As spectators, we often sit in judgment of elite sports people.
We critique their performances, particularly in pressure situations. When they miss an opportunity, we kick out the leg rest on the recliner, reach for the Corona (the Mexican ale) on the table, take a swig and mumble something like ‘my mother could have kicked that.’
Given my mother is in her 80s, it is doubtful she would get boot to ball, but that’s the point. It is about underlining, exaggerating the moment that has been lost.
Well this punter will never do that again; not in the very short term at least. And here’s why.
Today was a day off for the players and staff for the West Coast Eagles contingent in the Gold Coast hub. It is important to ensure people get the opportunity to focus on something other than the game itself.
Like any role in business life, balance is important.
So, given we are based at the Royal Pines Resort, why not bring the staff together for a round of golf? The players did it on Sunday, had a bit of fun and Dom Sheed, he of the famously accurate left boot, won the longest drive.
Now, there’s a man who can handle pressure. You’re trailing in a grand final by a few points with a few minutes remaining, 100,000 in the stadium, millions watching around the world. He takes a set shot from 45 metres, right on the boundary.
It’s the most revered kick in West Coast Eagles history; one of the annals of AFL history.
Whatever happens in the rest of his career, Sheed will always be remembered for that arrow which pierced the major opening to secure the 2018 premiership for the Eagles. He showed it was no fluke by matching it off the fifth tee.
Others sprayed balls into the water on the left, or into the trees on the right, but Dom was gun barrel straight. Again.
Anyway, today presented an opportunity for the coaches and staff to squeeze in nine holes in the early afternoon. Teams were selected and as one involved in team allotments, I selected well.
Senior coach Adam Simpson. A left-hander who can give it a whack. He’s no Bubba Watson or Phil Mickelson, but in our company he’s the equivalent. We had three players in our team, the other was Harry Garland, young West Australian of the year, who has done wonderful things raising money for a mate, Warwick Proudlove who was involved in a freak car accident a few years ago.
Harry has been the rock – although he swims much better than one – in the Swim for Proudie movement that has gained so much traction around the Rotto Swim in recent times. I’m in exalted company.
Simmo hammers a few drives down the middle, Harry knocks in a 30 metre putt on the seventh and we go to the ninth tee two-under par. We didn’t know it, but we lead the inaugural – and we trust only - Hub Cup.
Feeling good Simmo lets rip, but misses the fairway left. Harry miscues to the right. We’re in strife.
I settle over the ball, allow for my slice by aiming at the houses on the left and make decent contact. It’s not long, but it completes its circumnavigation and lands somewhere close to the middle.
We have about 160 metres to the green. We all botch the approach to varying degrees. The result – a bogey. Ahh well, at one under, we won’t win NAGA.
As teams come rolling back in around the practice green, it becomes evident we’re well in the hunt for the prize. It’s no AFL Premiership Cup, but hey there’s bragging rights.
We have the better of them all, but we know there’s a danger team, captained by Daniel Pratt. When he’s on, he can hit the white dimpled thing out of the sight. Probably the best player in the field.
He wanders back with his team, they’re minus one as well. It’s a play-off.
The ever-inventive Simmo, throws a tennis ball about 20 metres away. We will pitch for the spoils. Pratty goes first, fluffs his chip. It’s half way. With a little swagger in in my step, seven iron in hand ‘I got this.’
If only my mother had played that shot for me!