You know the one: "We played well, we had fun, we didn't win a grand final, but we did drink beer and play hockey". It all gets printed out and put in a cute little booklet on the tables at the End of Year black tie event where we all get trophies and try our damnedest to get barred from another function venue.
And every year, just about a week before the event, a stern group email is sent to all coaches:
"Get your team reports in!"
which is then forwarded by those coaches to their teams:
"Please, does anyone want to stick their hand up for this? Please please please!"
Which then, inevitably finds its way to me:
"Uh, come on Franzy - you do a good one every year. Can I leave this with you?"
To which I reply:
"As long as I can write whatever I want and don't have to bother with minor details like "results" and "reportage"."
Of course, by that stage, no one is in any position to say "No, I think we'll have a sensible write-up with game-by-game results and a level-headed commentary on the overall season this year" and so, I come up with things like this. And, even after that effort I still get asked back, even though I neither played, attended nor paid much attention to the results of my old team. They still came a'knocking at my door.
2008 Rhinos Write-Up
How did the Rhinos do this year? It is … difficult to tell. You may as well point at Grand Final winning Hawthorne and ask whether they are sportsmen, or GODS.
No, on second thoughts – you shouldn’t do that. The answer is clear: Hawthorne are a feather-boa-wrapped flock of mincing dandies who are currently clearing a place among their teddies for the Guinness World Record Certificate for Most Consecutive Homers Pulled in an AFL Season. And that was in spite of the Prada bags and Blahnik heels the boiis in brown and custard insisted on playing in all year.
The Rhinos aren’t like that. Not even close. Any similarities between a Haw-Haw-Hawthorne player and a Rampaging Horned Impaler of the Nigerian Outback (R.H.I.N.O.) are utterly false, unverifiable and such claims will leave you open to a little impaling yourself (boys and girls, form an orderly queue).
‘But they both played in a grand final this year!’ I hear you squeak, desperate for recognition.
No. No they did not, sir. Hawthorne played in a grand final. The Rhinos didn’t.
‘They both play a sport?’ you try, once again attempting to subvert the dominant paradigm.
Nope. There’s that word again. Now, let me explain something to you, my friend:
Other hockey teams play. Rhinos conquer. They demolish, destroy, debunk, decaffeinate and deflower. You play hockey. The Rhinos pillage.
Fun Fact: No Rhino has ever been a member of an orchestra or any kind of musical ensemble. The few times some foolish person ignored the old adage “A Rhino does not play, a Rhino wins”, always resulted in a lot of desiccated musical instruments and defeated saxophonists.
It might seem a little like overkill to link such claims of violence to the Rhinos’ hockey style in what is meant to be a non-contact sport. ‘Overkill’ is also an interesting and accurate choice of words. By the time the minor rounds had finished this year, no fewer than eleven episodes of Crime Stoppers had been dedicated entirely to Rhinos vs Whatever Cannon Fodder Dared To Show fixtures. Did anyone catch the True Crime Special on the Rhinos last week? How good was the bit where the guy’s head exploded after Fongy’s drag-flick?
So, you begin to understand how difficult it is to simply classify and explain the 2008 Rhinos Season in terms of ‘victory’ and ‘game play’ when the former is a given for any Rhino ever born and the latter is something Hawthorne players do in the change rooms between manicures.
In 2007 the Rhinos became heroes. Parades closed down the city. Stamps were franked. Commemorative plaques bloomed like Murray River algae. Special issue coins were pressed and there was a time where you couldn’t feed a parking meter without putting a Rhino into it.
‘How long shall we park for?’
‘Put in two Greenmans and a Pinhead,’ you’d say before trotting off to do some shopping down the now-more-aptly-titled Rhino Mall (unlike the Rhinos, John Rundle certainly wasn’t endowed with huge balls of polished steel and so it only made sense to change the name. A plan to replace the current scale models with life-sized replicas was on the cards, but the most of the steel required has since been appropriated by the state government to build a desalinisation plant).
In 2008 the heroes passed on into legend. Everything the Rhinos touched turned to gold and when they touched gold it turned into delicious BBQ chicken which, after eating, would be digested and shat out as diamonds. Whatever the temporary name for Burbridge Road was is now slated as Rhino Rumble. New congregations are springing up all over the city with hundreds, verging on thousands, flocking to hear the lilting tones of St Frenchie preaching from the horn-ed pulpit. Rhinology is being taught through the schools and universities of the country, ensuring that by 2010 our great land will be protected from the credit crisis, global warming and space alien laser attack.
Like all legends, this glory was built on the freshly hacked bones of their adversaries. Metro 3 Men, wicked and weak, all attempted to sully the name of Rhino with the hockey equivalent of your little sister’s first ballet recital (but with hockey sticks) and all payed the ultimate price. Their humiliation shall be magnified on into the pages of history as they are remembered, not as hockey ballerinas, but as the last, stumbling, faltering step which evolution took in that doomed direction before cutting short and winging off into the pure sunrise of Homo Rhinoceros.
GTH - Miles came out strongly, but faded early for failing to take the picture into account. He will receive an automatic point when he inserts a necessary apostrophe into his blog title. Arch-rival Shippy, therefore takes a point, as does old-time competitor, T-to-tha-double-O Sam for reminding me of the complexion gag (ha).