An unexpected podium finish

Nadia Comaneci will never know the role she played in the development of my sports spectating skills
Nadia Comaneci will never know the role she played in turning me into a sports nut

As regular readers might have worked out, I’m not about to make an Olympics team in a hurry. Age being one factor, talent another. Plus a general aversion to cardio.

In my teenage years, I was a cross country runner of middling capability, a gymnast who unexpectedly won a regional competition despite a fear of backflips (how ironic that I later worked in politics) and a tennis player who, while never a Serena Williams in the making, should probably have reached greater heights than I did at my local club.

These days, I get my heart rate up trying to get my daughter to school on time or whenever George Clooney pops up on the telly.

In other words, I’ve come to terms with the fact that the step on to the podium, arms raised in tired and sweaty victory to the chorus of adoring fans, is not to be part of my life’s journey.

I have instead become a loud and willing voice in the chorus, cheering on any number of Aussie athletes in everything from archery to ziplining.

Looking back, I had some excellent childhood training in spectator sport. I remember pre-dawn rises to watch John Newcombe, Jimmy Connors and Bjorn Borg. I was mesmerised by the Olympics and the likes of Nadia Comaneci and Carl Lewis. 

In my adolescent years, I discovered cricket. Or rather I discovered Imran Khan, the imperious Pakistani all-rounder, on whom I pinned my raging hormonal desires. My love for cricket endured, for Imran not so much. He now being a politician dodging bullets for a living, I feel I had a lucky escape there.

When Sydney staged the 2000 Olympics, I practically lived at Homebush, decked out in green and gold, from painted toenails to fluoro wig. It was a fetching ensemble. Friends pretended not to know me.

In said garb, I lucked my way into a corporate box and joined the suits for Cathy Freeman’s epic win. I still rate it as one of the best nights of my life, which reflects either the magnitude of my love of sport or my chronic lack of a social life.

And then I started writing satirical sports commentary and emailing it to my friends. In the pre-Twitter dark ages, my missives ended up in some unlikely places, such as the athletes village in Athens and Aussie Olympics boss John Coates’ inbox, courtesy of some well connected mates.

“You should start a blog,” friends told me. For years I resisted. Because of the time involved, because the blogosphere was foreign to me, because I was a total social media virgin, because here there be monsters. Because, because, because.

But six months ago, I leapt in. I started a blog, got profiles on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, became fluent in platforms I’d never heard of before. I went from social media atheist to guzzling the Kool-Aid. Friends found my conversion hilarious. So much for my fear of backflips. 

The numbers have grown in fits and starts. Six weeks in, when 20 views was a good day, I wondered about the return on my substantial investment of time. Two weeks later, WordPress promoted one of my posts and my follower numbers went gangbusters.

And this week, WordPress added kazblah to its list of 30 recommended sports blogs worldwide. I’m mixing it with CNN World Sports, BBC Top Gear, NBA.com and NFL.com, among others.

Wow, right?

I reckon this is a blogger’s equivalent of a podium finish. Like a victorious athlete I’m chockfull of adrenalin and doing multiple fist pumps. Just not in lycra. And I haven’t had to give up red wine or chocolate.

And like any athlete, I have to thank my small but expanding support group. That would be you, good readers. Thank you and bless your cotton socks.

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20 Comments Add yours

  1. Yoginime says:

    yes I was one of those friends who pretended not to know you! We had only just met then, and I was really embarrassed!! I was also one of those whose said you should start a blog. Glad you did.
    Congrats!
    x

    Like

    1. kazblah says:

      Ha, I remember! The outfit was pretty out there. And yes, I’m glad I took your advice… finally. xx

      Like

  2. THE HALFWAY MARK IN SPORT says:

    That is incredible! Well done! You’re in some great company.

    Like

    1. kazblah says:

      Thanks Joe – I’m still pinching myself! Thanks for the reblog too.

      Like

  3. You’re on a list! Good or bad, getting onto a top list of anything is an achievement. I think we made a “Most annoying Tweeters” list once. That’s got to be the best list ever for us! Yours is way cooler. Congrats!

    Like

    1. kazblah says:

      Thanks Conrad. I’m ridiculously stoked about it! And aren’t you on a list of most influential wine blogs?

      Like

  4. Monique Ridley says:

    No, bless your cotton socks Karen. One of your colleagues is a dear friend of mine and she has been furnishing me with your missives for many a moon so you can’t imagine the joy in my life when she announced ‘Karen started a blog’. Now I can read on demand and also out loud on occasion to my harsh critic of a father who is a pedant when it comes to good grammar and content. It thrills me when a chuckle bubbles from his all too often serious form.
    Your talent is rich, your humour is rare and from this supporter online – you are GOLD!

    Like

    1. kazblah says:

      That’s really kind of you, Monique. Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment. Glad you enjoy it!

      Like

  5. lucinda032 says:

    Congratulations! Especially being Australian, that is awesome!

    Like

    1. kazblah says:

      Thanks Lucinda. It was a very pleasant surprise!

      Like

  6. Anonymous says:

    Well I’ve been there all the way, rolled my eyes, had a lot of laughs, and am still probably your biggest fan. Keep up the good work, love Mum xxxx

    Like

    1. kazblah says:

      You have indeed, Mum. I should get a badge made. Who knew when you introduced me to watching tennis in the middle of the night that it would end up like this? Xx

      Like

  7. tanya.richardspugh@gmail.com says:

    Congrats Kazzie – definitely a podium finish!
    Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone

    Like

    1. kazblah says:

      Thanks Tanya. You’ve been an avid reader all these years.

      Like

  8. Mick says:

    Congratulations Kaz! You truly deserve your podium finish

    Like

    1. kazblah says:

      Mick, you guys posted the very first comment on kazblah six months ago, so thanks very much for the support.

      Like

  9. Vinita says:

    Great news! Really thrilled for you!

    Like

    1. kazblah says:

      Thanks Vinita. Great to hear from you and hope all is well.

      Like

  10. Betty Warner says:

    Congratulations on the backflips.

    Like

    1. kazblah says:

      Thanks Betty. Much appreciated.

      Like

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