The View from Shepparton – Round 13

Hands up those who thought that Black Caviar’s jockey was a nong for easing up before the final few strides. Well I was one who thought as much for a start. Hands up though now for all those who think that he might have been a genius for willing his injured mount in that last stride or two to say in front. I’ll put my hand up again. I reckon that the revelation that the horse had suffered injuries changes everything so that the moment of the win should be seen as seen as a being a triumph, not a disappointing anti-climatic  great escape. Straight up front this has to be the highlight of the week.

Watched John Clarke’s program last night. Absolutely interesting, yearned for the days when the Aussies seemed to be on top in every sport they competed at.

I remember as a 10 year old in South Australia listening to the 1956 Olympic Games with my dad who had been stricken with a heart attack or a coronary thrombosis as we (3) kids were told. At any rate the treatment then was complete rest and no activity at all lest another attack be triggered. We would panic if dad moved around much. One day he got sick of it all and chopped a barrow load of wood ignoring my mother’s protestations.

This time of his inaction though gave me a once in a lifetime chance to bond with him when normally as a Lutheran Pastor he was mostly away at some outlying place or congregation within his parish. This also gave me a chance to listen with him as the ABC’s Noel Daikin (I think, not quite sure though) described Betty Cuthbert winning the 100 metres, then the 200 and finally winning a third as a member of the women’s relay team. I vaguely remember the names Marlene Matthews and Christa Stubnick of Germany in the mix as well. We listened as Vladamir Kuts burned up the field in the 5000 and 10,000 meter events. And I am sure that we listened fascinated at various swimming races, well at least the 400 and 1500 metres  involving Murray Rose and Tsuyoshi Yamanaka and we would hear, “Rose … Yamanaka… Yamanaka .. Rose” as the two battled for supremacy in these two events. I love the photograph which featured in John Clarke’s program of the two embracing in the pool after the 1500 metres event won by Rose which occurred 15 years to the day after the bombing of Pearl Harbour. The youth of the day could forget the past and bury these huge historical and cultural differences. This is what makes sport so great.

On to more mundane things. This was another great round of AFL. You get to the stage where you think that it is unfair when there is a loser not necessarily because of individual  passages of play but these in concert help create the atmosphere obviously but more because at the moment of the siren one of those two teams which have both shown brave resolve and played at a spectacularly high standard have fallen short. So it was with Geelong who came from nowhere, hit the front but then lost the lead. Of course a draw gives no satisfaction to anyone either being “unresolved business”. Hence there have to be absolutes which is interesting in a day and age where there are mostly no absolutes and in which where those individuals or organizations who try to take an absolute stand on anything are usually cut down. There is certainly no relativism in sports.

I felt the same way about the Collingwood Eagles clash except that it left the Magpies on top. Here is my absolutist position on that; damn! And Adelaide could have fixed that but once again fell down at the last hurdle when it really counted.

Essendon had a good win against Freo which team I was absolutely barracking for so that I could listen to their club song besides which I always, as I have chronicled previously, sorry, given my South Australian background  go for “ASBV” (Any Side But Victorian).

Good old Brissie. They won again, keep going like this and they will make the finals. Fabulously fabulous that would be. Poor old Dogs are looking pretty sick though.

Which is how Adelaide went yesterday. Like most Victorian sides (Collingwood being an honourable exception) they can’t play away to save themselves. I sometimes think that they are some sort of “flat track bullies” the track being Football Park. Come on Crows, if you are going to be taken seriously you do have to win in Melbourne (another absolute).

The scribes, including me if I can be described as such, talk up GWS and compare them to the hopeless Suns. Sydney have got Sheeds and Mark Williams and all of the rest of it. Well I have completely gone off their bandwagon. After a great first quarter they were stuffed. I reckon that the rot set in late in that first quarter when Brogan having taken a mark which should have resulted in a forward thrust for GWS instead let himself get panicked into an errant handball which resulted in a Melbourne goal and the start of a comeback which never seemed to end. These new teams will be fodder for years doesn’t matter how good their draft picks because particularly in Sydney they come from places with no AFL culture whatsoever. Have to have better senior players than Brogan as well if that was the best he could do. And what has happened to Izzy?

Best moment; as discussed. with the penalty conversion of Berrick Barnes being an honorable mention. The worst, the Poms losing yet another game on a penalty shoot out. What a bugger of a way to finish a game. If the world game can’t think of a better way to reach a conclusion  I can give them one suggestion which has been mooted many times. Reduce each team by one man every five minutes  until some poor bastard or team collectively drops dead with exhaustion. That may be a bit extreme perhaps but at least this would seem to be a fairer way to me of deciding  a game. I must say that notwithstanding these and other comments I have made in this post I would hate to see Rules go down the path of excluding tied games.

About Peter Schumacher

Wannabe footy commentator and writer, used to be a wannabe footballer


  1. Grand analysis this week, Mr Schumacher. Is it Michael or Mel, I keep forgetting.
    We have succumbed to Manflu and Magpie poisoning out here in the West, but we’ll be up and about in short order.
    Even without the ‘benefit’ of Foxtel it was a grand weekend to be tucked up with the Sudafed, Strepsils and the Sportsman (thankfully – not these days).
    The Senior Cygnets on Friday. A cracker at the G on Saturday arvo. Flaky Freo in the evening (but the tape of the replay of the Wallander episode that I’d seen before on 7 got the nod from the Avenging Eagle).
    But the weekend’s highlight was definitely John Clarke’s Sporting Nation doco. The AE is still wiping the drool off the sofa (she thought it was mucous).
    I cringed when I thought about how I called Shane Gould a quitter and a loser. She is an extraordinary gracious lady who took on the world with nothing but her enormous ability, will and natural decency and sense of proportion. She is too self effacing for it, but she is the natural inheritor of Our Dawn’s place on the cultural pedestal.
    Thanks Michael. Congrats on the GP placing.

  2. Shane Gould now spends much of her time at the small Tassy east coast hamlet of Bicheno.

    My niece is a contented little wannabe surfer and swimmer down that way. I was talking to her recently and asked her if she had a swimming coach. She said “no, not really. But a lady called Shane Gould helps me with my stroke work”.

  3. Peter,
    Noel Bailey is the ABC commentator of the 1950s, you were thinking of – confusing him with Ken Dakin who I reckon came a bit later. Both immortals, in my view. Bailey was an absolutely crackerjack athletics commentator.

    I loved your reference to listening to the Olympics as that was almost entirely my experience (in rural Victoria) of the ’56 Games. I certainly remember, the Kuts 10,000 metres, and the Murray Rose swims. I hadn’t realised the significance of the date of his 1500 triumph – the Pearl Harbour anniversary – until last night’s program.

    I agree also with the commendations of Shane Gould ,who has survived the stresses of carrying the nation’s expectations and demands on her all-too-young shoulders, and created a worthy life away from the spotlight. I didn’t realise that she had relocated to Tassie, as I recall her living in WA. Her autobiography is a good read.

  4. Mark Doyle says

    Some good memories rekindled by John Clarke’s excellent doco. on our sports history of the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s. Our sports heroes from this time have been excellent sporting role models to subsequent generations to perform at a high level and we continue to do well at both team and individual sports. I agree with Alovesupreme’s comments and was also unaware of the rivalry between Murray Rose and the Japanese swimmer. When first reading Peter Schumacher’s report I thought we had a clone of Noel Bailey and Ken Dakin. I have fond memories of Noel Bailey’s broadcast of Herb Elliott’s gold medal mile win at the Rome Olympics, which I think was on a Sunday morning in Australia. Dawn Fraser’s ten year ban was one of the worst decisions in Australian sport; I have a memory that she swam in a 100m race in Canada soon after the Mexico City Olympics and was faster than that Olympic gold medallist. Shane Gould is a great world and Australian Olympian and a great role model for the way she has lived her life. However, I did not see her in Bicheno a few weeks back – this is a great spot!
    Ken Dakin was one of the best ABC VFL/AFL broadcasters of all-time and I have fond memories of listening to him and Dick Mason with expert comments from Roy Wright and Geoff Leek in the 1960’s..

  5. Mark, I agree with everything you said.
    Copyright 14.28 WST Monday 25/6/12

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