Sunday, September 20, 2009

Why Geelong Won't Win

Cameron Mooney was interviewed at the team recovery session following their convincing 12 goal win over Collingwood.  His interview gave some insight into the mindset of the Geelong camp, and in my opinion, showed why Geelong won't win the AFL premiership this season.

When asked, inevitably, about his feelings in the lead up to the grand final, whether the heartbreaking loss to Hawthorn had been spoken about... he denied it.  He pointed to an unspoken motivation in the dressing room, a slow burning desire to get revenge.  I think the loss to Hawthorn is the elephant in the room at Geelong, and is not just leading to the desire he talks about, but the fear that on one day, they can throw it all away.  There is that nagging feeling that the skills might desert him, that he won't 'execute' properly.  He doesn't have to look too far for the demons.  Of course, the replays of his extraordinary misses in the grand final are often dredged up, particularly the miss from 10 yards out at half time.  Even last week against Collingwood, the snap from a similar distance was shanked horribly wide.  Mooney said he would score 10 out of 10 in training.  Does he stop and think why he can't do it in a game?  I'd say part of the reason is that fear, the pressure, which causes the tightening of the kick.  I think the better strategy was for Geelong to speak about the the loss on the first day back, confronted the fears and doubts, and put it to rest as a group. 

The second cause for concern is that Mooney has been quoted as saying that Geelong have no chance of winning the flag if Brad Ottens does not play.  The problems with this statement are immense.  It implies that Geelong, a team with the game's most valuable player for three seasons running (Gary Ablett), one of the best defenders of all time (Matthew Scarlett), an amazing midfield and forward line that will see at least one star having to sit out.. such is their depth... this team, is reliant on one man, an injury prone ruckman just returning after a long spell out of the game.  It shows a lack of belief in the ability of the squad as a whole to achieve, and places a lot of pressure on one man.  What if he is shut down by the impressive St Kilda ruck?  What if he breaks down with injury?

The third worrying statement is that Mooney asks for a 'bit of luck' when questioned if Geelong can win.  It's the opposite sort of belief to what most successful sporting people profess.  Luck is something outside your control, and is something that is not stable (sometimes it is with you, sometimes against you).  Generally, successful sports people will blame bad luck for their failures, and attribute their successes to their skills and ability, which reinforces their self-belief and gives a greater chance for them to perform at their best.  By asking for luck to intervene, it's as if deep down, he is unsure if his and his team's ability is enough to carry them across the line.  

If Geelong won't win, the question is... will St Kilda win?


Congratulations to Jarryd Hayne, winner of the Dally M for the best player in rugby league.  His form has been sensational, ever since the State of Origin.  It is inspirational to see someone fulfil their potential, especially after last year where an incident in King's Cross and a few other indiscretions indicated he may be heading off course.  

The beauty of watching Hayne play is that he is in the 'zone'.  The way he plays is at one with the game, making the right decisions more often than not, reacting to the play quicker than the rest, anticipating and showing creativity.  He's also the quickest over the first few metres that I have seen, with just that first step, he's gone.  He really is one of the most elusive players in the game today.

And really, that's what the zone is as well.  You can't mention it, or start overthinking it.  You can't even really think about how you got into the zone.  All you can do is to try and keep doing the same things, and stay in the zone for as long as you can.  Once you start thinking too much about it, you leave the zone.  A bad example of this phenomenon is Mike Hussey, who was like Bradman once he came into the Australian cricket team but is now more like a mere mortal.  The thing with Hussey is that it is always hard to maintain a great start to a career, as bowlers and teams identify weaknesses and come up with strategies to counter their strengths.  

There are a few other feelings in life that are just as elusive.  Joy.  Once you try to think about why you are happy, what caused it, you lose the feeling.  Especially if you start worrying about how long you will be in that state for.

It's not just feelings that are elusive.  Try remembering a song.  You know you've heard it, and you try and look for the picture in your head, a lyric, something about it to bring it back.  Or even going back to feelings for one second, try remembering how your favourite songs sounded the first time you heard them?  How they were so amazing you could listen to them on repeat, and each time be astounded?

Where do these things live?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Roulette Wheel of Fortune

A friend of mine had to do a spot of baby sitting on the weekend.  At first she loved it!  Adorable kid.  Kids are so cute.  This was a month ago.  She's babysitting for her boyfriend's sister.  

Now, the feeling isn't so great.  The baby is about 6 months old, it can't talk.  It can still make a hell of a lot of noise.  The baby was fine in the cafe, fine at the shops.  When it comes to loading the baby back in the 4WD, the crying starts.  It doesn't stop.  And the guessing game begins about what could be wrong with the baby.  

Maybe the baby is hungry?  Give it something to eat.  It is quiet while it eats.  Ahh success.  Then as soon as it finishes, it starts crying again.  Maybe it needs a nappy change?  Nope.  Same story.

I have to say, it's a pretty frustrating experience not being able to know what someone else wants.  Actually, I find myself thinking I'm not too different from this baby.  I often wake up, and there's a vague feeling of dissatisfaction.  Square peg, round hole.  I almost need to spin the roulette wheel of fortune.  Maybe I'm hungry, maybe i'm thirst, maybe i'm bored, maybe i'm tired, maybe i'm sober, maybe i'm hungover... How to fix it?  Sleep more, more sunshine, change jobs, take a holiday.

The baby couldn't talk and express its feelings.  I can talk but I still haven't found the right words to describe this feeling.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Beer Cows

Apparently, there are cows that are fed purely on beer.  This is what is wagyu beef.  Is it animal cruelty?  Probably not.  It seems like getting high is pretty natural in the animal kingdom.  Dogs often lick toads to get high.  

Sometimes, the drug-human-animal relationship goes in different ways.  For instance, some Arab tribes in Sudan use the liver and bone marrow of giraffes to make a drink called umm nyolokh.  This drink will make you have dreams of giraffes.

Other times, we are the drug.  Reindeers in Siberia are sometimes given human piss to drink.  This makes the reindeer think they are strong and invincible.  The reindeer often get so drunk they start moaning loudly around the tents of the Siberians, begging for more piss.  And when some gets spilled onto the snow, they fight furiously for it.

Back to the wagyu beef, can anyone tell the difference?  Does it matter what kind of beer they drink?  I'd hope that there will soon be premium wagyu beef that was fed you know, premium beer.  Maybe there will be blonde wagyu beef.  I'd be more in favour of bourbon wagyu beef.  The other thing that I don't get about the wagyu beef is that, as I'm informed by the Germans I'm researching with, the cows get massaged.   Why do cows need to get massaged?  I think getting drunk is good enough!  Maybe the massage makes it really tender.  Maybe cows end up in Kings Cross when they drink beer.  Maybe cows massage each other cos they get lovey-dovey when drunk.  

I had wagyu beef shin the other day, made penang curry style.  It was pretty good.


What sense could you live without?  And by sense, I mean you get rid of the whole body part... so it would be eyes, ears, nose, hands, feet, or mouth.

For me, I'd probably have to answer by a process of elimination.  The one sense I couldn't get rid of is my feet.  Maybe they aren't a sense, let's just say they are though.  If I could never play soccer, I think life wouldn't be worth it.  I think being a coach would just be too frustrating if I couldn't get that feeling of ball at feet, striking the perfect pass, scoring a goal.

The next that I definitely couldn't get rid of is my ears.  I have listened to some fantastic music in my life, but I couldn't bear to miss out on the new sounds.  Visuals can't describe music, and sometimes it is pretty hard to imagine.  Also, I would never want to miss out on the radio cricket commentary, which is far superior to the television coverage.  The way they describe things, it lends itself to imagine... and it's more beautiful using their words to paint the picture in your mind than actually watching it on tv and having to listen to Nasser Hussain and Ian Botham bumble on.

Hands are pretty important too, I think.  Everyone loves a good high five.  Handshakes are great.  You probably couldn't use computers that easily without hands.  And what about taking throw ins?  

It's just between the eyes and the nose for me.  It's tough.  I feel like I've seen a lot.  And sometimes, it's better off just imaging things without actually seeing them.  People look a lot better with sunglasses on.   

The nose, though.  Most of the time when you smell things, it's a bit indifferent.  I can't really smell that much, I don't try to breathe too deeply.  The nose is just so central to the face.  I don't know how the face would look without a nose.  So really, it's just a flip of the coin between eyes and nose for me.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pushing buttons

I try not to waste energy sometimes.  So, sometimes, when I'm walking along the road, and waiting at the lights to cross, I won't push the button if I see another person waiting there.  It makes me wonder though, do other people think like me?  Is there someone out there who will wait at the crossing and not push the button at all... without considering if someone else pushed it?  I came across someone like that the other day, we got to the lights at the same time, neither of us pushed it.  A stalemate.

So I guess I now wait to see if someone on my side or on the other side pushes the button.  Of course, if I arrive late and there are heaps of people there, I just assume that someone has pushed the button.  Unless I have a pretty good reason to think that the other person has pushed the button.  Some people just look like the type that push buttons.  People who are kind of fidgety.  

The other day, the person across the road from me was a blind person.  I was kind of stumped, because I wasn't paying attention and didn't see if she'd pushed the button.  If the blind person is thinking like me, there's no way she would know if I've pushed the button, right?  So she'd have to push it all the time, unless she was really sure that someone pushed it... probably someone close to her.  

Then I was thinking, wouldn't it be really hard for her to push the button? Does the dog push the button?  If the dog pushes the button, does the dog also wait to see if someone else has pushed the button?

I guess, sometimes it's just the illusion of control.  Does it really matter if anyone pushes the button on busy city roads?  I think they just work automatically.  I used to think that the pedestrian crossing calculated how many people there were by the button pushes, but I'm fairly convinced that's wrong now.

Of course, there are some people who don't even bother to push the button at all.  I think jaywalkers kind of have that attitude of being smarter than the pedestrian crossing system.  That's fine to have, but most of them stuff up a lot of the time, like they don't look properly, or they forget that there are other lanes of traffic turning in.  

Then again, you can't really have your trust in the green man, he's not that smart either.  Sometimes he tells you to walk, but he's also letting the cars turn left.  It's all just quite a bit of effort sometimes.