Sport early days memories

Sport at Marcellin - Stan O'Loughlin

Marcellin accepted me in 1951, a year after I had seen my first football grand final between Essendon and North Melbourne. John Coleman was my hero, even though I barracked for Melbourne. All I wanted to be was a footballer like Coleman or Dick Reynolds. In 1952 Marjorie Jackson won two gold medals at the Helsinki Olympics. All I wanted to do was run like her. Later, I went to some of the Melbourne Olympics, and saw Dawn Fraser and Murray Rose win gold medals for Australia, and then I wanted to swim fast, but could only do the dog paddle at that stage. Despite my enthusiasm, I was only mediocre at sport. Sport played a big part of school life at Marcellin. Every Wedensday afternoon we all were herded off to play football at Rathmines oval, or South Camberwell, or wherever the brothers could find a venue. In summer it was cricket and swimming, and later in the year, athletics, culminating in a sports carnival where the march past was more important than any race one may win. I managed to get into the age group teams for football, swimming and athletics, but was a fringe dweller, only being included as a last resort. Brother Bertrand stood out in my memory as a coach. When Marcellin got the wooden spoon in swimming the first couple of years, he organised swimming squad at the Brunswick baths on Saturday mornings. He made us go up and down the pool on kick boards, and stood at the end with strap in hand, to stimulate us to higher things. The next combined swimming carnival saw Marcellin rise form eighth to third. He also produced the strap at football. If we were behind at half time, those who were playing poorly got a crack or two. I often wondered why the AFL coaches did not take a few hints from this methodology.  I managed to represent the school in swimming in my last three years at school, which was my only real sporting success. However, I dreamt often of being a good footballer and crack sprinter, and faster swimmer, but these were wishes that were never fulfilled. Nevertheless, I loved sport at school, and still remember with fondness my few successes and many failures. It stimulated me to look at swimming more seriously after school. I competed in butterfly at University, and later completed seventeen Pier to Pub, and many other ocean swims to a reasonable standard.