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To a field of memories, thank you and goodnight

<em>Illustration: Simon Letch</em>

Illustration: Simon Letch

AND SO, after 15 years, the answer to this column's most frequently asked question. What does someone so ''cynical''/''sanctimonious''/''clueless'' like about sport?

Well, let me think. There's …

Roger Federer's backhand.

The first drive down Magnolia Lane.

Paul Gallen playing the full 80.

Warnie. Because of everything. And despite everything.

Adam Scott's grace in defeat.

Adam Scott's grace in victory.

Richie Benaud's pregnant pause.

Black footy boots.

Tim Cahill's granite head.

Usain Bolt walking home in 9.69 seconds.

Lleyton Hewitt at 4-4 in the fifth set.

Leo Barry's hands above the pack.

A Wimbledon ovation for a jolly good shot.

Goal umpires in butchers' coats.

The Tour de France - even the bikes.

A bush horse in the Melbourne Cup.

Ricky Stuart's mind games.

Roy and HG.

The first ball of the summer.

The Road Hole bunker.

Ian Thorpe's feet.

Roy Masters' anecdotes.

Ron Tugnutt, Irina Slutskaya, Misty Hyman, Craphonso Thorpe and other great names.

''Queenslander …''

0-55 at lunch.

Mark Bosnich's laugh.

Mark Webber on the grid.

Coaches wearing Armani suits.

A world title fight for a real world title.

Lord's.

Liz Ellis calling netball.

Drug test excuses - ''I fell on the syringe!''

Clam chowder in the clubhouse at Augusta.

Andre Agassi's memoirs.

The Chicago Cubs' losing streak.

Black Caviar under a hard hold.

Phil ''The Power'' Taylor with an arra' in his hand.

Holing a downhill six-footer.

Holing anything.

Kim Clijsters' normality.

World Cup parties.

The Waratahs' eternal quest for respect.

Billy Slater making would-be murderous assassins tackle air.

Tennis tantrums.

Clever sledging.

Adam Goodes' quiet dignity.

Merchant bankers singing a negro spiritual at Twickenham.

Five-hour clay court epics.

''It's all happening …''

Peter Roebuck's prose.

Sally Pearson's relief.

Penalty shoot-outs.

David ''Bumble'' Lloyd's accent.

Jamie Dwyer weaving through the circle.

Imported stayers.

Black and white stripes.

Scoring for my Main Son's cricket team.

QPR 1, Bristol City 0.

Pat Rafter's lisp.

Kevin Sheedy's elastic mind.

The fair dinkum ''Origin player''.

One-on-one interviews - not sterile press conferences.

Jerseys without advertising.

Roger v Rafa.

Sir Alex chewing gum.

US Open ball boys wearing more bling than the players' wives.

Bart's wry humour.

Opening ceremonies.

The one without tattoos.

Les Murray at the World Cup.

The All Blacks' relentless professionalism.

Gus Gould's pre-Origin soliloquy.

Pre-match handshakes.

The courage of a jockey taking the rails run.

The A-League's Sydney and Melbourne derbies.

Touchdown celebrations.

Irene Van Dyk monstering defenders.

Goalkeeping bloopers.

''Baaaallllll …''

Classic chokes.

Golf pants.

Serena. Because of everything. And despite everything.

LeBron walking the talk.

Joey Barton's tweets.

Nick Faldo's commentary. Yes, Nick Faldo!

Ice hockey fights.

Beaujolais day at Roland Garros.

A perfectly judged leave by a real opener.

The back nine on Sunday.

A match-winning kick after the siren.

Genuine swing bowling.

Don King's hairstyle.

Gai Waterhouse talking up her runners.

Des Hasler's manic enthusiasm.

The sound from Greg Norman's driver.

The sound from Adam Gilchrist's bat.

Middle stump doing cartwheels.

The referee pointing to the spot, not drawing a square.

Olympic handball, ping-pong, badminton … anything.

The No.8 greyhound.

A beer in the sheds.

Winners thanking their caddies, not their saviour.

''You just dropped the World Cup …''

ESPN documentaries.

The hidden depths of Wayne Bennett.

Green Bay Packers on a frozen Lambeau Field.

A brave Carlton defeat.

Tiger Woods. Because of everything. And despite everything.

And the sports section.

NOTE: This is my final column for Fairfax Media. I'm leaving, in this space, a renovator's delight. The Herald's brilliant sports staff will create a mansion.

72 comments so far

  • Say it ain't so!

    The broadsheet, I mean compact, won't be the same. Thank you

    Commenter
    Glenferrie
    Date and time
    June 21, 2013, 6:31PM
    • Great list. Shame to see you go - I've always enjoyed your take. Good luck!

      Commenter
      Shawshank
      Location
      Coffs
      Date and time
      June 21, 2013, 6:40PM
      • Thanks for the memories, Richard.

        Commenter
        Stephen
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        June 21, 2013, 6:57PM
        • Noooooo!

          Richard, thank you for so many wonderful articles. You are certainly an exceptional writer, and have brought many a wry smile, smirk, guffaw, chuckle, and all knowing grin. Your "Sonny-Quaid Folau" article most recently was a real highlight for me. Classic writing.

          All the best
          W. Mantooth

          Commenter
          Wes Mantooth
          Date and time
          June 21, 2013, 7:03PM
          • I'm no tennis fan at all, but I reckon you got the first absolutely right. I can never get enough of the superb arrogance of Federer's backhand - the shot, not the bloke, who seems as normal as a sporting superstar can be.

            And I've enjoyed your work too, Richard, all the best

            Commenter
            wladek the killer
            Location
            the home office
            Date and time
            June 21, 2013, 7:16PM
            • Sad to see you go Richard.

              Commenter
              Reggie
              Location
              Woronora
              Date and time
              June 21, 2013, 7:33PM
              • Richard; when you first started writing about sport for the Herald, I thought that you were a cynical, sanctimonious & clueless journalist (with a baffling & annoying smug predilection for Aussie Rules).
                Since then, it has been a pleasure to watch you learn & develop.
                In seriousness, you & your columns will be missed. Wishing best of luck to you.

                Commenter
                Lothar
                Location
                Terrigal
                Date and time
                June 21, 2013, 7:35PM
                • Huge loss to witty,insightful journalism. No loss at all to bland, stating the obvious journalism. I await your next book and if I ever bump into you it`s my shout.
                  Thanks for the always readable columns.

                  Commenter
                  Gutted
                  Location
                  Ryde
                  Date and time
                  June 21, 2013, 7:46PM
                  • Thanks Richard. Hope you're moving on to bigger and better things. Your column was always one of the first i read on saturday. Your views in sport are refreshing and will be missed

                    Commenter
                    Stoive
                    Date and time
                    June 21, 2013, 7:47PM
                    • And just as I was warming to you, you had to remind me that you're a Collingwood supporter. Ah well, I did marry a women who hates sports, and I have managed to overcome that. Good luck (not in your endeavors supporting the pies) with what may come, it has been a great ride.

                      Commenter
                      Thetruthteller
                      Date and time
                      June 21, 2013, 7:48PM

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