Updated: Jul 19, 2020
In 2017, my wife and I travelled to Europe for 7 weeks, the dates and the itinerary of the trip were based around two things: Day 1 Tour De France and Wimbledon.
Cricket, AFL, Rugby League, Union, Football, Tennis, Golf, Netball – I’ve played them all and will watch anything on TV. I’ve coached/managed 47 sports teams and was for several years a Brisbane Racing Club member and had a small share in four different horses. It doesn’t matter what sport it is, I love it!
I am going to do this in two articles (because there's so bloody many!), but here are a couple of my greatest sporting moments that I've been lucky enough to see live!
Day 1 Centre Court Wimbledon
We had researched Wimbledon and rather than attempting to go into the lottery, we had planned the early start to wait in the queue. It was 4.36am, we (my wife and her good friend living in London) arrived on the Wimbledon grass with tickets 2065-2067 handed to us. We had a lovely picnic of croissants, fresh coffee, made friends with the posh uni students behind us (I even had a 7am champers with them) and I was interviewed by BBC radio to give an Aussie insight. We rejected being one of the last to get Showcourt 2 tickets as we were happy with general admission – we would watch Nick Kygrios on Showcourt 3 first, before wandering the backcourts where there were plenty of top 20 players on display. When we reached the ticket booth, sometime just before 10am, we were separated and my ticket instructor offered me the chance to purchase half price restricted view reserved Centre Court tickets – what was the catch? “There is a glass screen that you have to look through”. Sounds good I said and for only 10 pound extra, and still with the ability to roam the other courts I snapped up the tickets.
Like a kid in a candy store, @ The Championships, Wimbledon
We were on the news as we entered – literally the 2nd row of people going into Wimbledon meaning we got great seats to watch Nick Kyrgios. Unfortunately it wasn’t much of a match with the Aussie retiring hurt with a bad back. We had lunch then made our way to Centre Court for the first match of the day, last year's Mens champion and crowd favourite, Andy Murray. As I made our way to our seats, I saw the glass panel however it was not our seats that were restricted but the row behind us…wow could we get any luckier!
We watched Murray and Petra Kvitova both win before Stan “The Man” Wawrinka was upset in a thrilling four set match. The Pimms went down a treat while the strawberry and cream didn’t disappoint either. Kate Middleton and Camilla were in the royals box. Put simply Wimbledon was just like I imagined, ever since I was a little boy having late nights watching the greatest tennis event on earth.
Black Caviar winning the BTC Cup
I can still hear this pump up music of Muhammad Ali “The Champ is here”. Saturday May 14, 2011 was when the greatest sprinter of our lifetime and arguably, of all time, came to Queensland and showed us how good she was in the Sunshine State. I’d driven back to Brisbane the night before from my teaching position in Miles, and with my young member pass in hand arrived 15 minutes before the gates opened to a massive line which I avoided due to my express entry.
25 starts, 25 wins
I got a seat halfway up the grandstand, and with my visitors pass for my mate we guarded our seats all day. You could hear a pin drop and at the top of the straight, Hay List clicked clear and everyone held their breath, but she balanced up and let down to win easy. “Start 13, unlucky for some, but not this one” that was the call and it was the greatest thing I'd ever seen on the racetrack.
MCG Ashes Boxing Day test
I’ve always loved cricket and my favourite day of the year has always been the day after Christmas. As a kid there was new toys/sports gear to play with, plus heaps of left over food. As an adult the beers were ice cold and everyone seemed to be on holidays. A group of 15 us dressed up in horrible Hawaiian shirts and enjoyed the spoils of being in the sun, beers flowing as Australia took on their arch rivals. 26th December 2013, was the world record crowd for a test match at just under 90,000. The game was extremely boring – English limped to 6-226 at stumps on day one, before cheaply out the next day, and Australia didn’t do much better being 9-164 in return. Mitchell Johnson got everyone on their feet with a brutal 5-for, but it was the atmosphere of the ‘G’ that was electric. With the cricket a bit boring, the Melbourne heat made drinking a great priority. Unfortunately ‘fun’ doesn’t seem to be allowed by sporting venues too much anymore, anyone holding up 'the snake' of empty beer cups we had formed was removed late in the day. Great fun though and with 41-degree weather for day 3 we didn’t buy tickets for the G and instead, enjoyed the aircon of the Moonee Valley members. That day we saw an up and coming young stayer, and eventual 2015 Melbourne Cup winner, Prince of Penzance, win easily while Gary Lyon and Johnson skittled England for 179 and Australia chased down 231 easily on day 4.