The religion of football

Religion comes in many forms – Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism – and then there is football. September is finals time for Australian Rules Football (AFL) and it is at this time of the year that this religion comes into its own, for it is a time all football fans celebrate the essence of togetherness, the discipline that football teaches.

AFL is followed by more fans than any other sport in Australia. It is the primary game we play in winter, and was originally derived by cricketers who wanted to play a sport that would keep them fit in the off-season. The people flocked to the game and it became the greatest of all spectator sports.

It attracted young men with a future that seemed all but lost before football came to town

Yet what type of spectator did this new-found game attract? It was the kind of game that gave young men a chance to pick themselves up from the ashes of unemployment and wealthy businessmen the ability to provide those young men with a future that seemed all but lost before football came to town.

It gave ordinary folk the chance to come to the game, sit in the pricey seats or stand in the standing-room only area, paying little to mix with those from a different background.

And there’s the rub.

AFL is a game that does not recognise colour or creed

AFL is a game, even today, especially today, that does not recognise colour or creed. It does not care whether you are black, brown, yellow or white. It has no concern whether you come from the rough  end of the sticks or the wealthy suburbs.

And neither do the spectators. With standing room a thing of the past, there is nothing left (other than the corporate boxes) to divide the rich from the poor. There is as much of a chance that the man or woman, adult or child, sitting next to you could be your best friend as they could a perfect stranger or an enemy in business, They may come from the other part of town, or a different town altogether. They could as well be a merchant banker as they could a carpenter, a retailer or a teacher. The child sitting in front of you could as well be educated in the public school system as he could the most toffee-nosed private school in suburban Melbourne.

These players have names like Christian Petracca, Travis Varcoe, Lin Jong, Mason Cox and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. They come from many and varied backgrounds, like the spectators watching their every move

Looking out to the field, the 100,000 fans see the players, running up and down, kicking and chasing, hand-passing and following, marking and celebrating a goal. These players have names like Christian Petracca, Travis Varcoe, Lin Jong, Mason Cox and Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. They come from many and varied backgrounds, like the spectators watching their every move.

Petracca’s heritage is Italian, Varcoe Indigenous Australian, Jong is part Taiwanese, part Timorese, Cox comes from the Unites States and McDonald-Tipungwuti is a Tiwi Islander. Yet they are all footballers, accepted and celebrated for their talent, ability and prowess.

The fans ring out a cheer. Their fanaticism for their team is exhilarating

The fans ring out a cheer. Their fanaticism for their team is exhilarating. They are what makes the game great. Instances abound of a full house of fans, standing, to respect a minutes silence for the fallen on ANZAC Day. Or for the national anthem. No-one kneels at the stadium that is the AFL.

Togetherness, understanding, tolerance, sportsmanship

Togetherness, understanding, tolerance, sportsmanship. This is what we worship in September.

May it always be thus.

 

NB: Go to AFL.com.au for more information on the beauty that is Australian Rules Football

Finals football at the ‘G’

The ‘G’. The ground that draws a crowd.

This is the time of the year when everyone’s attention turns to football – in Australia at least. In the US they broadcast the game we love and created at 3am when you are all in  bed sound asleep but there are a few of you I know who are ardent followers of our great game.

Australian Rules Football (AFL) started as a sideshow, for cricketers to play in the off-season to keep themselves fit for the summer. The game sprouted from its fledgling beginnings in and around the suburbs of Melbourne, our second largest city, and home of ‘Aussie Rules’.

To begin with there were two sides, one from Melbourne itself and another from a nearby town called Geelong. In those early days there was one thing that surprised more than anything else – the game’s popularity.

That was 1859.

This weekend, over 91,000 people turned out to watch those two clubs (Melbourne and Geelong) fight out a tough elimination final. The night before, over 91,000 people attended the other elimination final. The first time in the history of the game that over 90,000 people had attended finals matches back to back.

You have to experience the game to understand it and even then it’s best to throw the rule book away and simply watch the game that is the definition of entertainment with the pleasure and excitement it engenders in us all.

In the US, the Superbowl is played at various stadiums around the country. In Australia we play the Grand Final, as we call it, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) – note the connection to cricket here, each and every year.

Superbowl XIV attracted 103,985 people to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the highest ever attended Superbowl. The 1970 AFL/VFL Grand Final between Collingwood and Carlton holds the record for any sporting event in terms of crowd attendance held anywhere in Australia. Today, the ground holds an official capacity of 100,024, so it’s unlikely this record will ever be broken.

The game was played between two of the ‘heavy-hitters in AFL history and at half-time it saw Collingwood ahead by 42 points. Game over.

Not so fast.

Carlton came back to win by 10 points. As explained by Wikipedia

Late in the last quarter, with Carlton leading by less than a goal, Alex Jesaulenko snatched the ball on the half forward line and sent a left foot kick bouncing towards goal. With no one guarding the goals, the ball bounced through for a goal, sealing the game for Carlton, [who] completed a recovery, to triumph by 10 points, 17.9 (111) to 14.17 (101).

That day, the MCG attracted 121,696 banner-waving, crowd-pleasing, cheering fans.

The ground has only ever seen one event surpass this in terms of crowd attendance and that was for a 1959 evangelical tour by the late Billy Graham when more than 130,000 people turned out to listen to the crowd-pleasing evangelist . One fellow, quoted by the ABC, in an article on ABC.net.au who was there that day, says;

I felt God speaking to me

So it took God himself to surpass a record that will never be broken. Go figure!

To experience the excitement of the last four minutes of that game, go to YouTube

And to finish, I must include my own experiences at AFL Grand Finals, having been twice, the most recent attendance being in 2010, on 25th September, when I was one of the 100,016 people that saw Collingwood and St.Kilda play out…

a draw!

A week later I was in hospital when the two teams went round again for a replay of the Grand Final to finally try and split them apart. And split them apart they did, with Collingwood victorious on a day when I was only semi-conscious.

Ahh, what a great game it is. I hope you get to experience it some day and enjoy a spectacle that is beyond words.

wings of the dove…

The Commonwealth Games are almost upon us and my home town of the Gold Coast is having the Queen’s son, Prince Charles come visit for a while. He’ll be sure to want to visit rainforests and such but cyclones not far north may impede his trip somewhat. Only time, precious time, will tell.

In the meantime, Cobblestones and thatched roofs is a poem I dreamed up recently he might like. I include it here for your reading pleasure:-

More from Cosmofunnel:-

https://cosmofunnel.com/poems/cobblestone-and-thatched-roofs-141182

https://cosmofunnel.com/poems/my-kind-134662

https://cosmofunnel.com/poems/the-wings-of-the-dove-142236

https://cosmofunnel.com/poems/your-smell-131435

All the best to you all…

 

 

Cosmotic

Once again the weekend comes and I share my poetry with you here. Cosmofunnel has been a source of pleasure for me, having reached the heady heights of over 700 viewings on occasion (God knows how).

These four poems have been viewed and commented on by fewer people but amongst them is my favourite of all, ‘the bird with a whisper’. I hope you enjoy them as much as I took pleasure in writing them.

Remember when

https://cosmofunnel.com/poems/remember-when-130967

Come again

https://cosmofunnel.com/poems/come-again-131046

The bird with a whisper

https://cosmofunnel.com/poems/the-bird-with-a-whisper-131270

Your smell

https://cosmofunnel.com/poems/your-smell-131435

the funnel in the cosmo

Well, I’ve come out from under the shade of the tree. Now for Christmas, and my shopping basket is empty. Where to find those presents of value with a tad of gimmickry attached that friends and family will enjoy? Perhaps a book of poetry would do the trick, like Prism – an anthology – hmmm, now there’s a thought.

For the time being, go to cosmofunnel.com to find an assortment of poetry from an assortment of poets, including yours truly.

Click on the links shown below. I hope you enjoy!

Poem#1: the-sentinel-and-troubadour-

Poem#2: completely-

Poem#3: you-too- 

Poem#4: you-are-

Into the Cosmo

Cosmofunnel continues to surprise. There’s the good, the bad and the indifferent. Go check it out here at cosmofunnel.com and see what you think.

You might want to start with a few offerings from yours truly. For your reading pleasure (or pain), I list them here.

Go on, knock yourself out. Or better still, enjoy a moment of poetic pleasure.

Until next time…

Poem#1 – Lucky

cosmofunnel.com/poems/lucky

Poem#2 – Her hand

cosmofunnel.com/poems/her-hand

Poem#3 – Thoughts of love

cosmofunnel.com/poems/thoughts-of-love

 

More thoughts

So the same sex marriage saga is still going and I’m still shading under that tree I mentioned a fortnight ago. Needless to say it seems to have been over-ridden by a ‘dual citizenship’ saga of late. Our members of parliament have decided there’s no need to be an Australian citizen alone and have been found out to also be Kiwis, Poms, Italians, Canadians and other such citizenry.

The High Court has thrown some of them out of parliament altogether and given others a second chance. Funny how things work.

If you’re interested go here bbc.com and you’ll find out more.

For the poets among you, please find below a few more thoughts of mine I added to cosmofunnel.com for your added enjoyment.

What’s reflected from the mirror?

Cosmo1

I took a photo with a camera

Cosmo2

Have a great weekend!

O. 🙂

changing life’s meaning

Every time I find the meaning of life they change it.

That’s the title of Daniel Klein’s book, published a couple of years ago now but one I return to whenever I’m thinking too far ahead of the here and now.

You see, Klein believes that we should all be more like Snookers, his dog, that, sadly, is now only with us in memory alone. Snookers used to think about the present, not the past, and certainly not the future; a sure way to enjoy the happiness of life in all its forms, something the great philosopher, Epicurus, would be proud of, to be sure.

Epicurus is a good friend of Daniel Klein’s, Klein having written about him previously and enjoyed his philosophical aptitude over the years. His ‘brainy quotes’ have lasted since BC (Before Christ) and he is finding his way back into popularity once again. Why shouldn’t he? After all, Epicurus is the man who said;

Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.

‘Uhh’, I hear you say.

Worry not, dear friends. What Epicurus is really saying is be grateful for what you have now because it wasn’t long ago you never thought you’d get it. So don’t think about what the future holds for it might reduce the happiness to be found in the present.

Or, put another way;

Enough is never enough for the man for whom enough is too little

But that ‘brainy quote’ has a negative connotation to it and although it, too, comes from the lips of Epicurus, I’m sure even he would prefer the former to the latter.

I came across another quote this morning, from a different source altogether, my very own blog. It read;

Do we spend Life learning how to Live and the next life living the life we Learnt?

I can’t attribute this saying to anyone in particular, and certainly not Klein or Epicurus, yet I can’t take credit myself, either. Suffice to say, it has the ring of truth to it.

For the non-religious amongst us, it may be a hard ‘pill’ to swallow, but for the rest I’m sure there’s a sense of true belief in taking time to get it right just to know that this life is the dress rehearsal that gives us the chance in the second to right the wrongs we so effortlessly made in the first.

Yet for those of us that know where we are headed once we pass, (and it surely won’t be to the ingress through the pearly gates) I guess we better do as Daniel Klein, Epicurus, Snookers, and my own dog, Kahlua, would do; live life to the fullest, for we won’t see its like again.

Embrace the teachings of Epicurean thought; live modestly but well and tranquility will find you happy in the here and now. For the future comes upon us sooner than we think, and it will be the present, whilst the present as we knew it will be passed.

busy-ness

Been busy shading under a tree while this same-sex marriage survey blows over.

But in fact I’ve been trying my hand at greeting card writing. For those writers of you out there it might go against the grain, so to speak – probably flies in the face of what ‘real’ writing is all about.

See! I’m already using cliches – “go against the grain”, “flies in the face of”.

So be it – but if you’re writing a novel you might want to ‘steer clear’ of such lazy writing.

Maybe I should keep to poetry. For the reading pleasure of some, I’ve included a piece below, entitled ‘the symphony’

 

The Symphony

…then I heard a sound

Was it a harpsichord I heard

Or a piano, played to please

Accompanied by violin

With horse’s hair to serve as strings

And cello at an octave low

Than viola in the symphony

So that the music streams and flows

And leaves them with an inner glow

That lasts through courtship –

So that – when – asked to wed

She says; “Of course –

I love you more than you could know”

As the symphony strikes up a chord.

 

 

 

 

 

The rainbow nation

A different blog this weekend, folks.

As I assume most of you reading this are from outside of the great nation of Australia, I thought I’d tell you about the issue that seems to be taking over our TV screens, radio waves, newspapers, and, of course, social media.

It is same-sex marriage.

It seems a practical impossibility to have a mature debate about this issue. Currently, we are in the process of having the Australian Bureau of Statistics conduct a postal survey, whereby all registered voters receive a survey by mail (snail mail, that is) for them to vote ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ on whether they believe the Marriage Act should be changed to allow for same-sex marriage.

Let’s embrace all views with 

acceptance, tolerance and understanding

This is designed to give our politicians an indication as to whether the Australian people wish to introduce same-sex marriage into the community. Religious freedoms, legislation surrounding discrimination and how that is defined, and other related topics, have not, at this stage, been taken into account.

But the worst part about the debate is that it appears impossible for the media to report the news. Rather, they are centred on sensationalising (and, in some instances, falsifying) the truth. Go here  Fakenews to get a better idea of what I mean.

I only wonder whether Australia is mature enough to be having this debate here and now. Maybe it should have been put off until society at large can accept that different people have different ideas and beliefs. Those of you in America and elsewhere may not know that Cassie Jaye had major troubles when she came to Australia recently in getting a reasoned hearing from the media. This will tell you more about her experiences:- CassieJaye

And yet it appears there are moments that equate to a ‘coming-together’ of people, especially in times of crisis. Just look at the helping hand these people are giving each other in the course of Hurricane Harvey ahelpinghand.

And on the opposing end of the spectrum are violent protests. I’m not going to add a link here. There are too many to count and I’m sure you can find them for yourselves without any assistance from me.

I’m a big fan of peaceful protest – it’s one of our democratic rights. But in doing so, are adults adult enough to ensure protest does not turn violent?

Let’s embrace all views with acceptance, tolerance and understanding. Democracy was founded on the basis of freedom of thought. Let’s also honour the founders that worked hard to provide us with the open society we seem not to cherish.

We in the West would all be better off for it.