Saturday, March 24, 2012

Song of the day

"Jimmy Stynes", by My Friend The Chocolate Cake.

There are not many more words that could possibly be written about the late Jim Stynes. He has deserved them all.

He came over from Ireland as part of an experiment to see if Irish kids, whose football was not dissimilar to our own, could play Australian Rules.

He proved that they could.

He was an important cog in what turned out to be the greatest era of the Melbourne Football Club since their glory days of the fifties and early sixties.

He had one fleeting lapse of judgment in the dying seconds of the 1987 Preliminary Final that might well have cost his club a place in their first Grand Final since 1964 (a Grand Final that they could even have won; at least they would have stood a better chance than they did in the two that they later played in, both of which were effectively over by the ten-minute mark of the first quarter). It is plausible that he spent the rest of his life seeking to atone for that one split second. (But Jimmy, we forgave you for that pretty much as soon as the final siren had gone.)

He adopted this country as his home.

He returned to the club to bring it back from the brink of extinction and would appear to have largely succeeded (although on-field success continues to elude us).

He fought on, improbably but heroically, through the worst ravages of the cancer that even he, in the end, couldn't defeat. Bravely, as if that needed to be said, because Jim Stynes was the bravest of them all.

He even had a song named after him.