Tag Archives: Ian Simmonds

Running as a metaphor for life


I have the above picture on my study wall. A picture to remind me of struggle and however hard things are to never give up. To realise I can achieve anything I set my mind to, if I’m determined enough about it. The picture in question is of me about 20 seconds out from the line at the Melbourne Marathon. The pain and tiredness is etched into my face. People might look at the photo and say why would you put yourself through three and a half hours of pain? My answer would be, you can’t see my face 20 seconds later, the exuberance, the thrill of finishing and smile and sense of achievement that didn’t leave my face my months.

Running is very much a metaphor for life for me. Its about struggle and success, the will to carry on when your have nothing left (or in the words of Rudyard Kipling If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew to serve your turn long after they are gone). The ability to prove people wrong, to turn that negativeness into something so positive.

Running for me crystallises my thoughts, its one of the only times I feel I have complete clarity of thoughts, I see things clearly, I truly feel at one with myself. I realise the things that are important in my life and the things that aren’t.

Running teaches me another important lesson, the race is only against one person, myself. Its a battle against those little voices in our heads, those voices of self doubt that mutter their way throughout our lives. That a huge percentage of the ability to run is mental is in my mind not in doubt.

The final lesson that it teaches me is that the finish line isn’t really the end, its just the start in my need to constantly improve and strive to be better.


Why do we love sport?

I’ve watched or played sport my whole life. Some of my first memories from my childhood are of playing football (soccer) in the garden or watching snooker with my grandfather on the TV.

I’ve watched a variety of sports across the years. Downhill skiing, athletics, rugby union, rugby league, football, AFL to name but a few. One of my favourite programmes when I was younger was Transworld Sport, a programme that showcased sports from around the world on a weekly basis.


Then I got into live sport, actually going to the venues to watch sports. I can’t truly remember my first live sport event, it may have been The Tour of Britain cycling event in Birmingham it may not have been.

I now live in a city that allows me to watch live sport every weekend, and not just one type of sport, a variety of sports.

Take this weekend just gone, I had my first experience watching Ice Hockey, a sport I’ve only known though flicking onto the NHL on TV and playing NHL on the Playstation. It was a good week to go, it was the Melbourne derby between the Melbourne Ice and the Melbourne Mustangs.


I think to me the sports arena is the theatre. The Guardian ran an interesting article in 2008 when they sent their arts journalists to sporting events. The article generally agrees that the mediums share much of the same attributes. The drama, the format, the villians, the heros and the crowd interaction. (the Guardian article can be found here: http://www.theguardian.com/stage/theatreblog/2008/jun/17/thereslittledifferencebetwe)

For me live sport takes me through the rollercoaster of emotions, from triumph to failure in potentially a matter of minutes. It is also a place I feel some belonging, the belonging feeling maybe comes from the fact I’ve attend so many live sports that I feel at home in the crowd, I revel in the atmosphere. I find if you actually support one of the teams that belonging is all about feeling a part of a family, riding that rollercoaster with someone else. A great example of this and an extreme one is Melbourne Storm.


For those that don’t know, Melbourne Storm are the only NRL team based in Melbourne (as opposed to 10 based in Sydney). This gives the stadium a very interesting dynamic, that being that 98% of the crowd support one team. As the team’s form dips during a game you can very audibly hear the hush, and as the team push you feel the excitement so much more than if you were in a stadium of two opposing fans. It enhances that feeling of belonging of being part of a bigger family than just your own.

That moves me on to picking teams. In general I find there are very few true neutrals when watching sport, be this at home or live in the stadium. Even if you are not an actual supporter of either team I find myself always favouring one team or the other. In my case it’s usually the underdog. Everyone loves an underdog don’t they?

The drama of an underdog beating a favourite is surely what many movies and theatres shows are all about. Allocating good and evil to a person or group of people, that is when you become truly emotionally invested.

I find with your own team it can almost be too much though, I struggle through some Melbourne Storm games, especially lately when the scores have been so tight and the wins or losses have been in the last few minutes. I suppose it makes the victories all the more sweeter or the losses so much harder to bare. It a similar thing supporting England, I’m very emotionally invested in them but at times I wonder why.

Sport feeds so many of our needs. Our need to feel part of something bigger, our need for drama and our need for entertainment. I must admit I love it.

Time for something new

So you maybe wondering, and so am I to a degree why I’ve created a new website when I already have one. Both you and I, think this is a very good question and in some way I still don’t really understand the reason why. However I do have some thoughts on it.

Firstly, my original website has become a lot bigger than beer and has evolved in to what is basically a journal of my thoughts and experiences on a number of topics from running, homebrew, venue reviews and its original purpose to review commerical beers.

Secondly, I’ve had a bit of feedback from various people that the name of the website does not really reflect what its about anymore and I should make it relevant to the subject matter. I do agree.

Thirdly, I have a lot to say about a lot of things and I need to place to write them down. I use my website really as a diary and journal for myself as well as for anyone out there who thinks it maybe a good read.

I can’t promise all of what I type will be interesting to people, in fact in many ways the only person I try to please when I write is myself. I also can’t promise I will update it very often, it could be once every day, every two weeks or it could be once a year.

I do plan to move all the running post to this blog as well as the home brewing posts, but also comment on things generally like my views on the world around me. I’ve a great topic lined up for the first post which I will hopefully get out in the next couple of days.

Lastly, how about a picture, I think I look a bit strange too but I had to bite the bullet and get these. I promised myself i’d last till 40 but just fell short.

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