We made it.
It’s a strange world when you feel appreciative of the regular struggle of existence. 2020 and 2021 were such a hell-scape that the facade of normalcy we managed to bolt on to existence this year was a much appreciated break. Nothing easy (as screamed by Zaza Pachulia) went from being a statement of fact to a personal rallying cry; a wink and a nod at the idea things could be, and have been, worse. Life, as it is wont to do, instead just went on, and we scurried along behind it, picking up the fortune and farce it threw our way.
Whatever you want to call normal started to poke it’s head above the parapet. People went back to the office. They went back to sport. They went back to concerts. They met each other in public places. I had beers with some of you rad people. We learned to be around other humans again. I went back to the footy. Twice. Once I saw James Schiller trick the Storm like he was Loki. The other time Matt Timoko threw thunder at Cameron Munster like he was Thor. It’s weird to feel so thankful for such ‘regular’ occurrences, but then hey, the Milk will do that to you.
The Raiders, for their part, gave us the best version of a ‘normal’ Canberra year. They weren’t world beaters, and they frustrated through the first half of the season. But by the end of it all, a finals victory felt like a rare gift – it may as well as have been 2012. It wasn’t a refuge to hide ourselves in (like 2020) or the worst-case-scenario of 2021. It was just good. Flawed, but good, and like this year, enough that hopeless optimists and protective pessimists might think there’s something for both the Milk, and humanity more generally, to build on.
It was pleasing we weren’t the only weirdos making amateur content (no not like that you sickos) about the Raiders. Nothing makes me feel more normal than the podcasts that drop into my podcast app throughout the week. The Green Machine Podcast and Raiders Review with Blake and the Pork both continued to go from strength to strength. Far out man, the GMP cracked 200 episodes, which is a phenomenal achievement. Blake and Tim passed 100. Bourkey’s Top 10 still provides the kind of insights that we could only produce in our dreams. And of course the O.G’s at the Greenhouse, who own the most hardcore Raiders home on the internet, let us spam their Facebook group and who produce a heap of incredible content themselves (if you haven’t checked out their 40 years and 40 games series then you are missing out).
I’ve no doubt there will be new content providers coming to cover the entry of the Raiders NRLW team, and if there is anybody that wants to help us cover the Raiders women’s team in written form, please reach out. I’ve only got so many typos in me per day. We don’t pay well (or at all) but ah…that’s all I’ve got. And to think once upon a time I used to complain there wasn’t enough coverage of the Milk. Hash tag blessed.
In these pages we definitely pulled our weight. When you look back at the grand scope of our output – 217 posts, near 240k words on the Milk, it’s actually unnerving. Normal people learn a language, or fix-up a car, or something useful. I tap away at this goddamn screen like it’s going to be my personal saviour. And for all that, if you measure things in metrics this year was less successful for us than last year. I’m going to blame the relative lack of controversy around the Raiders this year, and a bit of normalcy allowing people to get on with actual life, rather than read the rantings of a budget George Plimpton with no talent and less editing skills.
Shouts, as always to Rob. The best human I know took a step back this year, yet still found time to edit some horrid typo or unfinished sentence. He’s a king. If you ever meet him hug him. He deserves it.
Clicks or no, sometimes when I sit down to type out whatever verbose prose that comes out late at night, I pour myself a whisky and think about the rare privilege it is to write these rambles and have people care. We started back in the day thinking we were taking over the world, and instead have settled into something a lot more real. That you wonderful folk appreciate that we try to shine a different light on a topic you already know inside and out, is such a gift to us. I still get giddy when I get the nice comments, the likes, the positive reactions to the words put together in these pages. There’s still no better feeling than writing something and it actually just coming out how I wanted it to. It doesn’t happen often – your favourite bits are ours too – but when it does it’s like that perfect shot on the golf course. Entire lives can become dedicated to finding that moment again.
It’s enough to keep us coming back, despite the fact that *this* year has felt more tiring, more draining, than even the most chaotic of those past. I don’t know if you can feel it in the air, but my admittedly sheltered vibe is that people need a break. The last few years have had just too much…everything. I think we all need a moment. Just take a breathe, we had such a long, long way to go. Take whatever break you get and squeeze a hug or two from the people you love. Embrace those days. You’ve earned them.
And thank you. Enjoy a ‘normal’ break, as much as such a thing exists.
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div dir=”ltr”>I find your analysis a lifeline to Raiders news and performance. I spend over half the year
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I get your analysis sent to my email address and it’s always a pleasant surprise when something new arrives. They are always a great read, so thank you so much for the time and effort you put in.