From the Grandstand by Col Hennessy


Well, you cannot say that this column doesn’t expand your horizons when it comes to following some unusual sports. Only a year ago I told you about how alternate rounds of chess and boxing were a popular pastime in Europe. I love my chess but didn’t fancy going that extra step.

Today’s chapter is also about being a bit different. It concerns one of our medalists from the recent Olympics. Harry Garside won the bronze medal in his weight division and did it with class. He was clearly beaten in the final for the gold medal by the Cuban champion Andy Cruz who was in a league of his own. Young Harrison certainly can box as he won the gold medal in the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast in 2018.

As part of his preparation in recent years Harry decided to do some cross training which is nothing unusual in any sport. You will often see footballers using tennis balls or soccer balls to fine tune some particular skills. Harry is always up for something different and tried some ballet which ‘he fell in love with’. He said he will continue to explore that craft when he finishes boxing.

But wait there’s more! When he took off the gloves at the end of his bout it was a bit surprising to see that he had painted his fingernails in some glossy manner. There is still more. He did actually intend to wear a dress to the opening ceremony in Tokyo but thought it might get too many people offside. I can just imagine John Coates response.

Harry is a self-confessed ‘mummy’s boy’ but yet he is a plumber by trade so I wouldn’t be asking too many questions of him. In the fights he had, he was very combative and didn’t mind the tough stuff while earning the respect of all his opponents.

Harry certainly is different and makes no apologies for trying to ‘break the stereotype’. He certainly has done that. He likes to ‘think outside the box’ as evidenced by the fact that each month he tries to do something different that will challenge him and make him feel uncomfortable. So far this has included karaoke, going 48 hours without talking, public reading and maybe that’s how the ballet started.

A little bit of research showed me that in American there was a stage (gym) show called “The Art of Boxing; the sport of Ballet”. I’m not sure how successful it was but there were photos of cast members from the thighs down and the legs were impressive and hard to pick. Footwork, technique and coordination were common across the floor.

And finally for a hobby, Harry likes to volunteer. He currently works for the Reach Foundation which is based on AFL great Jim Stynes charity whose goal is to empower others (youth) to reach their potential. Well done, Harry.