From the Grandstand by Col Hennessy

‘Have a Laugh’

Well, with these stressful days affecting everyone especially sports lovers, I thought I could recall some moments that might lighten the mood and bring a smile to your face.

I am indebted initially to Titus O’Reily who wrote a wonderful book called “A thoroughly unhelpful history of Australian Sport”. It was a Christmas present and I read it in just two days. He begins as I would like to start, with the key reasons why some people just don’t like sport. They include; they hate life, they are communist agents, they have a significant psychological disorder and either they were not loved as a child or they simply barrack for Manly.

I can remember from my playing days in the Riverina playing against a young Tommy Raudonikas who was then in the RAAF. He had a bit of a reputation as a firebrand even then, and our club had just started paying players and he was all over it (and us). It was before the era of 5 or 10 minute send offs so the referee bent the rules a bit and sent Tommy and one of our guys off for ten minutes to get medical attention. Years later I was not surprised to hear Tommy’s famous line to the Blues “Retaliate first”.

In an earlier era the famous Frank ‘Bumper’ Farrell was accused of biting off an opponents ear. It caused a big stir in society (‘Bumper did it’ was a famous bit of graffiti in downtown Sydney). At the tribunal hearing one lark stood up in all seriousness and said that Bumper could not have done it as his St. George opponent had cauliflower ears from all his scrummaging and Frank was not a vegetarian.

While umpiring cricket in Iluka a few years ago a noted big hitter (of goldilocks fame) was having a bit of trouble getting his eye in and was playing and missing most of the balls. His opponent in slips had a go at him  by saying “Mate, its red and its round”. Everyone laughed but next ball with a little more concentration the said player connected and it went for six into the trees at the northern end. He turned around to the smartie in slips and said “You know what it looks like, so go fetch”. Touché!

Of course we could write a column on nicknames that different sportsmen and women have had. One of my favourites is Aerosol for a player who continually sprays his drives all over the course and never in one direction.

Finally let me finish with another one of O’Reily’s quips. I was reminded of it when we had the opening of the new facilities at the Yamba complex. He listed the things you never hear said at a sporting stadium. I was thinking along the lines of “Gee, the ref had a good game today”. No, he chose instead “Gee, that’s pretty reasonable for a pie and chips”