There’s something special about watching big sporting events in the middle of the night.
Ashes tests. Kangaroo tours. World title fights. Wimbledon finals. And great racing. All celebrated under the moonlight.
In the old days, we’d stay up for the duration. Fuelled by cool drinks, as operating hours were extended by kindly club managers. Now, it’s an alarm clock, slippers and strong tea.
Tonight, anyone who’s ever won a quid at a racecourse will be glued to the box. And plenty of others who’ve never opened a formguide. Midnight ratings will go through the roof.
Yet another chapter in the Black Caviar story. This time she’ll be winning on the other side of the world. In front of Poms in top hats.
We all feel as if we’re on this amazing ride with her. Have done since that first victory. Even from afar, we’ll cheer like lunatics.
The difference this time, is that most of us will be waving the imaginary whip while wearing flannelette pyjamas. And we’ll be back to bed as soon as Peter Moody collects the cup.
Years ago, Dad would wake me, so we could watch the Kangaroos taking on England in the Old Dart. We’d huddle around the black and white tv. I’d have a Milo, while he sipped on a sneaky ale.
They were brutal encounters. When the Poms could actually play. We’d have the lights out and the volume low, so Mum wouldn’t wake up.
One of my great late night memories is the Second Test at Old Trafford in 1990. Ricky Stuart’s longest run, that led to Mal Meninga’s greatest try. In the final seconds of the game.
Future Origin coach to Future Origin coach. When Big Mal planted the ball down and broke their hearts, lounge rooms all over the land erupted. It was one of the game’s great moments.
I recall the night it was standing-room only at the local leagues club, when Jeff Fenech fought for his world title against that punishing little Thai bloke.
They recorded record bar sales that night, as we went with the pair of them round for round.
It was well into the morning when Jeff proclaimed his love for us all, and we made our way home on unsteady pins.
Another night to remember was Pat Cash’s Wimbledon triumph in 1987. Although if truth be told, those memories are a little blurred.
We’d descended on a friend’s house, after a particularly boisterous Sunday night. Someone decided we should have one for the road. Maybe two.
We stumbled upon coverage of The Man in the Headband doing his thing. Pat’s heroics kept us up way longer than was medically sound. But it did provide an excuse for snoozing at work the next day.
It will be a much more sedate affair tonight. The girls will be sound asleep, so I’ll watch the Mighty Mare alone. With a nice cuppa. And a biscuit.
But don’t be fooled. The cheering will be just as loud as anyone in a pub or racecourse bar. Getting up at midnight lets you do that. Go the Mighty Mare.