If you are like me you have a set of people you know who would like nothing better than to see Football die. Cynically they follow Fremantle or Gold Coast just to antagonise you. I am sure they have wondered just what could stop football.
Perhaps they thought of some great awakening of the human race. Where suddenly all of humanity awakened to their full mental and spiritual potential. Where physical prowess was no longer required or adored as the apex of human expression. Or, even a transformation in the arts and culture that bloomed into a new western cultural golden age of music, dance and theatre.
Rugby League, the last one standing.
Unfortunately for all of us it was a major pandemic that stopped football in its tracks. Due to the rate of infection and the foolishness of the population football in all but New South Wales and Queensland is postponed.
Yes, the NRL is still going. The border between Queensland and NSW is (as of writing) still not closed. Rugby League can continue in empty stadiums. Rugby League is the last sport standing, in the world. To the winner go the broadcast spoils. All I can reply is, Go Raiders!
On Facebook a friend desperate for something has asked for someone to live stream a darts match at home. Replies varied from humorous, cynical and despairing. Though some people actually wondered what they could do. Which has me wondering. Is sport really postponed at all?
Sport as Invention?
While all competitions have been cancelled or postponed there could be new expressions of sport. I am reminded of Chevy Chase in Caddyshack 2. Chase’s character had deconstructed golf down to its bare essentials. Ball, club, hole.
Children are incredibly inventive and do not need to watch Caddyshack movies to make up new sports. Kick a can, new sport. Skip stones, new sport. Projectile vomit, new sport? Ok projectile vomiting is an infection risk as is spitting. Also do not try finding out who can pee the highest at the urinal. Just, don’t. Seriously, the splash back is NOT worth it.
For those who cannot go without something to watch, maybe past games? There is that documentary on the Australian Cricket team “The Test”. I have a copy of Japan’s Rugby World Cup win over South Africa in 2015. It still warms the heart watching the Cherry Blossom’s beat the Springboks. You may have a Grand Final or two to watch again in this period of isolation.
Rise to the Challenge.
Doing the rounds over on the social platforms has been that Issac Newton’s discoveries were made during quarantine. While this is true the challenge is there for those budding physicists. The challenge is there for those who require movement. Why not stop complaining and rise to the occasion.
Challenge is core to sport. To win and succeed at great odds. The whole nine yards and all of that. For those who play at an elite level to those like myself who play in local competitions. Our challenge is the same. How do we continue without loosing heart and gaining too many kilos?
Camping is not a sport. Though what people do while camping actually is a professional sport. Fishing, Swimming, Surfing, Rock climbing, Horse riding. For those who are able to live where they can do this safely go for it. I said safely! Not like Bondi Beach. Crowds are bad.
My parents were planning to go camping. In response my dad built something. While I was under the house sorting out my painting gear my Dad built a rocket stove. All it takes is loose bricks and some wood and you have a safe fully contained rocket stove. I wonder how fast Dad and I can build another one? Actually, how fast can you build one? Is this where sport begins?
The 2020 Rocket Stove Champions.
Last year I wrote about the ancient sports of the Basque, the Scotts and the Icelanders. They lift and carry stones. Weight, number of lifts and type of stone all factor into the sport. These are individual feats of strength and endurance.
The Basque origins are believed to be contests between people from different towns. I am sure it began something like this.
“We have a guy who can lift the stone twenty times.”
“Oh yeah!” replies guy from another town. “We have a guy who can lift it fifty times.”
This of course escalates and a match is held. While the competition is actually on some guy from the crowd steps out and says to his mate.
“Hold my beer!” He either hurts himself a lot or beats both the so called strong guys. Either is a fun moment.
I do hope that this article does not become the origins of the rocket stove championship. Personally I do not want to spend the next month live streaming my dad and I racing to build a rocket stove against all comers. No. Please no.
Sport is what we make it.
However for those who are becalmed in this time of isolation are there things you can do. Sport is not the big industry of professionals that we see on television. It is as simple as two kids kicking a can.
We get sport due to those two kids getting older and better at kicking. Like the Basque origin someone challenges another and it escalates. The origins of sport should draw us away from the consumerist entertainment we have been denied. People make things and do things. To do nothing is not a human pursuit. We create. And this is my advice. Make up something to do.
Phillip Hall has been too long in Melbourne to see AFL in the same light as those back in Fremantle. East Fremantle born and bred, he would love to see the Dockers back in the eight. But would settle for just beating West Coast twice a year.