By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Donít Be Where The Ball Ainít: The Words and Wisdom of AFL Legend
Edited by Joe St John (New Holland, $24.95, hardcover, 223 pages)
One of the most captivating and significant sportsmen in Australian history, this book of quotes is a fitting celebration of the immortal humour and wisdom of Jack Dyer.
Football ‘fanatic’ Joe St John has admirably brought to life one of the most charismatic and influential Aussie Rules players who was renowned for his unique interpretations of every aspect of life.
The Dyer “linguistic tapestry” was distinctive and logically captivating. After gaining true legend status as a player and coach, he had perceptively observed: “I was a living legion in my own lifetime”.
With his own innovative language, called Dyerisms, Jack was a “walking, talking history lesson, at times he resembled a curious mixture of Confucious and Nastradamus, as he forged an unpretentious path to stardom as a commentary-box doyen, accentual comic, raconteur, urban philosopher and living treasure”.
Something of a flawed genius, Jack’s unpretentious shrewdness and amusing annotations are explained in context with punchlines of his memorable one-liners including “I won’t say anything in case I say something; That’s the beauty of being small—your hands are close to your feet”; and “It’s as dark out there as the Black Hole of Dakota”.
He was a Goliath media personality who developed a cult following as a commentator for more than four decades after he put his “high cut size 13 boots into mothballs”.
Nicknamed ‘Captain Blood’ for his speed, strength, vigour and hard hit, Jack played 312 games for Richmond, kicked 443 goals, won six best and fairest, topped the club’s goal-kicking twice, played in two premierships and represented Victoria 16 times. He also coached the Tigers for 11 years including the premiership year of 1943.
It’s only fitting that this modest recall of some of the words, humour and insights recapture some of the “fun of the game, and encourage us all to lighten up a little bit”!
Edition 405, 15 April 2014
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.