20 June, 2013


This is the article I have been preparing to write since 1986. Twenty Seven years in the making, hundreds of pressure packed moments and events, oceans of tears from the pain of losses and the ecstasy of victories and astonishingly enough, most of this has been on the Softball Diamond against the Queensland Maroons (QLD) competng as a New South Wales BlueBlood.

Do I hate the QLD Maroons? How do you hate something that inspires you to your bone to be your best? Motivates you to get better? Makes you feel something you’ve never felt before when you’re victorious over them. This ‘hate’ question is utterly futile. I jog up hills these aging days with crunchy knees and wobbly lungs and the only honorable question I ask is what kind of player would I have been without Queensland?

We are in the middle of the fierce State of Origin Rugby League Season in Australia - NSW vs QLD. The only thing that would fuel my passion for rivalry out of Softball Season was the passion for rivalry in State of Origin Season. We’re in the thick of it now with the build up for Game 2 at Suncorp Stadium on June 26th. It is true, I choose not to watch these Rugby League Games with a Queenslander. I’ll explain why.

In 1986, I played in my first U/16 National Championship for NSW. I played my last game for NSW in 2009. I pinned the name BlueBlood on the NSW Women's Softball Team because my emotion and love for NSW is a deep, strong, untouchable flow. To belong to something is to be human. If you really want to truly belong to anything, you have to make an investment, an emotional investment. It may sound risky but it’s a perfectly safe growth investment with a win-win twist. Whatever you put into it, YOU WILL get it all back again plus a little more. It may be in the shape of joy in victory or the shape of pain in defeat. Both will make you grow. If you don’t feel either of these extremes, you’re probably not investing enough. This is the Recipe for Rivalry.

The long, ongoing, recurring clashes between NSW and QLD are Historical for one reason - the compounding emotions and actions of every player that has ever represented each State.


I attended my first State of Origin Rugby League game in Brisbane two years ago, sitting up in the stand in my Blue Footy Jersey with my Queensland friends and as soon as the Referee’s whistle blew to ignite the Battle, I couldn’t help but feel Suncorp Stadium morph into a miniature Colosseum hosting the Gladiator Games centuries before. The roar of the masses, the Unity, the thirst for ‘NSW Blood in Victory’... this was Rome on a balmy Sunday evening. Except this Century, Women weren’t consigned to the area dubbed “The Undesirables Section” high up in the nose-bleed seats. We were close, fired-up, spirit-churning organisms in 2011. Those silly Romans will never know what they missed out on.

Two plays remain in my memory from that Game: NSW player, Michael DeVere, in a line break down the field, full steam towards Darren Lockyer. A one on one encounter where Lockyer pounded DeVere into the ground, making him lose the ball. The other was when NSW were deep in their own territory and Mitchell Pearce kicked the ball out on the full. Both resulted in turn overs in favour of QLD. These were game defining mistakes that made my blood boil and in my view, emotional mistakes.

When you step onto a ground in Queensland, against Queensland, you are not just playing against your on-field opponent, you’re playing against every Queenslander at the Ball Park, in or out of uniform because they all play together. BlueBloods, remember this always. It’s a beautiful thing but you can prepare for it. They are giving you a magic gift of motivation if you are brave enough to look every Queenslander in the eye and feel how much they want to defeat you. If you’re not and you play intimidated, you will get eaten up and discarded. It takes grit and guts to be accounted for when you compete in Queensland. It's a unique environment offering a rare opportunity.

Watching a State of Origin Rugby League Battle is now my private, spiritual space as a BlueBlood. I live, breathe, smell each play of the Battle with a thumping heart and hope those NSW Blokes are doing the same on the field. In fact, these are not just loose emotions here. There is deep structure. Science will back this very notion via the Spin-Orbit Interaction at the Particle Physics level (the tiny, invisible, magic stuff). All we need to know is there is an interaction between your Spin (beliefs, values, place of belonging, character etc) and your Movement (actions). Entirely interpretive but I think it is responsible for your Energy Shifts and makes sense to me when you apply it to the Human/ Emotional Level of Performance in Sport.

Personally, I’m not too sure about a lot of things, but after investing so much energy, passion, loyalty and love into NSW over the years, I do know how to be a Blue Blood. When you step onto the ground in NSW, against NSW, that’s an entirely new kind of Battlefield and I’m not about to tell a Queenslander how to prepare for it. That’s Movement they will want to work out for themselves. The rivalry between NSW and QLD has a heartbeat and it’s the responsibility of every BlueBlood and Queenslander to keep it strong because we know we are in the middle of a Win-Win War. A Wondrous War. There will always be victory and defeat. The Question is: “Who wants to move forward the most?”

This journal is dedicated to one of the finest Queenslander’s and Competitor’s in our Sport of Softball, Joyce Lester. Congratulations on your induction as an Official Sports Queensland Legend!