As I’ve made clear more than once on this site, I’m a quiet sort of person. I don’t make a lot of noise and I tend not to go out a lot. I’m much more of a homebody. But every so often, it is nice to get out there. To go some place and feel like you’re a part of something – connected to something bigger than just yourself.
As a small and insignificant person – one of the great majority amongst us, it’s not always easy to find yourself in those kinds of moments. From my perspective, two of the major opportunities most of us get are sports and music.
I’ve had some great sporting experiences. Being Australian, they mainly revolve around football (Australian Rules of course) and cricket.
As a regular football watcher (there was a time when I went almost every week) I’ve been lucky enough to see many of the greats of the ’80s and ’90s live on the field. Names like Matthews and Brereton and Carey and Ablett might not mean much to non Aussies but are massive names down under. Of course, as a big time Collingwod supporter (go the Magpies), it’s been especially great to see close up the achievements of greats such as Picken, Moore, Daicos, Shaw, Brown and Buckley. And most exciting of all was getting the chance to attend the 1990 Grand Final (the Aussie Rules equivalent of the Super Bowl or FA Cup) and see the ‘pies break their 32 year premiership drought. The sound of the crowd was ear-splitting – I’ve never heard another noise like it. And I was sitting in perfect position to see Daicos thread his miracle goal from right on the boundary line – the score that opened the floodgates.
I’ve had many similar experiences watching the cricket. Having been a regular attender since the ’70s, I’ve had the chance to see many greats of Australian cricket including the Chappell brothers, Lillee and Thompson, Border, Boon, the Waugh twins and Ponting. And cricket being an international sport, I’ve seen many greats from other countries including Botham, Willis, Gower, Miandad, Gavaskar, Tendulkar and Hadlee. Not to mention many of the superstars from the mighty West Indies teams of the ’70s and ’80s like Lloyd, Richards, Greenidge, Haynes, Holding, Garner, Marshall and Ambrose – names to make any cricket lover salivate. I’ve attended many great days of test (international) cricket, but the highlight was surely Boxing Day in 1981, the day when Hughes took on the fearsome West Indies attack single handed and scored an unbeaten century, and then Lillee bowled Richards on the last ball of the day.
With music, I’ve also had some great experiences. Melbourne was a great music city in the ’80s and ’90s with many venues ranging from small pubs to big arenas. Over that time, I was lucky enough to see (and of course hear) life performances by many of the greatest Aussie artists, including The Black Sorrows, Hunters and Collectors, The Church, Hoodoo Gurus, You Am I and Crowded House – and several years ago I realised a longstanding ambition by attending a performance by the greatest Aussie band of all – Cold Chisel.
And not just Aussie acts. I’ve had the great fortune to attend concerts by many of my favourite international performers, including Pink Floyd, Eric Clapton, R.E.M. and Mark Knopfler. While being a big blues fan, some of my greatest concert experiences have been blues greats such as B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker.
No, there’s definitely nothing like being there. Nothing like reminiscing on great moments, whether in sport or music, and thinking I was there.
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