One Eyed

The siren goes. I can hardly bear to look at him. My eleven year old son, Jackson, barracks for the Cats and they have just beaten the Hawks for the 10th time in a row. The loss is another. Punch. In. The. Guts. Jackson’s smile, an assassin’s smile, which has its root deep inside his innocent baby blue hooped pinholes, is more than I can take. I take jibe after jibe on the chin but the glint in Jackson’s eye cuts hard.

“Well, I jumped up, turned around, spit in the air, fell on the ground and asked which was the way back home. I was told, take a right at the light, keep goin’ straight until night, and then, boy, you’re on your own”, as Springsteen exclaimed, I was blinded by the light.

One week later I was under the knife. Eye surgery, to be precise. On Monday 8 April, I had a Pterigym removed (scrapped, peeled, cut, whatever) from my right eye rendering me (for a short while) literally, one eyed. In the quirkiest twist of fate, the surgery was conducted in Hawthorn. I was officially a one eyed Hawks fan.

The evening before I went under the knife the Hawks played the Eagles in Perth. I didn’t see the game. I couldn’t, I wouldn’t. I was so freakin nervous. Was it fear of a doctor, who looked like she was barely out of high school, coming at my eye with a lancet? Or was it fear of the Hawks being run through by a team masquerading as Premiership fancies.

I followed the game on Twitter. During the second quarter I went down to get the kids Maccas. Hawks were in control but I wondered if they would have enough fuel in the tank to run out the half let alone the game. Literally as soon as I turned the car radio on the Eagles came alive. Kennedy and Darling and other sharpened their claws, widened their eyes and focussed their attack. And I suffered as I sat in the drive through. It was aural torture. So I played a CD. Springsteen, my philosopher at court, steered me home. Atlantic City was playing and Bruce was singing, “Everything dies baby that’s a fact but maybe everything that dies someday comes back”.

Then my wife Vicki and I went to dinner at Cutler & Co, a Melbourne high end restaurant. I dubbed it my last supper. I’m nothing, if not melodramatic. I continued to follow the game on Twitter and sweated. I became much more attentive to Vicki and dinner and our surroundings as the last quarter went on. And happier. The Hawks were home and by a lot. By enough to have even the hardened rubbed their eyes in disbelief. The Hawks won, having had less than a week’s rest, then flying across the Nullabour to take on the well and truly rested WC Evils at their home ground, which could be renamed Cyclops Cauldron, such is the one eyed animosity to visitors.

By the way kids, a pterygium is not a laughing matter … if you’re about to have one removed. If not, funny as. A pterygium is a fleshy overgrowth of the conjunctiva. Left untreated it can grow across the cornea, affecting vision. Now the overgrowth has been removed I feel like I’m seeing through new eyes, or, er, new eye. I will have surgery on my other eye in several months, once the first eye has healed to the satisfaction of my Ophthalmologist. Then everything old will be new again.

For the days following surgery, I drifted, courtesy of morphine’s sweet balm. During that time I played with notions of what it must be like to be one-eyed until it became crystal clear. Being one eyed is something else. In the land of the blind the one eyed man may well be king but back here in the real(ish) world he’s just one eyed. Pouring a cup of tea brought that into focus with a ken I wasn’t prepared for. To be one eyed is to concentrate on the extremes, not the centre. As I poured all I saw (all I looked for) was the hot water meeting the cup’s lip. Nothing else mattered.

The desire to descry decreased. Did the good eye strengthen to lighten the poor eye? I don’t think so. That rare and treasured gift, acuity barely glimmered. One eye blinked while the other wept. I have come to the conclusion (through the experiment that was my lot) that one eyed barracking is like living in a perpetual haze with truth forever out of focus. It is said that “one’s eyes is what one is” and the eyes are the windows of the soul. So take it from one’s who has stared into the eye of the storm, keep the shutters open and let whatever and whoever come streaming in.

Over two weeks and wins against the Pies and the Dockers my eye has been healing. The one eyed monster is slowly morphing into a more discerning man with spectacles, if I do say so myself (not expecting a lot of back up on this one). I can feel the power surging as my eyesight strengthens, as I grow to be once more rich of vision and I shed the shackles of being one-eyed. I will be once more, a balanced and considered spectator, a paragon of fairness and perspicuity. Or, in other words, I will be Hawk eyed.

After five rounds of footy Hawthorn sit in 4th position with four wins and one loss and a healthy percentage. I’m not saying 2013 will be ours (that would be such a one-eyed thing to say). There’s too much season to play out to be that blinkered. However, I feel good about our chances of being there as the arc of this year’s narrative bends towards the pointy end. To do so, the Hawks must remain strong, determined and clear eyed. They must, to put it squarely, hold fast to lyrics from a song written for a much higher purpose but nonetheless, with meaning enough to lift and sustain their forward march:

“Only thing that we did right was the day we begun to fight!
Keep your eyes on the prize, hold on!”

That’s eyes my friend, eyes.

About Rick Kane

Up in the mornin', out on the job Work like the devil for my pay But that lucky old sun has nothin' to do But roll around Heaven all day


  1. ‘…one eyed barracking is like living in a perpetual haze with truth forever out of focus..’ A terrific line, Rick.

    But will you really be ‘once more, a balanced and considered spectator, a paragon of fairness and perspicuity’? Time will tell.

    All the best for your recovery.

  2. Lovely read Rick. (And for all Knackers concerned about Rick’s recovery, can I just say his eye has improved dramatically over the last couple of weeks. Rick and co are co workers and the last time I came across him at the water cooler, the only visible problem with his eyes were that they glazed over when I talked about anything NOT Hawthorn. I call it Glenferrie-conjunctivitis.)

  3. DBalassone says

    Great stuff Rick, and wishing you a quick and full recovery. Can’t help but think of that line by one of Bruce’s forgotten buddies…

    Doctor, my eyes
    Cannot see the sky

  4. Peter Flynn says

    R Kane,

    Best wishes for the recovery.

    I enjoyed the read.

    P Flynn

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