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

Love more than life

Love more than life
Tears over rain
Laughter stronger than stress  –
the weaker strain

Smile brighter
Than eye’s refrain
Arms outstretched
To face the sun

Heart so sore –
Creates a shroud
What can I do –
Who can I hold –
Where can I stand
To void the cloud

When I see the tears that fall
I think I know her not at all
Yet when I feel her touch my hand
I feel us walking on the sand

A new brand – or old one re-jigged
Arm ‘round shoulder as we stand
See laughter, tears and smiles through

You are my boat –
And I your crew.

Forever in between

It matters not how hard or harrow
The hindrance that I hold
But how soft and purely supple
The helping hand I doth extol

The caressing care known as compassion
Opens the door to grace
Forever in between
Comparing looks upon the face

It matters not how rough the gaze
How tough the buccaneer
Believe him when he tells you;
Want for her when you doth hear

The sound of songbirds singing
a school chirping from the sky
Witness strength in one’s illusion –
The white breeze (or red?) will knoweth why

Flapping e’er so slightly
When care is on the rise
Deluding e’er so lightly
As the sun says his goodbye.

The hallowed vest

To reach toward the pyramid
Atop the burning light
E’er thrust and run and tally –
The trepid traveller’s flight

To be void of divinity –
Subtracted from the sun
Brightness dwindles as time allows
And peddles thoughts still young

Sounding like an orchestra –
The music sung by one
Though whispering – a baritone
Transcends the gathered throng

Who listen to the music
As if they hear Him still
Waiting the day the christened ground
Shares its ingress with some

Relieve one of their wherewithal
Comparison attests
The one atop the pyramid
Wears the hallowed vest.

Travails with a conscience

It came from far away

And nestled nearer home

All the while beside me

From birth to when I’d grown

 

My travails with a conscience lay

Still active – I had known

It came from far away –

Perched by my very own

 

And every time I saw her

She looked peaceful –

Like the sand

Reaching out from yonder

Saying; Come, now –

Hold my hand

 

Whenever I would touch her

She’d shiver – as if scared

I’d think, again, and wonder

Whether storm-clouds over there

 

Would rain on the parade

That had gathered, with the band

Yet my travails, with a conscience

Would reach out, and hold my hand

Please slow down

Sometimes we move so fast that life just can’t keep up with us. Always running, faster, harder, to get to that next meeting, that next doctor’s appointment, to be there for our loved ones or to pick our children up from school. When can we ever find the time to just slow down?

Recently I was in a town in Queensland, Australia, called Eumundi. The picture that you see with this publication was taken as I entered the town. The town itself was like returning to the 1950’s. I don’t say that in a bad way but rather an affectionate way, for I’d jump in the car to go to Eumundi again tomorrow – if only I could find the time.

Time. Have you ever tried taking your watch off and judging the time by the sun? In days gone by that’s exactly what people would do. The only clock was the one in the Town Centre on the Clocktower. Otherwise, the sun would tell those of yore that it was time. Even today, I’m sure some of those we hold dear judge time the very same way. Take my dog, for instance.

Needless to say she knows when it’s time for breakfast ‘cos the sun’s up. She knows it’s time for a walk ‘cos breakfast is over. She knows it’s lunch-time ‘cos the sun is strong, and the shade in the backyard has moved ever so slightly. And, most importantly, she knows when it’s dinner-time, for the sun is getting ready to set. As it falls dark she knows the day is over and it’s time to rest.

But we keep moving at a hundred miles an hour, failing to take in the beauty of the day, the sunset’s rich colour, and the bay of sparkling water with moored boats that we pass on our way home from work. When did we get ahead of ourselves?

Does it make you wonder how we ever survived without those gadgets we use to divert our attention from impending boredom? Do you ever stop to think we seem to be heading in the direction of ‘losing time’ for ‘sitting and thinking’, as rare as it might be, has taken over from, well, just ‘sitting’. So we turn to our gadget. Each and every day when I try and find the time for a bite to eat, I walk up the street and see people walking toward me, head down, hand around their gadget, checking their latest text message, or looking at their latest photo sent from a friend they used to catch up with most weekends at the bar but now – yes, you guessed it – just don’t seem to be able to find the time for.

One time it so happened I was in a Shopping Centre and the girl walking near me was walking toward a water fountain, her head down attending to her gadget. She kept walking far enough that she fell right into that water fountain, her dress soaking wet, and another shopper bringing her shoes to her that had been floating around the other side. Luckily, no harm came to her that day. Nor did it come to the young man who tripped and fell on the sidewalk near the CBD because he was too busy texting to look up and face the day.

Every day I try and wake up, pull the curtains, look at the woman beside me, and then look out the window at the sun shining, as if to say; ‘Good morning’ and then I stare at the palm tree in the front yard and, to use a colloquial expression, thank my lucky stars for being a part of the day that lies ahead of me.

After all, we love our kids, we love our town – let’s slow down.

NB: First published on https://mytrendingstories.com/admin/publications/article/26423/ 

the path less travelled…

He rose above the helpless throng
He was only one among a crowd
He heard a calling, 'twas a song
Timely, he could not disregard

You've come to me for rationale
You've come to me for saviour
No-one else can take the stand
You've come to me, the one you favour

The steps on which we stagger
From one level to the next
Like climbing up the corporate ladder
Feeling e'er, between, betwixt

The next step up he could not see
The frond led him to the money tree
Ladder of wealth, mendacity
The pathway opened unto me

Who and what and where we were
Why and how we hit upon
Invited, I failed to confer
I took the path less travelled on

Night-time

Night-time wouldn’t show itself

Until Sunshine moved away

Like a road-way that disappears in flood

Like a child who will stray

 

Night-time hid away God knows where

Like a sock hides in a shoe

Not wanting to come out and play

Like when I played hide and seek with you

 

The pages turned as Sunshine faded

Sunset became the star

New chapter aglow, best time of day

People came from near and far

 

To hear and see the sweetness, cheer

Sunset brought to all

Listening for the climax

That would entice, enthrall

 

Sunset’s colours made the day

Surely to behold

Night-time felt alone, left out

Dark, upset, anxious, lonely, old.

Black -the symbol of grief

A sense of losing what, once, was held so dear: what, once, was held so close to the heart. Oh, how to live, to begin again: to start to feel life hasn’t ended yet?

But how to leave this path of loneliness? How to see a bright light shining through? How can one love again after such a loss: how can one put aside the memory of you?

Yet memories need not be e’er forgotten: they are as much a part of our soul as of our heart. Without cherished memories, what is life to us but an empty, shallow chasm filled with dust?

Happy New Year!

A bit late, I know – but better late than never, as they say.

I hope you all had a good break over the Christmas (okay, the ‘holiday’) period and didn’t overdo it on New Year’s Eve. I happen to come from the best harbour the world can offer and every year it makes the top city list for NYE fireworks. Google ‘Sydney New Year’s’ and you’ll see what I mean.

I went to a little town called Eumundi just before Christmas to talk poetry and came across a couple of people I’ll remember always. A little ten year-old girl named ‘Charlotte’ came up to me with my book, ‘Prism’ and said:

“Can you sign this for me please?”

She was on holidays and told me she’s taught poetry at school. I was so pleased! I didn’t know they still taught poetry at school. There’s hope for us literati-types after all.

Soon after, an attractive young woman named ‘Nicole’ came over to me and said she was looking for the poetry workshop. We had a chat about verse and lyrics, poetry and song-writing for about an hour. Out came her notebook and, with pen at the ready, she started writing. I hope she got something out of our little chat. “Vibrant,” she called it.

And so here I am – back on WordPress after a family break and another wonderfully merry Christmas.

Welcome to you all! I hope 2017 is full of well-written fables and famous phrases.