Say It With a Hockey Calendar


[A random flick through the files kicked up some horse hockey written when I filled in for The Age’s ‘short sports bits’ column of yore, Sporting Life. It’s probably at least halfway idiotic, but I decided to trot it back out for an airing anyway.]


excerpts from: Sporting Life column,  9th November 2010



[Re match telecasts during Four Nations rugby league tournament]

Whether it was one’s hearing or a particularly flavour necessarily prevalent in rugby league commentary, familiar turns of phrase seemed to take an unlikely battering in the Four Nations matches on Saturday. A player was beset by a “triumvirant” of opponents, another was described as a “big, tall, ranging full back”, we were told a New Zealand player’s skills “really came to the floor”, and Benji Marshall was complimented on his “notchalance”. Well, as one on-field interviewer aptly summarised, “You drop the ball and things turn to custard.”



With the yuletide season approaching, Melbourne Victory player Archie Thompson’s book “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” may soon be hailed as the most confounding sport-related gift since the Australian hockey team once released a calendar of itself just prior to Fathers’ Day.

Thompson’s book is categorised on one bookseller’s website as “popular psychology”. Taken word by word, that description is arguably presumptuous and surprising, respectively.

Archie Thompson’s bid for Christmas publishing history puts us in some of the lesser known books on sporting themes, or authored by famous athletes listed below, many of which are completely exclusive to this column, in the sense of being entirely made up.

– “Mike Tyson’s Guide to Paintings of the Renaissance” – by Mike Tyson, with Michael Buffer

– “Great Eyebrows Don’t Just Happen – A Personal Grooming Guide by Bart Cummings”

– “Words of Mine That Kind of Rhyme, Man” – by Anthony Mundine and A Man

– “Parts of Speech over Time: An English Grammar at the End of the Day” – by David Beckham

–  “Ancient Architecture: Early Doors” – by David Beckham

– “Bank Interest Explained: Full Credit to ’Em” – by David Beckham

– “Public Speaking for Maximum Annoyance” – by Jason Akermanis, with technical advice from John Newman

– “Never Make Necklaces for Rugby League Players: A Guide to Succeeding in the Jewellery Business” – by Samuel L. Bronkowitz (with a foreword by Fatty Vautin)

– “A Little Drink with Teammates – What Could Possibly Go Wrong?”  – Great disaster anecdotes from the world of AFL and NRL, various authors.



1 – Although Australian and thus not a Native American, this former player could be referred to simply as “Sitting Member”.

2 – Australian tennis player whose surname could complete the made-up expression, “The row less…”

3 – His mouth falls somewhere between the moustache and the chin-chin

4 – Famous Aussie tennis surname, faster than a Walkman but slower than “The Running Man”.

5 – Australian father and son duo, inadvertently name-checked in the title of the AC/DC song, “Big Balls”.

6 – Despite surname, yet to be earmarked for a highly publicised fictitious death in a popular Australian TV drama.

7 – Argentine great, possibly referred to by certain Brummies as “Aston”.

8 – Former Aussie Wimbledon winner’s name describes something you’d probably never have done to country music legend Johnny.

9 – If her surname had only been Arena, maybe they would have named the entire Australian Open precinct after her instead of just part of it.

10 – In Brazil, some tennis fans might have objected to daylight saving, as it may have faded this player’s surname.

ANSWERS: [1 – John Alexander; 2 – Lew Hoad; 3 – John Newcombe; 4 – Hopman; 5 – Syd and Carsten Ball; 6 – Pat Rafter; 7 – Guillermo Vilas; 8 – Pat Cash; 9 – Margaret Court; 10 – Gustavo Kuerten]



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