Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Don Bradman (Thanks, Matt)

This is my first sports person.

Can you believe I've avoided sports people for so long? This is Australia we're talking about!

I did write about someone who played sports before. I forgot who it was. He's indigenous and played soccer. But he was also an activist, and that's what I had concentrated on. I think I ignored the whole soccer bit.

Who was it? This is going to bother me if I don't find out....

Charles Perkins.

Sadly, now I don't remember much about him. I skimmed my post a bit...really fast. I saw stuff about the Freedom Ride. One day I need to go back and read all my posts so I can remember all I've learned.

Here's a little warning/disclaimer: If you came to this blog to learn about Don Bradman, turn away now. Please. Go to the other sites that came up in the search engine. There are probably TONS out there.

I have a habit of going off in tangents....and because I don't like talking about sports, I'm sure I'll do it a lot here. I doubt this post will have a lot of value in it, especially in terms of educating anyone about Don Bradman.

I know who Don Bradman is. Through my eyes, he seems like the most prominent sports person in Australia history. I think of him as being like America's Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, or Hank Aaron. Since I'm ignorant about sports, I'm not sure which one of those guys is THE most famous. But see, those are the names that even a completely ignorant person like myself recognizes. I picture Don Bradman as the same. Even if you don't like sports, you know who he is.

Don Bradman was a cricket player. He's no longer living.

That's about all I know.

I guess I should go and learn more.

This surprised me. He died fairly recently.  2001. I kind of pictured him dying decades ago.

Baby Donald was born 27 August 1908.

He'd be a Virgo like my mom....and also my friend Tracey.

The birthday website says his numerology number is 8. That's the one that's about success. I guess that would fit Bradman well.

Lord Wiki says that Bradman was born in Cootamundra New South Wales. I LOVE that name. It might even be better than Woolloomooloo.

I'm not going to spend time studying Cootamundra because the Bradman family left that place when Donald was a toddler.

Mommy and Daddy packed up their two sons and three daughters and moved them to Bowral. Isn't the the place that the Smith family moved to? I think it was.

I shall read about Bowral because I do think that place was important to Bradman's life.

It's part of something called The Southern Highlands. They actually have a Bradman museum. I think he might be their main tourist attraction.

Lord Wiki says the town has become a place for retired people....meaning there are a lot of elderly folks there.

I think in America, retirement land is Florida. I could be wrong though.

Jimmy Barnes and Peter Garrett have lived in Bowral too.

And the town is also known for its tulip festival.

Bradman started practicing the cricked stuff when he was a kid. He practiced a lot in his free time--making up a solo game. He got quite good at it. I'm sure his success didn't all come from practice though. I'm betting he had a lot of natural talent.

He played for his school which was Bowral Public School. When Bradman was twelve, he hit his first century. I have no idea what that is.

Lord Wiki says it's when you score 100 or more runs in the inning. I have no idea what that means; but I'm sure if you do it, a lot of people will cheer for you.

Bradman's uncle was the captain of the local Bowral team. When Bradman was a young teen, he was the team's scorer.

I'm guessing that means he helped keep score?

I feel I should read about Cricket, figure out how it's played, and then try to explain it here.

I'm not going to do that though. First of all, everyone reading this probably knows more about cricket than I do.

Second: I'm so bad at understanding sports.

I don't even fully understand quidditch. To me, it's just brooms flying around and people cheering.

Anyway, one day the Bowral cricket team was one man short. They let Bradman play. I guess he did pretty good.

One day, Daddy Bradman took young Don to a Cricket Game. There he announced that he wouldn't be satisfied until he played on the ground. Ground refers to the Sydney Cricket Grounds. That's where they were watching the game.

The Sydney Cricket Ground is located in Moore Park. We were there. I wonder if we saw it.

I bet we did. I'm looking at Google Maps right now. I'm pretty sure we had walked past it.

Lord Wiki says Bradman dropped out of school in 1922. He would have been fourteen. I love successful drop out stories. Of course times have changed. I think dropping out was more common and accepted back then. I think today it would bring about more scorn and rejection.

Bradman went to work for a real estate agent. His employer was kind and encouraging. He let Bradman take off work to pursue his sports stuff. I like hearing stuff like that. I like supportive and encouraging people.

Here's something interesting. Lord Wiki says that for two years, Bradman gave up Cricket for tennis. I wonder why. He got back into cricket around 1925.

He played on the Bowral team. They played against other rural towns.

Then the New South Wales Cricked Association was scouting out new talent. They had heard of Bradman and asked him to attend some practice sessions in Sydney. I'm sure Bradman was pretty damn excited about that.

I guess around then Bradman was still playing tennis. He was doing well in both sports. Both sports demanded his time. His boss put his foot down a little. He said Bradman could have only one week off. He needed to choose between the sports.

We all know what he chose.

Soon Bradman was traveling from Bowral to Sydney every Saturday to play.

He played for St. George. I guess that's the team from the St. George area. Here's their website.

They have a very handsome tall guy. I wonder what his name is.

Don't worry. I KNOW. I'm married. Besides, I could never date a cricket guy. I couldn't constantly fake being interested when he talked about his games.

I'm reading a lot of stuff I don't understand.

I'm going to pick out the stuff that does make sense to me.

Bradman at one point was not selected to go to New Zealand.

He wanted his chances of being selected for stuff to increase. He felt moving to Sydney would help. So around 1928, he did that. He got himself another job in real estate. I guess it wasn't time to quit his day job yet.

Later he worked for a sporting goods store.

Meanwhile he still did the cricket stuff.

In a game against Queensland, he did the century thing.

Oh crap.

There is so much sport stuff here.

Can't I just say Don Bradman was a famous cricket player. Could we just leave it at that? Would that be cheating?

Well, I'm just going to read. If something exciting jumps out at me, I'll report it. Actually, I'll just report anything I understand.

Here we go....

Bradman's nickname by his fellow players was Braddles. Cute.

There was a test match to see which players would get to go to England. Bradman did very well. In fact, he won a world record.

Despite breaking a world record, there were still doubts about selecting Bradman for England. Some people felt his way of playing was a bit unorthodox. Why was he unorthodox? I don't know. If I try to know, I won't understand. But I do like unorthodox people.

Bradman did get to go to England. That was in 1930. He'd be about twenty-two at the time.

He did very well in England.

Australia won the match.

Lord Wiki says this triumph was good on the Australian psyche. The economy was slipping into that Great Depression Thing. The Cricket stuff gave people something to believe in.

Bradman became a national hero.

Here's some personal stuff. This is what I like to read.

Bradman was a bit of a loner. He was dynamic and exciting when he played. Off the field, he tended to keep to himself. He didn't become best mates with his teammates. And the attention from the media and fans embarrassed him. If I'm reading this right, there was also some resentment from his teammates. That's probably to be expected.

At one point, Bradman considered moving out to England...play on their Cricket team. Australia fought for him to stay. Some Sydney businesses offered him a deal: a two year contract where he'd get to write for newspapers, be on the radio, and promote menswear. Bradman took them up on the offer. And then he lost more privacy.

The guy sounds like a typical celebrity. There's a strong desire for success and fame. They WANT attention. But then once they get it, they want to hide. They get angry at everyone watching them....budding into their business.

I'm not a celebrity, but I do have those issues. I have a strong desire for attention. But as soon as I get a little too much, I become resentful.

Through the years, Bradman played more cricket. He did controversial stuff during the game.

At one point, he got tired of the whole thing and wanted a new career.

In 1934, he got a job offer as a stock broker in South Australia. He and his wife moved there.

He was only twenty-six. This guy really lived quite a life in his younger years.

Bradman had some health issues; heart stuff.

I feel like I'm reading about an old man here. I mean I know young people get sick. It happens...a lot, unfortunately.

But all this talk of retirement and heart disease....it makes me feel like I'm reading about an elderly guy. Plus, at such a young age, he had already accomplished so much.

At one point, Bradman ended up with appendicitis. I think this was before he went to South Australia. He ended up with peritonitis, and almost died. The public was asked to donate blood. Many people ran to Bradman's rescue. They all wanted to donate blood.

Oh wait. I guess he didn't quite playing when he got to South Australia. He just went to play for a South Australian team.

For World War II, Bradman joined the Royal Australian Air Force. Later he switched to the army. While in the world of military, it was discovered that Bradman didn't have such great eyesight. I guess that was surprising because it seems with cricket you need to be able to see well.

In 1941, it was decided that Bradman was too unhealthy to continue the military stuff.

The guy had all kinds of health complaints.

A biographer believed Bradman was psychosomatic. Bradman read the manuscript and didn't disagree with the theory.

I'm probably psychosomatic. I think people get all ashamed about that. But I think they confuse it with hypochondria. I think I have that a little bit too. Anyone who reads this blog, on a regular basis, knows that!

I think hypochondria is where you assume your symptoms indicate you have some horrible fatal illness.

I think psychosomatic is where your mind creates real symptoms. It doesn't mean you're NOT truly sick. It just means that stress or other mind stuff caused the problems to occur rather than bacteria, virus, a gene thing, etc.

It's all about the mind-body connection. And I think some people (like me) have a very strong connection. I often feel like shit. I COULD have some mysterious undiagnosed disease. But I think it's more likely brought on by things in my tormented mind.

It's kind of like the Aboriginal stuff....you know when they sing someone to death. If you think you're going to die...you might very well die. Although that could also involve another idea--one less accepted by mainstream scientists. Perhaps not only is there a connection between OUR mind with OUR body. Perhaps our minds can effect other bodies as well.

Lord Wiki says some diseases, that were once believed to be psychosomatic, are later shown to have a physical cause. With other medical problems, there is still controversy.

I think what would help is to take the stigma away from psychosomatic illness. If you feel sick, you're sick. The cause shouldn't matter.

One time I got in a fight with my family. For awhile I had really bad periods....gross bloody things. We were going to Chicago for a vacation. I suddenly realized I was due to have my period then. I got really stressed out about it. Jack was a toddler, and for some reason Tim would not be with us the first day or two. I'd be parenting without him. And I was usually fine with that.  I was very used to it. But I was very stressed about having to do it while feeling like my insides were all dripping out of me.

I fretfully shared my concern with my parents. My mom said something like Are you sure it's not all in your head--that you make yourself sick?

I was very angry when she said that, wondering what the hell powers did she think I have. Yes, I can make myself have bad periods. I'm magic that way.

Later, when I learned about mind-body stuff, and realized I had quite a history with all that, I started thinking she may have actually been right. I might somehow have given myself bad periods. I really think it's possible. Stress. The power of suggestion. Some kind of self-punishment. Who knows.

But all that is besides the point. No matter what the cause, I was still bleeding like a maniac. I still felt gross. I still felt sick. I still felt pain.

I didn't need to be interrogated about the cause of my health problem. I just needed sympathy and assistance.

In the end, my parents did come through for me. They ended up being kind and helpful in Chicago; probably because I had bitched at them so badly.

Back to Bradman. He didn't just have health issues. He had financial ones as well.

I think the person he worked with (or for) was charged with embezzlement. And that effected Bradman's reputation.

Bradman's wife died in 1997. This was very hard on him. A few years later he died of pneumonia.

Lord Wiki has some family stuff. I think I'll find that more interesting.

He met his wife when she came to board with the family in Bowral. She wanted to be closer to school. I wonder if the family had connections to the Bradman family, or was the arrangement done by the school?

That was in 1920. Bradman was only about twelve.

They got married twelve years later.

They were married for sixty-five years. That's impressive.

For most of their marriage, they lived in a modest suburban home in Adelaide.

They had children, and sadly there was tragedy surrounding that.

Their first baby died as an infant.

Their second baby got polio.

Their third child had cerebral palsy.

The second child, John, later changed his last name. There were rumors that he was estranged from his dad. Father-son issues. It happens. After John's mom died, he changed his name back to Bradman. It seems the death brought father and son back together again.

Lord Wiki says Bradman is the Australian with the most biographies written about him... besides Ned Kelly. Well, there. Now I don't feel so bad about writing such a incompetent entry. There's already tons of stuff out there.

I'm done with Lord Wiki. I wish I was done with this period, but you know I can't do that.

Here's a website for the Bradman museum. Have any of you been there?

I really want to quit.

Here. I'll read the Australian government site. What do they say about Bradman?

Well, they do agree with me about Bradman being the most famous Aussie sports person. They say, No other sportsperson in Australian history has captured the respect and admiration of the sporting public the way 'The Don', the cricketer from Bowral in the State of New South Wales (NSW), has done.

They say pretty much the same stuff that Lord Wiki said.

The guy did impressive cricket stuff.

Maybe I should read a little about cricket. I don't care much about the rules. I want to know more history stuff. Where did it start? I'm guessing the UK, but I could be wrong.

Lord Wiki says it started in England during the 16th century. It's big in England.

Well, that's about all I care to know about Cricket.

I'm going to watch some videos of Bradman--mainly because my eyes are tired of reading. See? That could be psychosomatic. Maybe my eyes bother me because I don't want to read about Bradman. I should take notice of that. Do my eyes bother me more on the days I write about stuff that is difficult for me?

This video is an interview of Bradman done in 1930. He'd be about twenty-two then. His voice sounds a bit odd to me, but that might be the recording?

He talks about how he plays for the team, and doesn't set out to make world records. But if he happens to make world records, that's fine with him.

I think he's trying to emphasize that he was a team player. I'm guessing some of his teammates felt differently.

Bradman contributes his good playing to not drinking and smoking. Well, I'm sure that played SOME part. But I don't drink or smoke, and I aint breaking any kinds of sport records. I'm not even that good at Wii Sports.

He says he doesn't get nervous when playing a big game. And he prefers big crowds to small crowds. I might be able to understand that. With big crowds, maybe everyone is just part of a massive blob. With small crowds, you're more likely to notice individuals. Things might get too intimate.

It's interesting that he doesn't feel nervous.

In college, I remember telling someone (maybe Tim?) that I tend to get sick around finals time. I added that I never feel nervous about finals. It doesn't bother me at all. But I do end up with a cold or flu like thing. Tim (or the someone else) suggested maybe my illness was a reaction to the stress. Instead of feeling something like butterflies in my stomach, I get ill. That could have both psychological and physical influences though. My unnoticed stress could have weakened my immune system.

Here's a tribute to Bradman. It's very well done. I like the music they chose.

Here's some Gruen Transfer stuff that involves Bradman. I'm guessing this might be funny.

In the video, two advertising teams create competing ads. What are they trying to sell? The idea that Don Bradman is not so great after all.

I prefer the first ad. The whole idea of it is that Bradman was TOO good. Children used to have fun with sports, and playing outside. But then Bradman made them all feel like they'd never measure up. They gave up their athletic play...went inside to watch TV. And that is why Australia now has an obesity problem.

The second ad plays with the fact that Bradman didn't shout his playmates a drink. Shouting drinks is very Australian. The ad says Bradman was unAustralian.

Here's a video about Australian Citizenship and the Bradman question. The current government complained that the old test was too much about Australian trivia. They wanted the test to be more about practical issues-law, police, and stuff like that. Malcolm Turnbull was quite offended by the removal of the Bradman question.

I'm not sure how I feel. I think too many trivia questions is ridiculous, but I don't think a few would hurt.

Anyway, I think I'm done here.

Sorry this post couldn't offer more brilliance.