Article writing can be easy at times but sometimes things just don?t seem to fit. It?s like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Ideas come, ideas go. Circumstances change and sometimes you got to write from the heart.
I had an idea that I was going to pitch forward as an article for this match but a few recent events in my life have allowed me to take stock and reflect upon what Rugby League is and means to me.
A week or so ago I was awoken with the news that the beautiful five year old daughter Chloe, of my cousin Mark and his wife Catherine was rushed to hospital in a critical condition. She was diagnosed with viral meningitis and was up against the wall. She nearly lost the use of her legs. She was in intensive care for a while and things didn?t look too good.
I was over in Ireland visiting them last year and I got to know Chloe quite well. She is the sort of girl that lights up the room whenever she walks into it. To hear that she was fighting for her life really hit hard for me because I am really close to all my family. Seeing her not so long ago, healthy as an ox, full of life and not a care in the world was a complete shock to learn that she was in hospital. So I turned to the game of Rugby League for comfort.
Just talking about the game, watching it, reading about it, and now writing about it, helped me deal with what was happening to her. Being so close with my family, I could really feel for Mark and Catherine, as they were dealing with Chloe?s ill health at such an early stage of her life. Rugby League then became an avenue of comfort as well as the favourite thing on the box.
But it?s not just with Chloe that I have used the game as an escapism or comfort factor, it was when I was really young that I first turned to it to take my mind off certain things.
My parents moved the family up to the north of Queensland when I was very young. My older brother, Brian was thriving up there and he had the world at his feet. Suddenly everything changed. Brian lost his life in an accident at only 15 years old. Whilst I was young and impressionable, I knew what death meant and I knew he wasn?t coming back. At the time I wasn?t sure about what impact his death would have on my life. Over the years I would understand what that was, and just exactly what Rugby League did for me at that time in my life.
Growing up without a brother was tough, especially in a patriarchal town. Not having the influence and the guidance that only a big brother can provide. Rugby League came along and I got really engrossed in it. More so than many of my class mates at the time. I started to think about it all the time. And I wasn?t even that good a player at the time either. It became the surrogate brother, as I had no other male influence other than my father who was never the biggest sports fan. I would look to the game to take my mind off other things in my life that tended to get me down. And more often than not, it worked.
Even as I write this, my little dog, Maggs, passed away. His little heart just gave out after battling heart disease. Rest in peace my little buddy.
It seems hard to fathom Rugby League can mean so much, especially when someone says, ?it?s only a game?. But it's more than that. It?s a part of life. It?s a passion, it?s a love, it?s a symbol, and it?s a source of comfort
Now that I am older and wiser (well I would like to think so. Wiser that is, not older. Although I know that getting older is a part of life. I digress somewhat. Anyways, back to the point after the bracket), I am now realizing the impact Rugby League has had on my life. For not only has it provided many hours and weekends of entertainment, it has given solace, comfort and provided a welcome distraction to the darker times that I have experienced.