Sunday, 15 July 2012


My birthday is July 7th.
I've always considered 7 to be my lucky number.
It felt a teeny bit kismet that we were going for 7 in a row and I was going to be there.

But I didn't get off to the greatest start.  I forgot things. Lots of things.  A brush. Another shirt.  A jacket - yes, in this freezing cold weather, I forgot my jacket.
A ride home the next day - in my super over-excitement, I forgot to arrange for someone to pick me up from the airport when I land on Thursday night. At 11:59pm. Yes, my flight home was scheduled to arrive at one minute to midnight. And yes, I was working on Friday. A last minute plea to one of my sister's to please, please, please pick me up at midnight (which ended up being 1am Friday morning, thank you Auckland fog), and I was all set.

There's nothing I like more than procrastination. So Wednesday was a bit of a mad rush to get organised.
  • 4.30am Wake up
  • 5.00am Shower
  • 5.30am Last minute panic packing
  • 6.00am Leave for airport
  • 6.20am Arrive at airport
  • 6.30am Self check-in
  • 7:10am Met an awesome Queenslander working at the Currency Exchange.
  • 7:15am Embarrass myself going through airport security

It's been about 1200 years since I last travelled overseas.  It's been never since I travelled overseas by myself.  To say I'm rusty about the departure process is an understatement.  I'm a teeny, tiny bit of a spazzy, klutzy, loser.
Last week, I tripped over my pyjamas walking to the bathroom.  Pyjamas. Not pyjamas lying on the floor (although that's entirely possible considering the state of my room). Pyjamas I was wearing.
If there's a way to fall over and humiliate myself in front of a group of strangers, I will find it.  If there's a way to not fall over and humiliate myself in front of a group of strangers, I'll find that too.  Luckily, the security guard took pity on me, and put me out of my misery.
Welcome to my life.
I don't know if it was from lack of sleep, dehydration, or what, but I felt like shit when I landed in Brisbane.  It was Game day, just checked into the hotel, was heading out to lunch and shopping with my old buddy Ange, and all I wanted to do was turn the lights off and go to sleep.  The absolute proof that I was feeling a tad sickly? I couldn't finish my steak at lunch.  My free lunch (thanks Ange).  You should understand that me and steak are like...two things that really go together.  I love steak. Steak and chips are in my top five meals of all time.  And Wednesday,for the first time in the history of the world, that I didn't finish a piece of steak :(  It was a sad day indeed. Next thing you know I'll be leaving half-drunk cups of coffee lying around, with half-eaten pieces of cake (if there's anything I love more than steak, it's coffee and cake).

I was a tad distraught.  This was not how I envisaged this trip going.  But I was going to soldier on because it's Origin.  And I had less than two days in Brisbane, I couldn't waste it being sick.  We didn't go back to the hotel and sleep. We grabbed some nurofen and shopped till I felt human again.  More importantly, I learnt a valuable lesson: shopping and drugs will work wonders for a person.

Onto the game.

Caxton Street.
It lives up to the legend.
People are INSANE.
Going past the Caxton Hotel, and having every.single.person. singing along to "What about me?! It isn't fair, I've had enough now I want my share..."
This is how memories are made.

I was fully prepared to go to the game solo. Clearly, I had lost my mind. Origin would not have been the same if I didn't have my buddy Ange there to scream and cheer and swear right along with me.  Suncorp Stadium is  magnificent.  Great views no matter where you're sitting. This might be the rose coloured glasses talking, but even the stadium food seemed to taste better.
I discovered that I know all the words to the Australian National Anthem.  I didn't sing along.  I wanted to, but I didn't.  So I sung along in my head cos I felt like too much of a traitor to sing out loud.
I impulse bought a new camera.  As a self-confessed techno-spaz, I should've known better.  But I had a responsibility to my fellow Queenslanders to take photos at the game, and my old camera just wasn't going to cut it.  I took photos on Game Day. I hate taking and being in photos.  But I tried. For the sake of my fellow Queenslanders who couldn't join me at the game, I tried.  To my horror, mid-way through the second half, this error message kept popping up when I tried to take another photo.  Please format your SD card. I say no. It says if I want to take a photo I have to.  So I say yes. It says picking yes will erase all other photos I have taken. WTF?! So, I could either get my photo with Locky's statue like I promised a certain sister who shall remain nameless, I would; or I could leave without it.

I didn't leave without it..:'(
It's rare for any game, let alone a State of Origin decider to live up to the hype.  But this one delivered, in spades.  There was a jovial, celebratory atmosphere before the game. But as time went on, you could feel the change in the air. It became intensely tense.  You could feel it in the crowd after Carney kicked that goal.
Then it happened. I have never loved Cooper Cronk more than when that field goal went over. And I love Cooper Cronk a lot. There were hugs, celebratory high fives, and lots of jumping up and down like we'd just won lotto. And then you turned and saw everyone else in the crowd doing the exact same thing.  It felt good to be a Queenslander.

Dodgy call on the Hodges try?  With both of my eyes open, I still say try.
Scott was too slow and Carney made a bad read. The End.
Maybe if they spent more time trying to make a tackle instead of trying to milk a penalty someone coulda/shoulda/woulda made the tackle.
Coulda. Shoulda. Woulda. The three words that haunt sports fans the world over.

Does justice get any more poetic than the biggest diver in the game getting a real injury?

Maybe the biggest sook in the history of the world, dropping it cold while trying to milk a penalty, and handing us the game.

My favourite moment?
Seeing Gallen lying flat on his back crying after the game.
I kid! Of course I kid...that was favourite moment number two ;-)
Cam goes up to make his winner's speech.  And all you can hear is the crowd chanting, Queenslander! Queenslander! Queenslander!
I know this is a moment I'm never going to forget.

But still, that wasn't my favourite moment.
My favourite moment was seeing Petero get up on that stage and get his chance to bid farewell to the fans. 
Lockyer's Origin farewell last year was something special.
Petero deserved nothing less.

There is one absolute truth that I learnt from Origin 3:

Winners are grinners.
Losers blame the video ref.


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