Byron Bay Sevens just a joy to behold
IF you yearn for good old-fashioned entertainment on the sporting field you could do far, far worse than head to the Byron Bay Recreation ground last weekend.
We have been blessed in this region of late with some fur-lined, ocean-going, 24-karat golden sporting events and the Byron Sevens should stand proud among them.
In its 20th year and still organised by Stuey and Cath Mackell and Kevvie Maher, it was simply a joy to behold.
Not for the undoubted economic benefit of upwards of 400 players coming to town nor even the many bed nights gained in the region from the busloads of spectators who came to watch.
This was all good and should have the bean counters making hay for yet another year.
This was more about sport being played for sport's sake.
Sure there was a bit of cash on offer but that really wasn't the point.
It's all about fun as the 32 men's teams and 16 women's teams will surely attest.
I'm no real sevens fan (could it be something to do with my, ahem, sevens unfriendly body type, I wonder) but a bandwagon is a bandwagon and I really should hitch up to the one bound for Rio in 2016 where the sport will make its Olympic debut.
Take it for what it is rather than a bastardised version of the 15-man game - pure entertainment.
The ball is tossed from hand to hand with little respect for the nuances of the mother code.
Running is free and fast.
Mistakes are punished with tries and scrums are hardly ever reset!
It's Twenty20 cricket, World Series netball and the last 60 seconds of a basketball game rolled into one.
Be they player, spectator or organiser, they came with a smile and left with a wide grin.Hardly funny
THERE was a cautionary tale for budding ground announcers at the tournament. After a couple of X-Rat tries towards the end of the D division decider, the announcer declared, totally in jest (such was the atmosphere), that the Bay side were still ahead.
They weren't but evidently the team didn't realise. Awarded a penalty in the dying seconds, the Bay elected to do what Bob Dwyer was rumoured to have said within earshot of Her Majesty at the RWC 1991 final and 'kicked it to the s*#*house'!
The whistle sounded and, far from a Byron victory, it was 150 or so X-Rats who celebrated long and hard after shaking hands with a slightly miffed opposition.Second best
IMAGINE heading to Melbourne for the AFL grand final.
You've longed for the day, paid well in advance and have saved long and hard for some pocket money to get you through the weekend.
Outside the MCG with the milling, buzzing expectant throng, you squeeze through the turnstile and head to your seat.
Looking up at the giant scoreboard your enthusiasm turns to dismay as you see that the AFL's best will not actually be playing. No worries, the local VFL sides will play for their title instead!
Far-fetched? Not if you bought tickets to the A1GP on the Gold Coast this weekend, it's not! The A1 cars and equipment are locked away in an admittedly very large garage in the UK and the main fare will be served by the V8 Supercars which will run extra, shorter races to compensate.
The V8s seem about the only marque capable of waking your average motor sport fan these days.
Bathurst is an icon event with its red versus blue rivalry.
The former Indy, A1GP and even the Melbourne F1 extravaganza seem to have lost their lustre and their supporting governments considerable money and prestige.
Time for a re-evaluation, maybe?