Tough Choices based on Stats

Data for decision making.

We have been looking at primary data for decision making so for this blog I’d like to challenge you with two choices.

As is my want, I usually can relate uni stuff back to sport and in this blog, I’d like to highlight two choices with one single statistic for each choice and would like you to tell me which is better.

So here it is.

We’re looking at cricket (standard procedure for those who have read any of these blogs) and we will determine once and for all who the best batsman of all time is and who is the best bowler of all time based on one stand-alone statistic.

Round 1 – Sir Donald Bradman (Aus) and Sachin Tendulkar (Ind).

Tendulkar is widely regarded as the best bat since Bradman.Sachin He is the leading run scorer of all time in Test cricket. And that is the stat we will look at. He scored 15,921 runs, the only player to pass 14,000 test runs. His stats outside this one number are equally impressive when talking about being a child prodigy through to the longevity of playing 200 Test matches, the only player to do so.

Bradman is regarded as the greatest cricketer ever. The one stat we will look at is his iconic average of 99.94. This means that every time Bradman was dismissed he would have, on average 100 runs to his name.
Many believe this mark will never be bettered, unlike Tendulkar’s tally which could be beaten if the right genius comes along.

For fair comparison, Bradman played most of his matches against strong English sides, on uncovered pitches and without the bat technology of today.
Tendulkar had his chance to play against Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and to a lesser degree Sri Lanka who have all struggled in the test arena. His bats were custom built and grounds now have a cast of curating staff.

Based on the above and that these are the only choices, would you say Bradman or Tendulkar is the greatest batsman of all time?

Round 2 – GeLohmann.jpgorge Lohmann (Eng) and Muttiah Muralitharan (SRI)

Lohmann was considered the best bowler of the pre-WWI era and holds the record for the best test bowling average of any player who has bowled more than 2,000 balls. His average of 10.75 runs per wicket will, in my opinion, never be matched. The closest of any current day player is South African Vernon Philander who averages 21.85 runs per wicket.

Muralitharan has the most wickets of all time with 800, one of only two bowlers to claim 700 wickets and three that have passed the 600 mark. For this exercise, we will look purely at the number of 800. These were taken in an 18-year career.

Like the batting comparison, Lohmann benefitted from uncovered pitches in the 1880s and 90s with batsman using the best bats of the day which are not a patch on the bats of today with the technology that goes into making them.Murali.png
Murali had to contend with covered pitches, although some might have been doctored to suit him and bowled against nine of the top 13 leading run scorers of all time.

Based on the above and that these are the only choices, would you say Bradman or Tendulkar is the greatest bowler of all time?

Finally, just for fun, it seems that batsmen have a gifted run when it comes to the greatest player of all time debate so here is one final challenge.

Can you argue, on the stats above, that the bowler you picked is better than the batsman you picked and that he is the greatest cricketer of all time?


As we dig into statistics a little more in this course we might have a little bit of fun with sporting numbers to keep us amused as we go.



Assertive Communication

Assertive Communication

I love it when uni lessons give me a totally different perspective on something, even more when I don’t necessarily agree with it.

In week two material from the Professional Communication subject I’m in this term, we have been Assertive.pnglearning about assertiveness and the use of “I statements” and the “WISH” method of communication.

Cast aside the horrible acting in the clip (below) and drill down to the fact that assertive communication is very important and something that I practice every day.

Assertive communication is demonstrated through good body language, knowledge of a topic, clear speech and a positive attitude toward what you are saying. This sort of communication is used daily in presenting training material, responding to questions from colleagues or family and I use it every Saturday umpiring cricket.

The use of “I statements” to put you in a position of assertiveness was discussed through the course material but I feel this would only work in some cases.
In work, “I believe” is perfectly fine when you have been asked for an opinion. “I think you should…” could work with the kids when you need them to go to bed or brush their teeth but in the case of a fast bowler who has lost the plot on the cricket field, “I statements” might enflame the situation.

ShoaibPicture this.
A fast bowler, let’s call him Trent, is edged for four runs through the slips three balls in a row and shouts profanities at his team mates, loud enough that Mrs Jones watering her garden across the road can hear it. How do you respond?
I argue that saying, “Trent, I think you need to calm down” or “Trent, I think that language is inappropriate” brings you and your feelings into the game and does not allow you to respond to the incident at hand without an emotional mindset.

In this case, to my mind, using body language like palms facing the bowler, out in front of the body and a phrase like “Trent, that will do,” or “Trent, you’re on thin ice,” or even, “Trent, we won’t hear any more of that, will we?” would work better. You are being assertive by using the players name, directing the communication square at him, and outlining that his behaviour is unacceptable.

As for the WISH method, check out the clip at this link and tell me if you reckon it would work on a fast bowler who is in a bad mood.

For those who skipped the clip, WISH stands for

I find/feel

Leading with “Trent, WHEN you swear really loudly, I FEEL it brings the game into disrepute. SO, instead of yelling profanities, HOW about internalising your frustration?”

Yeah…nah, I can’t see that working.

For starters, this many words in this sort of tone will no doubt cause the angry fast bowler to think you are patronising him and will lead to more issues to deal with.

But give it chops for being another acronym that it professed to work in most situations but much like other four letter acronyms, they have their limitations.

I’m really interested to know if you have had any experience with assertive communication and has it worked for you trying these methods. I’m open to suggestion and looking forward to how the rest of this course plays out.



Questions in Music

Over the last few weeks without any uni topics to write about we’ve looked at a couple of heavy topics so today, the last blog before uni starts again, I thought we could have a bit of fun.

Hands up if you like music!

You don’t have to love it. It could be just listening to the radio in the car through to having a band logo tattooed on yourself somewhere.

I’m a great believer in the Michael Franti and Spearhead song that Everyone Deserves Music.

And thBaha Menrough all the pleasure music has brought me, it’s left me with some unresolved questions that we can have a look at. We will never know Who Let the Dogs Out?

And why the Baha Men were so keen to find out and we probably won’t find out what Meatloaf won’t do in I’d do Anything for Love.

We can certainly speculate and these songs have been the subject of hundreds of column inches over the years since they were written.

I’d like to look at my favourite song and one that I speculate over all the time when I hear it.

Written in 1963 and synonymous with the great Johnny Cash, Jackson was first recorded in that year by Billy Edd Wheeler. Also recorded by Frank Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood in 1967, this song was recorded in February 1967 by Cash and his soon to be wife June Carter. It reached number two on the country charts and earned the pair a 1968 Grammy Award for Best Country & Western Performance Duet, Trio or Group.

It tells of a couple, who very much like Cash in his hazy days of drugs and being a touring musician, were married in a fever but the spark had gone from the relationship causing the male protagonist to want to go to Jackson.

While it was not known at the time or publicly divulged by the writers, Cash and other artists, including Charlie Daniels, speculated that the song is about Jackson, Tennessee. This is a city of 67,000 odd at the 2012 census, located about 110km east of Memphis, Tennessee.

Jackson VinylWhat grips me about this song and leaves me thinking a question is unanswered is the ending of the song where it repeats the first verse where the writers have started the song and ended the song with the same climactic line. This to me says that the couple in the song, much like the lives of Cash and June Carter were on the brink of not having the happily ever after.

Cash’s character wants the fast-paced high life a city can offer, he speaks in delusions of grandeur and womanising and how much fun city life will be, to which he gets a retort from his wife.

In the final verse, June’s character also reveals she will be going to Jackson, which is where my question is.

If both of them go to Jackson, as the song says, do they reunite and live happily ever after?

The romantic in me who has had delusions of grandeur believes that June’s character is a calming influence on the outlandish Cash and that by coming to Jackson and living a fast lifestyle, under the watchful eye of June, the couple do make it. Much in a case of life imitating art, the couple become inseparable and the move reignites the fire within that as hotter than a pepper sprout at the start. This is why I always refer to Sarah and the “June Carter to my Johnny”

Do you have other songs that have posed questions?

Please leave a comment or share this post asking the question and see what you get. You might have people asking if Doctor Jones woke up in the 1997 Aqua song of the same title.

Did you write the book of love and do you have faith in God above? Was asked by Don McLean in American Pie

Has Fanny Lumdsen won the War on Pride? Fanny Lumsden.jpg

Music takes us into a different dimension and songs that linger in our minds and become our favourites are the best of all.

Grasp Your Opportunities

At work, we recently invited every umpire in the Cricket Tasmania Premier League to complete a survey and a resounding number came back saying there needs to be more practical training.

It’s a common request from umpires looking to improve. To that end we set up a practical session and invited every umpire in the south of the state to attend – we got eight.
Eight from a possible 142 umpires could see their way clear to turn up to a training session that was called for by the very people who didn’t attend.

It got me thinking about opportunities and what people can do when an opportunity presents itself.

There is a Zac Brown Band song with a line “But you only get one chance in life to leave your mark upon it, when a pony he comes riding by you better sit your sweet ass on it.”

So, are we making the most of our opportunities?

It’s not just about turning up to a training session here and a theory session there, are we getting the most out of ALL the opportunities that present themselves?

I’ll share with you the story of Bob.

Bob came to us wanting to be a cricket umpire. He played a billion years of cricket, actually until he was 60 years of age. After having a few years away from the game, he thought now was a good time to get involved again. He attended the Laws School we run in the off season, the Community Officiating course (old level I), thBob.jpge one day seminar, the new umpire practical training day and completed the exam. He basically did everything that was asked of him and then did more in his own time to get the most of the opportunity to umpire Premier League cricket. Bob has been to almost every theoretical training session and last week was one of the eight who attended the practical session.

If I was to sum up Bob’s first season as an umpire, I’d say he has grasped every opportunity he has been given. He has worked with some very experienced partners and has learned from each of them. Bob’s dedication has allowed him to scale the ranks and has found himself in Third Grade after little more than half a season.

The take home from this is that everyday life allows you to learn and is an opportunity to;
a) get better at a certain task, or
b) be a better human.

Metro Bus Driver.jpgYou can get better at any task you think of in daily life.
Want to be a better communicator? Try using positive and encouraging language when you are talking to the bus driver or service station attendant.
Want to be a better listener? Talk to a child and hear what he/she has to say?

The point I’m labouring a bit on is that opportunities present themselves all the time to be better at what you want to improve on, the key is to grab these opportunities by the short and curlies and run with it.

Be like Bob.

When the Black Dog Barks

I’ve mentioned depressive phases in the last couple of weeks in these blogs but wanted to share my own personal experience over the last month.

The giddying high of a manic episode can invigorate and have you thinking the world is your oyster. Harebrained schemes to make a lot of money, write a best seller or move to outer Mongolia are all part and parcel of what I call “tipping”.

In some episodes, I have dreamt about all sorts of things from writing, directing and hosting a tele show for which I will win a Gold Logie through to how possible it would be Gold Logieto win the Brownlow Medal. These are fanciful dreams but in the haze of mania they seem totally achievable. The psychiatrist calls these “delusions of grandeur”. He might be right. In fact, if you haven’t already done so, check out my blog “This could get personal” and see what other ideas come from manic phases.

But what happens when things go the other way. A phase I call “spiraling”.

I had a situation in the last month where things had spiraled. Basically, since all the hurly burly of Christmas. I had no idea what was going on other than lethargy had set in and I had no desire to interact with the outside world.

Not being able to just wish it way and feeling like I would be a burden on those around me to open up, like I should bloody do, I decide to write a letter to the two people who know me best. It was an open letter and here is an excerpt from it.

“Is it malaise, depression, desperation or even despair? Who knows? I certainly don’t.

I’m tired. I’m tired of the day to day, dealing with people. I really struggle with people. The world is full of freaks and weirdos and for some reason that I don’t know, they gravitate to me/us.

There are precious few people I genuinely give a toss about in my current state. In fact, one of the highlights of my day, every day, is when I lock the front door. It’s a simple lock that I’m sure any master criminal could probably pick, just press the handle down and the world is locked away. The freaks and weirdos can’t get me. I take someKnee Deep.png pleasure in the symbolic gesture of shutting the world away. As I do it, every night, I can hear the opening line from a Zac Brown Band song, “Knee Deep”. It starts, “Gonna put the world away for a minute, pretend I don’t live in it.”

In recent days, the song has changed a little bit. Not that the Zac Brown Band song has been replaced, just a Jack Johnson song has been added to the routine. “We got everything we need right here and everything we need is enough,” from the song “Banana Pancakes.”

It’s so true. I feel more at peace when it’s just me, Sarah and the kids. They are my world. There might be a handful of family and friends outside that but when all five of us are home, I’m home.

The last couple of days have been rough. Stirling and Zara have gone camping with Sarah’s sister and her family. I love that they are having a great experience but I miss getting a high five from Snuffo as I come home from work or a big cuddle from Oodn. I know they will be home soon but I feel lost without them here.”

The open letter goes on to round off with this paragraph.

“I’m tired of wearing the suit. When I’m dealing with the freaks and weirdos I have to wear a smile, put on the suit and go into public like nothing is wrong. Well, something is wrong. I can’t put my finger on it but I want it to stop. Through the last four years of knowing the red wire and the blue wire need soldering, I’ve found ways to get through periods of mania or depression but this seems bigger than me. Do I need to see a doctor, do I call Lifeline, is walking the dog the answer or do I allow myself to withdraw from the world, ha2017 CMA Music Festival - Day 2ve some time off work and just sleep? Or at least fish? Do I get away from the game and people for a little while? Do I need to concentrate on holding my own? As the Eric Church song says, “Tell the world that I’ve gone missing and I won’t be back for a while.”

I want to take the suit off and just be me. I want to get another tattoo, sleep in late, enjoy living in a place with no mobile coverage and fish.”

Luckily, with a strong support network I have been able to function in daily life, understanding that despite the spiral I have responsibilities and need to pull on the suit and get into it.

I’ve been here before and survived. Only once have I been past this point and was lucky to survive. I think that using words on paper I was able to arrest these feelings of the spiral and keep on some sort of path.

I’m not to the point where simply walking to check the mail is an achievement and know there are heaps worse off than me at this point.

What can you do?

There is “R U OK day” where we are encouraged to check in on our mates but maybe you can be the catalyst for change in a mate’s life. If the suit they are wearing is starting to fray and come apart at the seams, ask the question. Even when things seem great, ask the question. You might just find that a mate is in trouble and your question could, without sounding melodramatic, save a life.

Attitude and Teamwork

Attitude and Teamwork

This is the first criteria International cricket umpires are assessed on. Above match management, above communication and even above getting decisions correct.

So, why is that?

Attitude is something that requires no talent at all. Adjudicating an LBW or caught behind correctly does take a bit of skill in terms of collecting all the information from the delivery to correctly decide if a batsman is out or not out. But attitude is a way of life and is something, that is widely regarded as something that can’t be taught.

I beg to differ. Much like any life changing campaign like giving up the fags, losing a bunch of weight, eating healthy options or studying, learning to drive or play an instrument, an attitude toward what you are doing can become learned and then become subconscious. Attitude.jpg

What is needed is passion. If you genuinely are interested in something your attitude towards it will reflect how keen you really are.
In the last three months I have seen people with poor attitudes succeed where they shouldn’t and this is blind luck on their part, but I have also seen people with great attitudes excel.
One such example is of a new umpire in Hobart who came to us this season having played the game for many years and wanting to be involved. He attended every training session, new umpires’ day, seminar and studied for the exam. He has gone from getting a start in the lowest grade available to now being in third grade with selectors considering him for second grade.

This fella had no discernable skills and a basic understanding of the Laws of Cricket but what he lacked in technique at the start and knowledge of Laws and Playing Conditions he more than made up for in attitude and application to the task of becoming a cricket umpire.
He was passionate about wanting to do the best he could and has shown over the last three months that he is a person of great interest and esteem among the group of new umpires this year.

Teamwork is the other part to this assessment criteria. This can be measured in so many ways but I’d like to focus on the notion of team.

A team is something greater than an individual. You could have the best individual players in the world in any sport but without teamwork the whole exercise fails.

So, how can you display good teamwork?

There is a host of ways but using the thought that the team is bigger, the easiest way to demonstrate teamwork is by turning up in the colours of the team.
This may seem very trivial but how often to you see Manchester United players lob into training or a game in gear that is not approved by the club?

What would happen if Formula One World Champion Lewis Hamilton decided to wear an Ed Hardy shirt to a press conference instead of aLewis.jpgpproved team apparel?

Could you imagine Australian cricket captain Steve Smith batting in the nets in a top he picked up at Rebel?

By wearing team colours you are submitting yourself to the team and are demonstrating pride in the colours and what the team/club/organization stand for.

By not wearing the colours, you display that you are not fully behind what the team/club/organization are trying to achieve and the ethos of the group.

Would the team/club/organization be happy to see its members walk out in Doc Martin boot and a mini skirt? What sort of example do those who are not team players set for other members of a team/club/organization?

Dressed as one, the members show they are true believers that the organization is bigger than themselves.

Consider having attitude and teamwork number one on everything you do. From recruitment to staff assessment and even assessing your friends. If you have stress in your life caused by others, look to see what sort of attitude they have and if they would work with you as a team when the rubber hits the road and from there you can determine if a certain individual is worth your time.

Attitudes can be taught and they can change.

This Could Get Personal

When do you know you need help?

The lack of university stuff to write about has given me the chance to explore a couple of topics that have been bubbling away for the last few weeks, this one is a beauty.

Quite often, as in my case, someone who needs help will not know they need help. It could be help with homework, a work routine, a hobby, building something or something life changing.

Help takes many forms. In my case, needing help was related to mental illness. I did not know I had a problem until each of the below stories had played out. These stories were not individually a cry for help but the first three were used as evidence that help was needed while the fourth was the catalyst for change and a better life.

I’ll tell this story to anybody who will listen in the hope that my experiences will set them on a course to get the assistance they need.

  1. I brought a house. With no consultation with Sarah, I had a great idea to buy an investment property in the Tasmanian mining town of Rosebery. Seemed like a great scheme to make some money, cashing in on the mining boom. I was earning the big dollars, the whole reason for moving to Gladstone in Queensland, and wanted to invest it rather than, well, literally, pissing up the wall. With barely a hat tip to the missus I went ahead and purchased a cheap three-bedroom in Rosebery. Signed the paperwork, got into debt and set about building an empire based on the casual wages I was earning. Two problems, I was on casual wages and when the contract Rosebery.jpgbetween the Central Queensland Ports Authority and the dodgy mob I was working for ended, it was not renewed. I should have seen that coming. The other problem was there was no mine activity in Rosebery at the time and the place sat vacant for the six months we owned it. We ended up selling the property at a loss. Manic idea #1.


  1. I brought two cars. With no consultation with Sarah, I had a great idea to buy us a new car each. We had travelled to Gladstone in a 1975 Toyota HiAce with a Viscount caravan bolted to the rear end to become Clancy the Camper. Since arriving in Gladstone we had made do with a 1984 Mitsubishi Sigma named Sonny which was a horrible little car to drive but very cheap to buy and run. I soon got jack of its temperamental nature and decided it was time to upgrade. With Sarah at work and having no input to the process at all, I purchased a 2001 Mazda Metro 121 and a 2004 Nissan Pulsar with the plan for me to drive the Pulsar and Sarah to drive the Metro. If any of you have met my dearly beloved, you would know that she is six feet tall and fitting Clancy.jpgher into a Metro was like a human origami lesson. So, we swapped cars. The final nail in the coffin of this little story was that Sarah was at work at the time waiting for me to pick her up from the dodgy neighbourhood where she was employed. Manic idea #2


  1. I drink drove. I’m sure a lot of you reading this have been behind the wheel at some stage more than the 0.05 the policeman says you can be and I’ve done it on several occasions. Not so much in a “Drink drive you’re a bloody idiot but if you make it home you’re a bloody legend” more a conscious decision knowing that if I got caught I deserved all that came my way. On this occasion, I had been on a bender and was up all night with a mate cleaning the fridge out. At 8:00 I thought it was a terrific idea to go and get a coffee from the local bakery. Without any thought of my safety, the wellbeing of my passenger, the risk of being busted or what Sarah wouldGendarmes.jpg think, we piled in the car and got drinks. It took us 45 minutes to travel six kilometres, order coffee and return. I have no idea where we went or how we got there such was my haze. I difference between this DUI and others was that I would have felt genuinely aggrieved and hard done by had I been caught by the gendarmes. Manic idea #3.


  1. I went on a cleaning frenzy. This sounds like a legitimate thing, A good old fashioned spring clean can do anybody the world of good, but this went too far. When in a manic phase, sleeping is quite often optional. Remember that all these things happened prbroom.pnge-diagnosis. One April night I was having some troubles sleeping and at 2:00am decided I’d use this insomnia to clean out my shed. Perfectly innocent is a mental kind of way. The issue came when Sarah came into the shed and found the fire place burning well and me sweeping the floor…in the nude. This was to happen on another occasion and was the catalyst for calling my GP and having a long and in depth conversation and referrals were made and followed through.


I will tell you this funny little story that came from this very emotional and confusing time. When I went to the psychiatrist he asked me a million questions about my behavior, sleeping habits, relationship and financial affairs. After ticking ALL the boxes this nice African doctor said, “Do you work?”
“Yes, I’m a hockey coach,” I replied.
“Well,” he said, “I’ve never met anybody as crazy a s you with a full-time job before.”

I’m not saying this is a case of poor me, feel sorry for me and that rash decisions are all made in some form of manic haze but in my case these behaviours could be explained by an undiagnosed condition at the time.

I feel I am able to share this with you as readers of this blog as the blogs have given me the chance to express myself over the last 12 months on a range of different topics and that mental illness is a passion of mine. The taboo topic of mental illness is starting to come into the mainstream and people are talking more about it. Celebrities, footballers and work-a-day folk are all coming forward to talk about their conditions and how it impacts their lives.

Since being told I have “Brain Gout” (as it used to be called!) we have had a third child come into the family, started a new and very rewarding job and am one third of the way to completing a bachelor’s degree. This is a far cry from being distant and irritable with the first two kids, having 18 jobs in 16 years and not studying anything other than reruns of The Simpsons.

I encourage you to share this blog, as if just one person reads it and goes forward in life then baring my soul in text has been worth it.