When life comes full circle, it does love to bite you on the bum.

Once I was the naughty girl up the back of the bus, now for my sins, I’m the bus driver.

I recently spent six days ferrying a busload of excited thirteen year old girls around Canberra for Waterpolo Club Nationals.

My daughter says it was the best week of her life. I say it’s great material for a novel.

I couldn’t swim 50m without a winch and a cable, and my only trophy in high school was for debating, but even I couldn’t help being drawn into the high drama that played itself out, in and out of the water.

Ghastly coaches channeling Damir Dokic, losing to inspirational coaches (like ours) who carried their charges’ best interests in their hearts.

Parents who couldn’t bear to watch pacing the walkways, while others screamed themselves hoarse from the bleachers.

Boys teams boot-stomping the metal grandstands, cheering the girls on to victory. Bubbly teenagers thrilled to be competing at their first Nationals, cartwheeling past calm and confident Olympians-in-waiting.

And then there was the biggest cliche of them all – the worst sport of the comp.

She of the long, blonde hair, and the speed and ruthlessness of a shark. Good enough to be noticed in the preliminary games, bad enough to be excluded from her final game in the play-offs after fouling one time too many.

Well team, what goes round, comes round.

She glowered from the sidelines as a five-all draw went to extra-time, then lost it big time when the golden goal went to Queensland…

I consider myself a wordsmith, but I can’t remember the last time I heard vocabulary like that from a fourteen year old.

She refused to shake hands with the winning team as they filed past the pool, and stormed off, trailing invective in her wake.

It was so out of keeping with the spirit of the week that our girls are still talking about it.

For five nights they had slept like puppies, piled on top of each other, then bounded through each day, leap-frogging every pole at the Australian Institute of Sport.

Best week of their lives, they say.

I say true character is revealed under pressure – in fiction, as in life.

A new story is bubbling its way to the surface – watch this space. 😉

  1. WOW – what a great post. I felt like I was there with you. And so true what you say about character. Looking forward to this one, CB.

    Look out paparazzi! xx

  2. chrisbongers says:

    Hey Lynn, I’ve always felt that Angelica (A-team) from Henry Hoey Hobson would grow up to play waterpolo. Looks like she has! xx

  3. mgbauer says:

    Great post and picture!

  4. chrisbongers says:

    Some of the leap-frogging tested my nerve, MGB – there were heaps of poles higher than those!

  5. Lynne the Lurker says:

    I’ll be very interested to see the book you get from this experience. A positive role model for girls’ team sports … WINNER!

  6. Hi Chris, Love this post and your dry wit. Your next book about High School water polo players is a winner. Fabulous to write about a real life experience and take it to another level. Good luck :))

  7. chrisbongers says:

    I’m not sure I could write a novel that was specifically about waterpolo, or any sport for that matter, but sport (or the hatred of it) is a big part of a lot of kids’ lives, and the drama and pressure it puts characters under is fertile soil for the novelist.

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