Rev Up


Rev Up


I have just finished reading Hugh Van Cuylenburg’s, The Resilience Project: Finding Happiness Through Gratitude Empathy and Mindfulness and I really enjoyed it, especially Van Cuylenburg’s tales about Beefy, the Melbourne University Cricket Club’s  ‘water boy’ and ‘Chief Motivational Officer’ and his take no prisoners rev ups.


Take this as an example:


It turned out Beefy wasn’t only good at pulling a team out of slump; he also knew how to keep egos in check too. A year or so later, Melbourne University came into some good form; we won three games in row and all four grades were up around the top of the ladder. Training was a hoot; we were prancing around like peacocks. There was joy at every turn.


At the end of one session, we all confidently cruised over to Beefy for his weekly motivational address and he didn’t hesitate to mow us all down.


“Hey boys, how do you reckon you are going?” he said, looking around at all the smug faces. “Do you reckon you’re going alright? Well, you might be but fucking get over yourselves! I am fucking sick of you boys strutting around like you own the joint. Just fucking get over yourselves.” Then he walked off. (Cuylenberg, 2019)


Beefy’s reminder about the perils of hubris really resonated. Where was Beefy when I took a phone call from my principal in my early teaching days?  I thought he’d rung in his capacity as my referee. I’d had a job interview that morning and chatted away excitedly without waiting for him to explain the purpose of his call. Turns out he was ringing to advise me that we didn’t write references for students wishing to attend Melbourne High School on College letterhead, in fact, we didn’t really do them at all. The memory still makes me wince, but it did teach me about the importance of asking about protocols rather than assuming, even if you think you’re doing the right thing. And, wait to hear what the principal wants to discuss rather than speaking first.  Humility, so essential.


Wisdom gleaned from Terry ‘Plough’ Wallace is something I’ve also internalised. His famous spray of the Bulldogs in the documentary, The Year of the Dog, is an important part of our family story given my husband took me to see the documentary on one of our first dates:


I don’t know about you guys, but if I see one bloke walk out of here, getting a pat on the back from people out there for a good effort, I’ll spew up! Because it’s just not acceptable! …Don’t any one of you forget about it. Take away one thing from this game. You have the ability to play in this competition and to play it very very very well. (Wallace, 1996)


Plough’s speech is full of powerful imagery. ‘Spew’… so vivid, stark and definitive. His tough-love message, to never become complacent or let yourself off the hook (when deep down you know have the ability to win) is something we all need to hear sometimes. Before the Tigers won the premiership in 2017 and 2019, they needed to own and embrace the fact that they were often losing games due to a loss of concentration and confidence. This happened time and time again and it was only when they got into mindfulness in a serious way with Emma Murray that things really turned around. Everyone felt like spewing up after three straight elimination final losses to Carlton, Port Adelaide and North Melbourne and after the power spew of 2016, Richmond showed they really did ‘have the ability to play in this competition and to play it very very…well’. We use the ‘spew up’ rev up a fair bit in our house, sometimes when we’re talking about ourselves, sometimes when we are reflecting on the performance of others, but whenever it’s dished out, it always feels like we’re capturing an important truth. Beefy and Plough would be proud of us.


I still tear up at the footy when they play excerpts from Tommy Hafey’s 1975 rev up of the Tigers, “Nothin’ more Tigerish than a bloody Tiger, a wounded Tiger… We’ve gotta remember that every time the ball comes to our area you’ve gotta fight like hell”. I can’t help it. So inspirational. I still remember holding onto the steering wheel crying in my car when I heard he’d died. I was dropping the kids off at a party at the Kew Recreation Centre and the grief just hit me so hard. Tommy believed in and promoted the themes which course through Richmond’s club song – fight, dare, enjoyment of the game, resilience and legacy. KB said in his eulogy that one of Tommy’s favourite sayings was, ‘Sensational, but getting better’. I love that. Let’s get that back in circulation, especially in these crazy times. I’m also a massive fan of Tommy’s 2011 Jeep ad and I love to include the link on my class pages whenever I can. Its message is just so important.




You put your head down and you going to go for it, give it everything you’ve got. If you don’t make it, that’s not failure, not having a go is failure.  I just say say, commit yourself and don’t be wishing I could have it all over again ‘cause I didn’t give it my best shot. Go hard, don’t hold back. Ten little words, ‘If it is to be, it’s up to me’. I want you to put a big circle around the word me because that’s where it all comes back to; it’s you.’


It’s a cold wet grey day as I write this. It’s going to be a long term of ‘home learning’ for teachers and students and sometimes it’s been hard to remain hopeful and calm. I think that’s probably going to be the case for everyone as we navigate our changed lives (and miss the footy), but I’m determined to stick at it and will be using Beefy, Plough and Tommy as a muse.


  1. I wonder if Ian “Beefy” Botham – given he played for Melbourne Uni – got his nickname from the cricket club’s “water boy” and “CMO”, or maybe vice versa.
    But perhaps Hugh Van Cuylenburg was referring to Botham.
    I enjoyed your story, Jill, particularly the Tom Hafey quotes displaying his obvious love of Richmond (though I’m not a Tigers supporter).

  2. Thanks Fitzroy Pete! I’m sure there’s a link between Botham and Beefy. I saw Hugh in our local ice cream shop last summer, so if I see him again, I’ll ask him. Tommy once ran past me and said g’day. Top moment!

  3. Jill, I like the idea of a “local” when it comes to ice cream shops.
    Tom Hafey’s passing was very sad given he embraced fitness so wholeheartedly.
    Yes, Tommy was 82, but I would’ve backed him to get to 100.

  4. Black Waffle Jill?

    Really enjoyed your piece.

    Love when a book triggers lots of thinking. One to look out for I surmise.

    I felt the same way you did about Tommy when Bob Davis died.

    Happy Easter.

  5. Hi John,
    Brazen in Station St, Fairfield. The one with the giant bear in it. Apart from the great ice-cream, the owner loves the Tigers and the giant bear is always decked out in yellow and black in finals time. Just makes me love Station St all the more.
    You’ll love the tales about Beefy – there’s a lot more. I laughed and laughed. I can think of a range of situation where I’d like Beefy to step up to the plate.
    Bobby Davis was a lovely man. I remember his warmth and sense of fun with real affection.
    Happy Easter to you too.
    Must check out Black Waffle!

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