Why Origin matters:

Last night was Origin 1 and NSW won and that is bloody great. This morning I walked my dog listening to Triple J and both presenters were talking about Origin despite having no clue what actually went on during the match. My seven and nine year old kids sat with me through the first half and we called my mum and dad in Queensland three times and chanted NEW SOUTH WALES four times before hanging up. We thought it was hilarious. This morning I went to pick up some mail from the Post Office and four blokes were analysing the games of Pearce and Maloney – happy with Maloney, not so with Pearce. One asked “What happened to Cherry-Evans?” Good question I thought – except he’s a Queenslander.

I texted a client this morning who’s from Melbourne but works with Vic Bitter and he got to visit the rooms to have a beer with our mighty Blues after the match. He was pumped. And he’s a died in the wool AFL bloke.

You see Origin matters. Cos it brings us together. Big events matter, they bind us as a society, they give us something to share at the bar, the water cooler, the ground, the post office. They make us feel part of a REAL community. That’s why I hate people who hate sport. They don’t get it, and its their bloody loss. I have hugged a hundred strangers at sporting events – I have cheered and screamed and high-fived the bloke next to me when our team has scored. My wife has wept when the Wallabies got beaten by the English in Marseilles in 2007. We had arrived in France two days before, we were staying a month, and she just couldn’t figure it all out “This just wasn’t meant to happen” she wept. I responded with the biggest lie of our marriage: “It doesn’t really matter – its just sport”.

I lied.

As it happens I own a small percentage of a couple of slow racehorses. And I love it. I will never get a dollar return on them and I know I am lucky to be able to afford it, but what I LOVE is that it keeps a group of mates together, in contact, when our lives are all busy and complicated and all over the shop . . .but Cheeky Rozay gives us a reason to call, to laugh, to catch up, to hang a bit of shit on each other. Every time I get off a call about the horse’s latest run I feel happy and connected.

Remember the Olympics? It was the Best of Times wasn’t it? And it was the spirit that people talk about, the fact we all shared something special.

Like today. I’m rapt that the Blues won, I’m even secretly happy that our captain stuck it right up to them, but mostly I’m happy because I feel like a member of a real society today. A society that shares and can come together for something as seemingly meaningless as a match of rugby league and get INVOLVED to the degree we do. I feel good. I hope you do too.

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