There are three images of Anzac and Sport that resonate with Australians.
First – the Anzac 1915 Gallipoli cricket match 'photograph'
The Australian cricket team on their way to England for the 2003 Ashes series led by Steve Waugh replicated the photograph in each position at Gallipoli.
Second - the soccer matches along the Belgium and French WWI trench lines.
These images have been replayed in WWI documentaries and in movies that these are quite familiar to us all.
Third - Beneath Hill 60
The 2010 movie Beneath Hill 60 likewise illustrates a rugby match between the Brits and the Aussies.
For those involved in WWI and WWII the word “boredom” was the most frequented sentiment. The fighting days were minimal. Most of the time was spent waiting, and with waiting come boredom.
What was there to occupy the men, there was reading and writing letters, and there was sport.
The Australian War Memorial has a travelling exhibition on Sport and War. The displays include a ‘Brownlow medal’ presented in Changi prisoner of war camp and a well-worn footy jersey from the muddy playing fields of the western front
The 19 April 2002 Radio National program explored Sport and War. In that program Jim Maine said that Frank Lugton was the first Sheffield Shield cricketer killed in the war. He of course played for Victoria and there’s some remarkable stories about Frank Lugton when he was in Gallipoli.
The Education Forum lists the number of famous Australian sportsmen killed in WWI.
The various State Libraries of Australia have held exhibitions on Sport and War. This is not a minor subject but one that has caught the nation's interest.
Australian cricketer the late Keith Miller was an exponent of discussing sport and war. Miller lost five years of his career to war. He flew hundreds of missions for the RAF, saw friends lose their lives and lived his own thereafter as if living for them. Asked once by Parkinson how he dealt with pressure on the field, he replied: "Pressure is a Messerschmitt up your arse."
Sport and War seem to go hand in hand and there has been some academic debate that Australians' passion for sport is a result that whereas Europeans have had national conflicts (war) regularly over the centuries, Australians have put that energy into sport.
Maybe this is one of the reasons that Australians, with such a small population, does remarkably well in international sporting contests.
ANZAC and SPORT
BEST of 2011
By: Mark Tronson
WBA Sports Writer for CTA
WBA Sports Writer for CTA
Thursday, 5 January 2012, 1:05 (EST)