If State of Origin proves one thing, it’s that sport builds resilience, and that’s a good thing, although it didn’t feel that way about 10pm Wednesday night.
It might also suggest that sport is an inverted pyramid where the majority of Blues supporters are united in failure, but that might sound bitter and I’m not bitter.
I’m resilient, because what else are you gonna do after the greatest game of the Greatest Game Of All turned out simply not the best for disheartened New South Welsh people?
It’s certainly highligted the fact that when it comes to sport, a few get to win and the rest get to develop character, which in the greater scheme of things, doesn’t really matter, although it obviously stings because I’m still banging on about it.
Reflecting on the freshly crushed optimism of the Cockroaches, yet again, you have to applaud Queensland and marvel at the great theatre of sport and how fickle the finger of fate can be.
It reminded me of the exquisite cruelty Knights rookie Brock Lamb experienced last weekend with his shanked kick against the Bulldogs. He’d nearly steered his team to victory but bombed an in-goal grubber with a minute to go which enabled Canterbury to run the length of the field and go ahead. All seemed lost for Lamb but the great scriptwriters in the sky gave him a chance to redeem with a penalty after the bell.
Thoughts turned to Johnathan Thurston lining up a kick from the sideline with a broken shoulder to win the second State of Origin this year. So much at stake, so much pressure, and JT puts it over the black dot, later saying that when the opportunity came he was excited to deliver.
Lamb might have hoped for a similar fairytale but the scriptwriters had a second bitter twist in store.
He butchered the kick and the Knights lost leaving us all to reflect on what a character-building season it’s been.
And that’s no criticism of Lamb because he’s a good young player who’s kicked heaps of goals before and will kick more in the future. But resilience sprang to mind, because we all have these moment.
I was reminded of a D-grade basketball match way back when. I got fouled on full-time and had two free throws to win the match. My time to shine. Obviously not Origin, but it’s all relative.
The moment was not lost as I took up position at the stripe, telling myself I CAN DO THIS! The first shot, which would have won it, may have hit the ring. I can’t remember because it was forgettable. The second shot I’ll always remember because it was so forgettable.
It arced off the hand, curling in slow motion towards its destiny, like Icarus towards the sun, and with greatness beckoning, exploded like the Spaceship Challenger just short of the ring in a starburst of air-ball mediocrity.
On the spectrum of efforts cometh the moment it does not get much lower. Unless I someday throw two airballs in a game of some consequence.
Not to worry, though, because it’s how you react that matters most and I think I quietly groaned for an hour or so afterwards and even now shake my head. Indeed, it’s possible that air ball gave me a twitch. But life goes on and you console yourself that at least you put yourself in a position to blow your chance to be a hero.
That’s how I’m rationalising State of Origin this year, again – another character-building opportunity to build reslience as we move ever forwards in hope.