Smokie’s Willy CYs Preview, Rd8: Superstition

The Williamstown CYMS Football Club, at long last, returns to its “spiritual” home this Saturday. Is it superstition that we tend to play better on the Fearon Reserve….

Although I am well aware that sportspeople generally are a superstitious bunch, I had always assumed that cricket was the sport that best leant itself to those who had steadfast rituals and unwavering superstitions. Indeed, I was one of those fools who thought that if I did not put on my left pad before my right pad I would be doomed to failure at the batting crease. It was also extremely important to me that I chewed gum while batting. I once forgot my gum and called my wife to request that she bring me a packet; I still cannot believe that she so generously acquiesced.

Whilst talking to a mate recently, I was reminded that footballers also cling to some weird rituals. He told me that when he was sixteen, and playing bush footy, he played a couple of good games in a row; upon the realisation that he had been wearing the same pair of jocks in both games, he resolved to wear that very same pair of jocks in every game thereafter. After a couple of seasons, his lucky jocks became somewhat bedraggled, and unable even to hold his manhood within his footy shorts. His solution was to wear his lucky jocks beneath another pair of undies. It was uncomfortable, but like Linus and his blanket, he could not take the risk of playing without the comfort of knowing he was wearing that special underwear.

His story brought to mind some of the superstitions I saw in my time playing at CYs. Whether he needed it or not, ‘Stampa’ would have a puff of Ventolin just before he ran out onto the field. And another puff at half time – at which stage ‘Bondy’ would indulge in a relaxing cigarette or two, which was part of his ritual, even though the smoke was sickening to the rest of us. It is unthinkable that a player would have a half-time durry now. Have you seen the cost of ciggies?

‘Dervo’ would always be last to run out onto the ground. Once, when I was late getting a pre-game finger strapped, he stood next to me, urging the trainer to hurry. “Why?” she asked. “Because I cannot run onto the ground until after he does, and at this rate we will be two players short at the first bounce.” And what about Tommy? Was it superstition or sentiment, or both, that encouraged him to bring his boots to the game in a battered old Gladstone bag? And let’s not forget his pre-game dab of Vicks VapoRub on the tongue, or the ¾ time shot of Green Ginger Wine.

It was not quite superstition, but ‘Horn’ had a unique habit of counting all his possessions during a match. Not an arduous task for most of us, but nonetheless not something that you bring to mind in the heat of the battle. During one particularly productive game, I remarked to ‘Horn’ that it appeared as if he had the ball on a string. “I have had 17 kicks and 9 handballs already,” he answered, and who was I to argue? I was tempted to enquire of him how long was left in the quarter. “Two minutes and forty-five seconds,” I imagined him answering solemnly.ew, Rd8:

Brownlow Medallist Adam Cooney once said that the one superstition he stuck to was “no lovemaking the day before a game – the cut-off point was exactly 24 hours before the first bounce.” For the majority of blokes that I played footy with, this superstition would not have been a problem. Whether they wanted to or not.

 

WILLIAMSTOWN CYMS FC – This week’s matches:

SENIORS VS. OLD MENTONIANS (H), 2PM @ FEARON RESERVE

RESERVES VS. OLD MENTONIANS (H), 11:40AM @ FEARON RESERVE

THIRDS VS. ST MARY’S SALESIAN (A), 9:20AM @ FERNDALE PARK

U19 SECTION 2 VS. ST BEDES/MENTONE TIGERS AFC (A), 2PM @ BRINDISI ST OVAL

U19 SECTION 5 VS. HAMPTON ROVERS (H), 9:20AM @ FEARON RESERVE

 

 

About Darren Dawson

Always North.

Comments

  1. Dave Brown says:

    Nice one, Smokie. Wonder if Cooney’s rule still applies now that he’s not playing but his wife is. My first season of senior tennis as a kid (Div 17 from memory) we used to run across a couple of clubs where a quick ciggie and a swig from a longneck of West End Draught was the change of ends routine for many. All of this on a 38 degree summer’s afternoon!

  2. Browny,
    Fun fact: A Cooney now plays in my old Wednesday night basketball team.

  3. Old mate Smoke – I’m not a superstitious man. But I do have my lucky jocks.

  4. Luke Reynolds says:

    Good stuff Smokie. I’ve always been a left-pad-on-first man myself.

    In the final season of the South Purrumbete FC, several of our players would have pre game, quarter, half and three quarter time ciggies. No wonder we never won a game that season…..

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