IT’S that time of year when footballers revert to the alternative default f-word from the one they rely on for the other 11 months.
But late August is about a lot more than than just footy finals and Richmond’s admirable determination to finish ninth.
From both an Australian and Tasmanian sporting perspective, it’s a busy time the world over.
This ranges from the customary, like Usain Bolt bringing his season to a close after just three competitive races or Australia’s cricketing media re-anointing Phil Hughes as the next Don Bradman, to the unpredictable, such as an Australian actually winning a Formula One Grand Prix or Tottenham sitting atop the English Premier League.
However, the one constant remains the performance of Tasmanian athletes on the world stage.
From the 126 kilometres between Boulder and Denver, Colorado, where Cameron Wurf, Jai Crawford, Bernie and Wes Sulzberger rode the final stage of cycling’s USA Pro Challenge, to the Harare Sports Club in Zimbabwe where George Bailey yesterday led the Australian cricket team into its ODI tri-series.
The passage of Macey Stewart to her latest world championships brought her close to fellow Tasmanians competing at the highest level in two other sports.
The teenager changed flights in Amsterdam, where seven Tasmanian-born rowers were competing in the rowing world titles, en route to cycling’s junior road world championships in Spain where Adam Gibson just happens to be gracing basketball’s world cup.
Stewart is switching to tarmac from track having helped maintain another stunning record for her home state. The efforts of Stewart and Lauren Perry in South Korea, following those of Amy Cure and Georgia Baker in previous years, mean that the last five junior track world titles have witnessed the crowning of Tasmanian world champions.
Elsewhere in Europe, Tassie cyclists Matt Goss, Richie Porte, Nathan Earle, Campbell Flakemore and Alex Clements continue to fly the flag while across the Atlantic, boxer Daniel Geale and racing driver Marcos Ambrose have done their best to ensure American knowledge of our island is not limited to the Tazzie Devil cartoon character.
All of which follows the Commonwealth Games where Tasmania’s total of one gold, one silver and two bronzes would have placed it 18th on the medal table, and Cure alone finished above Sri Lanka, Ghana and Bangladesh with their total population of 200 million.
So when Gibson helps launch the Boomers’ basketball world cup campaign in the Canary Islands, he won’t be the only Tasmanian with something to chirp about.
Of course, there are plenty of players from the Apple Isle destined to contest those AFL finals, from reigning premiership winner Grant Birchall to Coleman Medal contender Jack Reiwoldt.
But success in that competition isn’t as easy to gauge, as the Western Bulldogs proved with their banner for Sunday’s game against Sydney.
The Swans may have been perched a mere 13 places and 36 points above them, but the under-Dogs got their own back by running through the message: ‘‘Sydney Harbour Bridge — Not as long or as tall as the Westgate — fact.’’
Nothing like a spot of bridge envy to even things up.