you could do it off 2 steps, why bother taking any more!

    My bother Doug beat Stewie across to the other side and I reckon Dougie will be making some mileage out of that one. Come to think of it, I can imagine the two of them are causing havoc as Greg Ritchie and Andrew Denton impersonators.


    Bamawm, Victoria

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