Forging a legend

Looking at the effect time has on something is a remarkable thing.

You could liken a fond memory to a bottle of wine. On the shelf, there?s very little that?s fascinating about it. But as time takes effect, in our minds the bottle becomes increasingly special; almost unique - despite the fact that it was originally just one of a bunch.

There?s another factor that determines the effect of time on a bottle of wine, and that is quality. A cheap four-dollar plonk is likely to be seen more as a relic over time. But the really good stuff takes a place in our minds and stands alone.

So before I run the risk of sounding like a compulsive alcoholic, I should mention that these qualities of a bottle of wine have a lot in common with moments in rugby league. Well, it?s more than just moments ? it is achievements, failures, individuals, controversies; it?s a myriad of things.

When something special comes along, it can be difficult to foresee where it will take place in our minds as time goes by. I mention all this because something is happening in rugby league that, with a little help from time, will become one of those extra special bottles of wine in the cellar.

Actually come to think of it, this particular bottle might be more suited up in the display room ? because it?s about something that came out of the cellar and into the big time. This bottle would be simply labeled ?North Queensland Cowboys ? Forging A Legend?.

All rugby league fans in this country knew that at one time or another North Queensland?s representation in the premiership would emerge from the bottom few positions on the ladder into something of competitiveness. But even though most described the club as a genuine ?sleeping giant?, who would have really imagined it stamping itself as virtual perennial favorite so quickly? What we are witnessing right now is a cornerstone in the history of the Cowboys. Players like Bowen, Thurston, Sing, Williams and O?Donnell are superstars of the game. But imagine what kind of effect time will have on these names, in particular to Cowboys fans of the future?

As seasons come and go, personnel change and players retire. The Cowboys have reached (or are very close to reaching) a plateau. The nature of sport suggests that eventually the Cowboys' success will diminish. This all happens over time, which then starts to have its effect on what we?re seeing now. New players introduced into the Cowboys side will be invariably compared to the current crop when wins don?t come. And as players come and go, if emerging talents fail to meet the lofty standards of today?s champions, the status of the heroes of today is heightened. Over time new fans will ask questions about the players of today and the legends will grow.

The bottle of wine that?s on the shelf right now is looking pretty difficult to top. Wait for time to have its impact. It will go from looking good to becoming outstanding, and eventually legendary. The future of the Cowboys will be pinned on our present. And as much as I can do to describe it, or you to imagine it, nobody will really know what kind of form this Cowboys legend will take on until time adds the finishing touches.

I think it?s an exciting thing to know that what we?re seeing will take on such a special form as time goes by. If you tell someone today that you saw the Cowboys play over the weekend, it?s not much more than an idle conversation starter. If you tell someone in twenty years time that you saw the Cowboys play in 2006, it will be taken with plenty of wow factor and might start a conversation about how great they were.

If you tell someone that you saw the Cowboys play in 2006 in fifty years, it will be something else altogether.

?I watched that Bowen fella do things on his feet that I?d never seen before or since,? you might say. ?Matt Sing was the strongest, fastest winger I can remember watching play ? he must have single-handedly held up 100 tries in his career,? you?ll add. ?Thurston could do things with the ball that would make the sternest opposition supporters just stand and applaud.?

Just imagine the legends you?ll see forged the next time you watch the Cowboys play.