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Tag Archives: James Hird

Anzac Day – time to pass it on?

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A much much younger James Hird on the big stage...

A much much younger James Hird on the big stage…

It’s hard to believe that it was 18 years ago that I traveled to the MCG to see the Bombers take on the Pies on Anzac Day, completely unaware of the history that was about to unfold.

I remember it being a bright, warm day, and the regular amount of seats left unattended or covered in bags and jackets quickly being removed an hour or so before the game for the masses of patrons that were streaming in.

The ground felt fuller and fuller, and as a fan, you always want that. Big crowds mean a bigger atmosphere. Big atmospheres lead to great games and memorable moments.

Then word filtered through.

The gates have been shut. This place is full.

Anzac Day full MCG

History in the making

We weren’t to know then that the epic draw that played itself out that bright, sunny day would initiate of the game’s great traditions.

Two of the biggest teams in the country, in terms of followers and premierships have been going at it for 18 years straight now. As a fan, and as a fan who has attended a lot of these games, it’s the biggest regular season game by far.

Firstly, it’s Collingwood. Enough said. You want to beat them. You want their fans to go home disappointed. If you could be guaranteed one home and away victory, this would be it, no questions asked. Read the rest of this entry


Losing. In more ways than one.

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NBA Jerry Buss passes

I was initially going to write today’s piece on sporting legends. Some of them have been in the news recently; those you truly appreciate, eg Michael Jordan, or because of the sport they’re involved in, you know of them, but never quite gravitate towards their greatness, admiring it from afar … think Black Caviar.

However, LA Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss passed away overnight, leaving a gaping hole in the NBA landscape and a Russian meteor sized crevasse in the heart and soul of a team I truly love.

Coinciding with James Hird’s role or complete negligence in his lack of a role in the Bombers’ drugs debacle, the figurehead of the other team I love may also be on his way out.

Losing people who define your team is jarring and there is a great fear in the future. So the legends can wait for now, as we need a little back story. Read the rest of this entry

Your year without sport?!

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No sport

How drugs, power and greed could mean a(nother) year without sport for your footy team

If you had asked me three weeks ago what a peptide was, my answer would have meshed around somewhere between a pop tart and something oceanic. Now, I know far too much.

For those in a cave these last couple of weeks or (somewhat rightly) waiting until it stops being 30 degrees before you start following our great winter game, AFL, what has transpired is the bottom falling out on one of the great football clubs, culminating in, as one friend termed it, ‘the biggest week in Australian sports history’.

The Essendon Football Club can no longer guarantee its players that substances taken orally or administered via injection last season were legal. Basically, players may have been doped without their consent.

There are others clubs under investigation, one unnamed player certainly targeted for cheating that will raise headlines soon enough, a global soccer match fixing scandal that involves my home team, and oh, the Aussies won 5-0 against a powerhouse West Indies team. Forget that last part, no one cared about the cricket this summer once the South Africans went home. Thanks for nothing, ACB.

Bombers officials and coach James Hird face the music. The looks on the faces say it all...

Bombers officials and coach James Hird face the music. The looks on their faces say it all…

Getting a grip

It’s difficult right now, as a Bombers fan, to get a grasp on what I’m feeling. Read the rest of this entry

It’s Grand Final time!

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Before I begin, kudos to Jobe Watson on winning the Brownlow Medal. What he has had to go through to mould himself into one of the best players in the game deserves significant accolades.

The pressure of being the son of Essendon legend Timmy Watson, who is revered by all of us at Bomberland, is nothing to scoff at. He started too soon, was out of his depth and lacked the prerequisite work ethic to make it. Well, the dedication came, and his extraction abilities in packs and his disposal by hand were exquisite.

Problem was, he couldn’t kick.

Taking that weakness and making it into a strength – look at his goal kicking this year – and taking on the captaincy are no small feats.

Those my age or younger will only remember Gavin Wanganeen and Hirdy as our previous winners. None of us will begrudge welcoming Watson into the fold alongside those celebrated Bomber players.

In a nice touch, I was born in 1976 – the last time we had a Brownlow medallist before then – Graham Moss. My son now shares the same story…


I came pretty close to missing two Grand Finals in a row. Last year, I was overseas and in the middle of the year without sport.

I was never going to ‘sneak a peek’ at the big game and took some solace in partying in Lisbon, Portugal. Fortunately for me, last year’s final ended up being a rubbish game and a really unlikeable team won… What? Oh that’s right, it was a freaking epic and the hated Pies lost to the most popular team of the last decade. My bad.

This year, though, I was primed to take in the second half of the season and the Finals campaign. My Bombers were up and about when May 24 came around (unlike my Lakers, who were knocked out of the playoffs two days before the end of the YWS) and there were signs that the top teams weren’t unbeatable. I was watching only one game per round and keeping things in moderation…

And then the wheels came off. Read the rest of this entry

Finishing well

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I’m a big believer in finishing well. In all areas of life. Well, maybe not break-ups. They always went poorly! But as a teacher, my most concerted efforts come in the 4th term, striving to ensure that every student gets the most out of the year and leaves with fond memories.

In the sporting realm, I love when athletes leave when they still have something in the tank, but know that their best is long behind them.

Shane Crawford struggled all 2008 in the AFL for fitness and form. A Brownlow medallist and for a long period of time their standout performer, a sad ending beckoned. Yet he found health and the footy just in time to come off the bench in the ’08 Grand Final, playing amazingly well as the Hawks did the unthinkable against the Cats.

Soon after, amidst the euphoria, he announced his intention to return for another season. Uh oh. Surely he saw the writing on the wall… This would colour how we’d remember him as a player, like far too many before him. Yet in a move away from the norm, Crawford shifted stances and hung up the boots at the perfect time, premiership medallion firmly in hand.

How could you begrudge this man his moment?! Well, unless you hate Hawthorn as much as I do…

I’m proud of the fact that James Hird won Essendon’s 2007 Best and Fairest in his final season for an incredible 5th time, even garnering Brownlow votes in his final game. I love that Magic Johnson had 20 assists in his final NBA Game, in the Finals against Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, no less. (Twenty assists!?What more could he do?!)

Enter Entourage, yet again!

Mrs YWS and I watched the final series of Entourage over the weekend. Even as the series began, there was a freshness in the script writing complete with more poignant, compelling storytelling.

I can’t think of too many shows that ended well. Friends. X Files. Seinfeld maybe. That’s about it. Part of my frustration with the current system is that shows will pick up second series and beyond if the ratings are there, regardless of the show’s premise. How many of us lasted until the end of Lost? Prison Break, anyone? We grind every ounce out of shows until their ratings fall through the floor, and then the networks unmercifully can them. End of story.

Being a character-driven TV watcher, I was so pleased that Entourage were able to round out the respective stories of each character. Vince. E and Sloane. Ari and his wife. Turtle and his money making. Drama’s career. E and Vince. Ari and ‘Lllllooooyyyddddd’. They tied up the loose ends perfectly. (But yes, I’ll still go see the movie when they make it…)


I’ve gone back and forth in my mind countless times over whether or how to end this blog. Read the rest of this entry

A letter to the 15 year old me

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Dear 15 year old Pete,

You won’t be surprised to know that sport, which has been a big part of your life, will continue to be so for the next 20 years.

You know those days when you used to spend hours upon hours playing cricket in the street and shooting hoops with our next door neighbours? Of course you do. Well, no surprise, but they will always provide your fondest memories of you actually playing a sport. No matter what unbelievable sporting moments arise in your future, and there’ll be a few, those epic shooting games and endless summer hours of cricket at Telopea Avenue will not be beaten. Ever.

And by the way, you won’t ever top the 125 and 144 back-to-back street centuries you made as a 12 year old, though an 83 you’ll make for the Nunawading Churches of Christ Cricket Club 3’s as an adult will be a pretty handy knock.

In a year or so, you are going to damage a finger in your left hand. Badly. It will need surgery. When the operation is completed and the pins are inserted and the surgeon tells you to go home but to take a couple of Panadol if you experience any pain, refuse to leave. Stay the night. And punch the surgeon in the face. Hard. Read the rest of this entry

The significance of the Anzac Day game

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Ever been a part of something special but not quite understood the immensity of what was transpiring?

17 years ago, I went to the MCG for ‘just another game of footy’ between Essendon and Collingwood. It took a little while to recognise that this was no ordinary day at the G.

Fortunately, I’m an early arrival at the footy, if the tickets aren’t pre-purchased. It’s good to get there early and sit in your favourite area. For me, it’s the top level of the Great Southern Stand, behind the goals. See the game from above, see the goals, see Matty Lloyd; you can’t lose!


So, I was oblivious to the impending pandemonium that was descending downstairs as thousands upon thousands of people attempted to gain entry. When Collingwood coach Leigh Matthews arrived at 12.30pm, there were so many people milling outside the ground, he thought the gates hadn’t yet been opened. The only sign of this high in the stands was that the usual spreading out of fans’ belongings and bags was curtailed as officials directed entrants to ev-ery available seat. Things were tight!

Big crowd, big day

It’s fantastic when you are at a game early and you know that a big crowd is present. The general public seating bays are full and there’s a non-stop, anticipatory buzz around the ground.

As the sun streamed down, word quickly spread through the crowd as the radio stations announced a lockout at 1.30pm, a full 40 minutes before bouncedown. There were still 20,000 people outside! Mounted police were called in to disperse them. So by now, some sense of deductive reasoning would lead you to conclude that a significant day was in the making. Read the rest of this entry