Daily Archives: August 3, 2008

So Long Footy Club

Here in Gladstone there’s been a bit of drama with the sale of the local Leagues Club.  The club has shut down for the second (or third time), and the local footy fans are up in arms.  Why, they ask, aren’t the council, the State and Federal Grubbymints, the NRL, local industries, or for that matter, anybody at all, doing something about it?    


I don’t know, and personally, I don’t care if the club has folded.  There, I said it. 


Football is one of those sports we take our children to in order to learn more than the fundamentals of catching, passing, kicking and faking injuries to earn penalties.  We hope that they also learn teamwork, persistence, honesty, respect for rules, and how to win or lose with grace. 


Unfortunately what they also learn is how high they can pee up a toilet wall, how to mash an opponents face in a scrum (and get away with it), how to rub Dencorub all over the genitals of the teams’ worst player, how to avoid being the teams’ worst player, how to set a broken nose between tackles, how to find and replace teeth, and just how painful knee and shoulder reconstructions can be.


I used to like footy.  I really did.  Back when players were working full time, mostly as garbage men, meatworkers, or brickies, and would have paid to play at regional or state level.  Back when we could all afford to buy a footy jersey to wear on weekends, when jerseys didn’t change colours with the seasons.  Back when clubs were run by red faced, flat nosed men with beefy forearms who genuinely loved the game and the people who played it.  Men who gave nearly every spare hour to the club, fund raising, mowing, painting, coaching or talking crap over the bar that they helped build.  Those big hearted, idealistic, people who then handed everything over to ‘proper managers’ in order to take the club to the next level.   The poor dumb bastards.       


Clubs today are no longer about heart, ticker, and blood.  Clubs are money spinners for the big end players in town.  Players are a commodity to be bought and sold at will, and fans are merely cows to be milked at every opportunity.  The days of footy being the “Workers Game” are well and truly over when a pie and a beer will leave you clutching a small amount of silver change from a twenty dollar note.  Clubs that don’t make money close down and that’s the rules, the man in white is always right, and no amount of appealing is going to change his mind. 


All of you good hearted people writing to the paper, and politicians at every level, should know that once the whistle blows there’s no going back.  Like it or not, the game is over.  Now it’s time to lick your wounds, work out what went wrong, and who wasn’t up to scratch on the day, then train like buggery to make sure you don’t repeat the same mistakes again. 


And remember, there’s always next week… unless the season is over.  And for now it is. 



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Welcome to Gb’s Blog


It’s taken some time and mucking around, but I’ve finally set up a blog for those of you interested in finding out what we’re up to here in Gladstone.  Drop me a line and say “Hello” if you can work it out. 

With a bit of luck I’ll be able to post some photos… no promises though!




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Night Trekking

Last month I got to step outside my fairly large comfort zone when I joined my neighbours for ‘a little stroll’ through the bush. 


They had signed up to do the Tambourine Kokoda Challenge, a gruelling event where several hundred folk try and get through approximately 90 klms of hilly (actually mountainous) scrub around Mount Tambourine in less than 30 hours. 


Ok, not my cup of tea as I’ve been a bit allergic to death marches since reading an account of the Burma Railway prisoners of WW2, but I was interested in some of the training walks they were doing, particularly trekking up the nearby Mt. Larcom. 


Larcom, or the Sleeping Giant as it is known locally, has unparallelled views of the region, and is fairly accessible to anyone who is moderately fit.  So, in a moment of wild enthusiasm I mentioned that I wouldn’t mind joining them for a stroll.


And not long afterwards I found myself standing on a dark track just after sunset staring at a long, winding, and mostly uphill trail.  It wasn’t Mt. Larcom, it was the fire trail that runs along the small range on Gladstone side of the Calliope River.  We would be trekking to the Devils Elbow, a well known fishing haunt on the river. 


I had some reservations, because we would be ‘strolling’ 10 klms tonight.  And while we were milling about waiting to start, my neighbour confided that several others had joined them for their training walks in the past months, but no-one had backed up for a second walk.  Okaaay, the first inklings of doubt started to circle in my mind like cawing vultures. 


I have to admit the team was well prepared, support crew, walking gear, protein bars, hiking sticks, and backpacks.  I turned up wearing some work pants, and carting my trusty walking stick, and ever present black work pack which contained my work water bottle, an orange and a banana.  Yep, I was ready for anything. 


I wasn’t too ready for the cracking pace that the leaders set at the start, particularly as we were headed mostly uphill.  About 20 mins into the walk, my lungs and legs were on fire as I rounded a bend and noted grimly that the track got steeper and more rock strewn, I thought, “We aren’t even halfway yet, and I’m going to die.” 


I didn’t.  The hill eventually came to an end, and the rest of the walk was almost a delight by comparison.  I haven’t walked 10 klms since I don’t know when, particularly not through the bush, in hilly country, particularly at night, but it really was delightful.  At times I found myself on my own, crunching along in my old sneakers over rough ground, and every now and then through the trees I could make out the lights of Gladstone in the distance.  I was surprised to find that I was actually enjoying myself.


I was able to chat with some of my fellow walkers as we paced along.  All of them were armed with Ipods, or MP3 players, and I discovered found that one of them, a nice old gentleman named Reg, was also a Jethro Tull fan,  and that one of the support team for the walkers was also a fan of ‘The Tull’ and had a fairly large collection.  So, now I know that there are three of us in the Gladstone area, which is a step up from a fan club of one.  You just never know do you…   


So, the walk ended after a couple of hours.  I was blister free, sweaty, and strangely elated.  Was I going to do the return walk with the team?  No, I wasn’t that keen, so I took some photos, and wished them well, and watched them walk back into the bush, their headlamps shining in the darkness, like a well lit procession of super fit ghosts. 


10 kilometres later




I returned home in an almost euphoric state of mind.  This time last year, I wouldn’t have agreed to join in something like this.  But, since I’ve given up drinking, I’m finding that I’m able to enjoy different experiences that get me out and about, and in the process, meeting some very nice people.  Some of them are Jethro Tull afficionado’s. 




I could almost see myself joining a bushwalking group… maybe! 


Cheers all,



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