The Great Russini – A one trick pony or man of wisdom.

At one of the sporting clubs that I frequented, there was a wise man.

He only appeared once a year. That was during the players’ talent night.

He was the Great Russini.

Many believed that he was a one trick pony. In fact, as far as his annual magic show went, this probably was not far from the truth. There was though a percentage of the audience who had not seen his trick.

“Watch me make this pot disappear” he would say,then, to a dramatic drum roll, he would skol the beer and place the empty glass on his head.

Other than this trick, he also had great theories that he freely espoused. His great theory on the weather was “Remember, there is really on three seasons a year. Football season, cricket season and two silly seasons in between”.

With the move to cramming as much sport in as possible, even at a local level, the chance of fitting in two silly seasons is difficult.

But when thinking about these prophetic words, there is no doubt the year does have a certain rhythm and you can tell the time of year by the weather, the feeling or “the vibe” as someone once said.

January 26
Usually the hottest day of the year, but only when a full days cricket was scheduled when local leagues thought the average park cricketer wanted to feel like a professional for one day and play from 11am til 6pm. Little did we understand that a test player did not refresh at lunch by adjourning to the local pub for a quick counter meal and a few pots.

February 1
Also the hottest day of the year. Amazingly this often coincided with the commencement of pre season football training. This was subsequently represented by the smell of sweat, deep heat and vomit.

Mid March
After a hot cricket season, it was always amazing how often the start of the finals would be aligned to a change in the weather. No longer, the bright sunshine, but often a cloudy sky. The smell of rain in the air mixed with desperation (if you’d finished 3rd or 4th) or trepidation (if you’d finished first or second and risked getting caught on a sticky)

Late March / Early April.
The Easter round of footy. The smell of the last lawn mown for the next few months, mixed with the sweet smell of the autumn leaves burning in the gutter (yes I caused global warming). Inside was the smell of Guinness, chocolate and roast lamb.

Mid June
At some stage it would rain. Not just overnight or a slight drizzle, but rain of biblical proportions. Footballers would go from running on top of the ground to needing Leigh Matthews thighs to push through the mud. Pending the timing of games, training and rainfall, the grounds could stay in this condition for the next few months. The smell was a mixture of clay, merri creek soil, water and damp clothes that you forgot to take out of the bag after last Saturdays game. The great tradition of grey shorts was borne out of this time.

August Sometime
At some stage it stops raining. The small shoots of grass pop through. The centre wickets crusts up (there was a skill that has gone out of the game, negotiating that type of centre square). There is the smell of spring in the air. The nights get a little lighter and while not yet balmy, there is the chance you will train without the T- Shirt under the jumper.

Finals time. Usually a mixture of warmer weather and wind. Like all mediocre sportsman, I’d much prefer rain to wind. Amazingly September delivers lots of wind. The smell is of cut grass, betadine for the grazes and spilt champagne from the premiership cup. And to round out the year, vomit after the post finals 10 til 10.

As September delivers wind, October will again deliver rain. For most cricketers they hope for washouts up to Caulfield Cup Day. Start with Turnball Stakes Day, roll into the Caulfield Guineas then on to the Cup. If you are still punting away on Cox Plate day, the cricket season has become a farce. Mandatory covers have been as bad for the racing clubs attendances as pub tabs.

November / December
At some stage the smell of heat hits you. The first hot day arrive, you can almost see the grass turn brown in front of your eyes. The thought of “shit I should have put sunscreen on”, the pain of waking the next morning realising the 20 beers you’d drunk after play did not really follow the elite athletes’ rehydration program.

And the cycle continued the following year.

He was a wise man the great Russini.

Im off to see if I can master that trick of his !


A mediocre local sportsman now paying for the sins of the past. Golf and walking the only options. As JTH said, you are not a golfer if you cant shoot under 85. Im not a golfer

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