“Watching my son’s footy final will stay with me forever”
Ijust watched my son lose his under-11s footy grand final by a point. One single point. One little moment in that game and the result could have been different. He didn’t say much after the game; he was really bummed. To be honest, so was I.
I have lost lots of competitions in my life. Tennis matches, media awards, , the 1994 Rock Eisteddfod – that hat one really hurt 15-year-old me, but Ollie’s grand final hurt a little bit more. I know I wasn’t even playing aying but somehow feeling the e loss through my son is 100 00 times harder than losing g myself. He didn’t want my consoling words and d rejected my hugs. The only thing that worked was some hot chips, and that lasted about a minute! te!
I’ve never been that into nto footy. I’ve watched loads of AFL and appreciated the dedication of the players, , but never fully engaged or even ven really understood the rules. les. Seeing my son play his first rst season of footy has opened ed my eyes to the passion of both th the players and the supporters rs of this game. In his one and only y season to date, Ollie has learnt about bout the responsibility of being in n a team, the necessity of sportsmanship anship and the importance of losing, osing, as well as winning. I don’t get to see all of Ollie’s tennis wins, or his musical performances, due to being a working mum. It’s sucked many times. I recall distinctly sitting on The Project desk getting minute by minute updates of a basketball grand final a few years back where Ollie won the game for the team eam with a free throw in the final sec seconds. He was on such a high for days afterwards. But for me, i it was brutal. I missed it. T There was something about tod today’s little moment – watching fr from the sidelines, screaming (a little too much!), becoming an expert in shepherding (m (momentarily) and watching him smother a ball before he punched out a handball to assist a goal – that will st stick with me forever. It’s the first of many losses h he’ll have to endure in life and al already pales in significance to some of the heartache and trag tragedy he has seen as a little boy. Nonetheless, N these losses on the fo footy field, the tennis court or the debating stand are all buildin building the resilience he needs to face life and its many heartbreaks. I had to smile watching Aussie John Mi Millman’s parents being interview interviewed after his fourth round win aga against Roger Federer at the US Open. Open They were so proud of their boy, but also a little nonchalant. Maybe it was shock. They had clearly driven their boy to thousands of matches, were used to watching him win and lose, and certainly weren’t expecting him to beat the Fed-express. They hadn’t even seen the game! Millman’s dad was teaching his class (made me feel better about missing some of Ollie’s sport) and Mum had grandkids to babysit. How normal and beautiful. She confessed she gets too nervous watching him anyway. I get that!
Watching your kids navigate life, the joy and the pain, is sometimes harder than navigating it yourself. I keep telling him that winning a grand final during his first season playing would give him nothing to look forward to. I only half believe it, but I do think in a world where we can’t stand our kids being disappointed, it is normal and healthy for him to have had to deal with a loss. It’s just a game, but he cares about it – and it’s the little moments you care about in life that matter. Carrie co-hosts The Project, 6.30pm weeknights on Network Ten, and Carrie & Tommy, 3pm weekdays on the Hit Network.
Ask around and the question everyone has for Graham Norton is: who has been the worst-ever guest on your show? You must have come up with a diplomatic way of dispensing with that question. People are always interested in either the worst or the best. That’s all. In a way I forgive the bad guests because no-one’s occupation is professional chat-show guest. You’re in my show because you’re successful at something else. But it can be like a dinner party where somebody gets the conch shell and you’re thinking, “Oh my god, here we go.” A-listers do love a rider, laying out all their pre-show requirements. What’s the craziest one you’ve ever had? We had someone once who required nine dressing rooms. But we managed it, and then in the afternoon someone from their team came running into the production office saying, “It’s a 911 situation. We need another dressing room.” We managed it but said, “Just out of interest, what’s it for?” Completely straight-faced: “They want to charge their phone.” That took our breath away. How somebody’s life gets to that point, where they cannot be in the same room as their phone, is beyond me. We live like animals, sharing rooms with charging phones. As someone who, at age 55, has at least four day jobs, what possessed you to become a novelist, too? It was something I’d always wanted to do, and I got to 50 and I thought, either I shut up about this or I do it. It’s not like anyone is stopping you – writing is accessible to anyone with a pencil and a bit of paper. You’re on to your second novel – but these books aren’t the showbiz roman à clefs one might expect. Where on earth did they come from? Usually a person’s first novel is heavily autobiographical or a coming-of-age story, but at 50, having written a memoir those stories were all gone. So I tried to find a world that people didn’t associate with me, and Ireland was the obvious thing. Maybe I’m biased because I’m Irish, but it’s a place so rich with stories, secrecy, drama and heartache. Whenever I go for a walk with my mother, every house we pass she’s got a story about it, who died in there, who had a baby in there, whose husband ran away – and I find that endlessly fascinating. Most people who grew up in rainy, cold 1970s Ireland didn’t go on to become internationally successful talk-show hosts. How did you manage to get from there to where you are now? We had one television channel. That came on at four and finished at about 11 and I was so drawn to it as a window on the world, an escape route. I remember watching a talk show and fantasising about being a guest, what stories I would tell. I never saw myself as the other guy; I always thought I’d be the person on the couch. But it was only when I got a bit older I realised the people on the couch come and go. The guy in the chair comes back week after week. I’ll be that guy. You’ve been described as relentlessly cheerful, but you can’t always be in that wonderfully chatty mood. Do you ever have to fake it? I’m at work. If your job is frothing milk, you’ve got to froth the milk. My job is to be a cheery chat-show host so I better be that or I’m going to get fired. If you’re going to leave the house and go to work, fake it. No-one is interested if you burnt your toast.