This post has nothing to do with an exam about ANZAC Day. Neither does my “last post”. This post refers to a game where people try to place a ball under posts and then kick the ball through the posts. Rugby League, not union.
Looking ahead through our JSchool schedule I noted we must write a report on the first State of Origin game in the not-so-distant future. My interest in sports writing is like the interest in a Japanese personal-savings account- pretty close to zilch. But, I am always willing to step outside my comfort zone providing I don’t cause too much carnage in the process.
So when I saw there was an international- Australia versus New Zealand- rugby league game on tonight I decided to watch it and take real-time notes on my lap top. I could have posted live, but I didn’t give anybody any advance warning, so I wouldn’t have had an audience. In journalism an audience is pretty important- or so Desley tells me. No audience is bad, but to know your audience is good. You work that one out.
Our rooftop antenna was only replaced a couple of days ago and we now enjoy a crystal-clear picture on all standard definition digital channels. So I was getting pretty good pictures of some large men running around the field in green and gold, and other equally- if not larger- men in black and white. I know the latter are New Zealanders but looking at them I’d swear that they were Malaysian. And it’s not because I’m an ignorant excuse of a human being who cannot distinguish between Polynesians and South-East Asian. It’s because of the advertising on their uniforms- above the number on every New Zealander’s back read “Malaysia”. Under “Malaysia”, in smaller font, I believe it read “Airlines”. But this wasn’t visible to the naked eye. Anyway, I’m digressing. Or maybe I’m not. This whole post is just a running commentary on the notes I took during the game.
So, I’m watching the game and I hear the commentators start to promote some sports gambling business. “Hmm, that’s a little odd,” I thought to myself. Then one of the commentators reminded punters to “bet responsibly” with the kind of sincerity you’d get from a Vegas celebrant (no offence intended). It didn’t sound very convincing.
Channel Nine have put a lot of thought into introducing the players. I remember the old days where you’d see a list of players and their numbers. If you were lucky you might see a stylised team logo. But these days are much different. It looks as if somebody is directing the players with the following directions: “Okay mister, look at the camera really seriously, okay, now on the count of three I want you to fold your arms, one, two, three. Hold it. And, good. That’s a wrap.” It is very well choreographed technically, but I’d like to see some more creativity. Maybe some sparkling teeth and a cheesy wink.
I thought I’d check Twitter to see if anyone was tweeting about the “test”. There were several tweets referring to an event I must have just missed. Channel Nine had apparently cut to the ads when some Aborigines were in the middle of a significant ceremony. There were several tweets about this matter. Tweeter @BundyBBear tweeted, “OMFG WIN TV Bundy (channel 9) just cut 2 n ad during the traditional ceremony opening Anzac test in Melbourne. Damn u jerry Harvey!”
The game still hadn’t started. It was raining and the crowd were in the $267m stadium in transparent plastic ponchos waiting for the game to kick off. There were fireworks on the field and the cameras were sprinkled with raindrops. I swore they were inside my television set. Before I had a chance to check I was being directed to stand for two national anthems. I remained seated. After an extremely passionate Haka the men spread all over the field ready to mash some heads in. I recognised one face on the field. It belonged to a player who went to the same school as me. I was good friends with his sister. Was I surprised that he was there representing his country? Not really. He’d always been exceptional at sports and showed a lot of promise from a very young age.
The game itself was still in limbo due to an electric truck that was bogged on the field. A crowd of people gathered around and eventually pushed it off. The crowd responded with thunderous applause and cheers.
Then the game started. I’m not going to refer to the game directly because you can get the story and stats online or in tomorrow’s paper. I’ll tell you a few things though. Firstly, I noticed that it’s no longer the Anzac Test, but the VB Test Match. That’s fair enough, and I can even accept the Channel Nine $1,000 Man-of-the-Match and the Powerade promotions staff handing out drinks to the players after the game. But I think it’s going a little far when halftime becomes Toyota Halftime. And when there are no longer highlights but instead we are offered Bundy Smooth Moves. Argh, I’m going to bed.