View from Shepparton

I don’t know when it happened but during the last  fortnight my long standing antipathy to all things English gradually dissipated and as they had success after success in that second week of the Olympic Games I found myself thinking, “Well good luck to you, you deserve all that you have achieved and more”. In fact, as well,  those long lingering shots of London during the marathons made me really want to visit the place and savour its history and culture.


I found myself feeling genuinely sorry for Victoria Pendleton as she lost that race to Anna Meares but of course I also felt immensely proud of Meares as we all did in Australia as she won that gold against her toughest opponent. And how close was it anyway? Pendleton did drift off her line in that frantic first finish but only just. If ever the difference between success and failure could be graphically illustrated this was it. I just loved Pendleton’s spirit though when obviously gutted was still able to ride next to Meares and in holding her hand share the latter’s success after the second race.  Obviously I would have been really disappointed had Meares not got up particularly too given her background in the the immediate past before Beijing.


Who too can forget those long agonising moments as Sally Pearson waited for validation of her win. I must admit that I thought that Dawn Harper, the winner at Beijing, had got up. They both ran personal bests. This is where despite all I really feel for James Magnussen, a one hundredth of a second between elation and despair


On the other hand Mo Farah was surely given wings by the atmosphere, the ambience,  the moment, as the 80,000 strong crowd willed him home in that 5000 metres. I often despair at human nature but this was a fantastic moment as the crowd embraced the man who at at aged eight had moved from Somalia to find himself 21 years later running for Great Britain. What an antidote for racism.


I know nothing about sailing or kayaking but have to admit that I now know who Tate Smith, David Smith, Murray Stewart and Jacob Clear are, they are the men’s K4 1000m crew which produced what was for me arguably the best moment of the games, that gold medal. Kept thinking, they can’t keep up the pace but they did. 1000 metres was a long enough race for things to go wrong.


So that was the Olympic Games where I am sure that there were lows of the human spirit but I only saw the highs.


This gets me to my passion, Aussie Rules, and there the story is sadly on occasion much different. I refer to those, a minority certainly, who booed the stricken Tom Hawkins as he was stretchered off the ground last Friday night. I think as one who used to be and in some ways still is a one eyed Croweater. I think of many times when being one eyed has unfortunately got in the way of basic human decency and fairness, of sportsmanship indeed. What has it come to when the felling of a champion engenders hate not sympathy? And this sort of thing has been going on for ever. I was at a one dayer at the Gabba years ago when Richard Hadley, surely one of the greatest cricketers ever to play the game had an appeal turned  down. “Hadley wanker, Hadley, wanker” rang around the ground. I agree with Chris Scott who when referring to the Hawkins incident wondered aloud if you want your kids to even go to these things any more.


I know that in this day and age nothing is black and white,I am certainly no prude but I am starting to think that it is so yesterday when players mouth the F word when missing goals for example. I must confess that as a response it is probably the best expletive around at the moment but really, aren’t we supposed to be an educated country?


I want to now break my duck and say really positive things about Collingwood. I reckon that it took sheer guts for them to discipline Swan, sheer guts. Could cost them a position or two in the finals in one of the tightest minor rounds ever.  I sound off at Victorian teams that can’t win away basically because in my view visiting teams cop heaps when they fail in Melbourne. Yet the Pies  have now won ten in a row, away. Pretty fantastic really. The icing on the cake for all Magpie supporters must have been the way they won in Sydney, Dale Thomas out early when he had been playing a blinder, and down 17 points halfway through that third quarter with Sydney appearing to have the run of play. So I would have to contend that if they get up this year Collingwood as it stands today would be deserved winners. This was a fantastic game to watch.


As was Perth Eagles v Geelong. There is no doubt that losing Hawkins would have completely messed up the Cats forward structure and they were playing in Perth as well. Cox and Naitanui proved to be the difference. I was really barracking for Geelong because I reckon that it is they that Hawthorn and the Maggies would really fear in the finals.


North Melbourne played a depleted Essendon but were themselves reduced to 20 men after the injuries to Adams and Wells. How Hansen could be knocked out and then return to kick 3 goals is beyond me. I thought that there was a concussion rule there somewhere. Brent Harvey is playing really well at the moment. Can’t see them going too far in the finals though.


Adelaide did enough against the Dockers but for a side that is second at the moment could have been more convincing. Dangerfield is certainly their gun right now..


The Powerless were predictably belted but at least they started out alright. Another percentage booster for the Hawks.


At this stage of the season you start getting to games that don’t seem to mean that much. My mob have well and truly had it, with the Blues far too good. I was watching the Olympics at the time so was spared the agony of Brisbane’s wayward goal shooting in the first quarter and Carlton’s third quarter onslaught. I suppose that arithmetically it does leave Carlton an outside chance of still making the finals if they beat Essendon next week.


The same goes for the Saints, because they beat Melbourne, and who doesn’t, they might still be a chance but have to beat Geelong this week.


Richmond beat the Bulldogs, yep, what could have been for the Tiges but we all know that.


Gold Coast had their first win at home at last. It’s a pretty good venue and hope that next year the Sun’s form does it justice. As for the Sprawlers well they will still be easy beats for most sides next year..


Best For The Week: Our K4’s, worst, Steve Hooker not completing a jump.


About Peter Schumacher

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

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