A lot of people don’t get 1Eyed Eel. They see the argy bargy, the cynicism, the venting after each shitty performance, and they can too-quickly jump to conclusions about what the site is all about. Those that don’t get it, never get to learn that it’s actually one big family. A highly dysfunctional, often infuriating family, I grant you. But then what fair dinkum family isn't?
Unfortunately, the 1Eyed Eel family has lost one of its most treasured father figures, with the passing of the great Sir Col.
Supporting the Eels, you get used to your fair share of heartbreak, but when I popped in today to see how restless the natives had gotten following the Souths match and was greeted with the RIP banner… well, it’s the kind of heartbreak that genuinely does ache deep down at a level far beyond the realms of sport or footy.
I called Col last month when I learned he was sick. I wanted him to know how much I appreciated all he had contributed to the site over the years. He immediately threw back a couple of self-deprecating digs at himself and his senility and then proceeded to gush as to how terrific he thought 1Eyed was.
So you should all know just how much this rogues gallery meant to Col. And it’s clear from the outpouring of respect towards Col over the last few days, just how much that appreciation is reciprocated. It is a level of respect that is so thoroughly deserved, and I truly hope that his unreserved humility didn’t get in the way of him actually understanding just how highly regarded he was by us all.
Which is not to say that Col didn’t have his own complicated relationship with the site. He quit a bunch of times but his self-imposed exiles rarely lasted more than a few days. What I always appreciated about Col was that he was reasonable. When he would message me to complain or critique my moderation, you could talk through the issue and find common ground. He liked to talk up his age and supposed declining faculties, but Col was a deeply intelligent man and knowing that, meant you could speak to him genuinely and honestly.
Indeed on the few ooccasions, I felt Col stepped over the line himself, he would always reiterate what a dope the other party was and argue as to how his commentary was justified, before conceding he’d probably gone a bit far and apologising.
I can’t ever remember having to ban Col. However, he would periodically mistake his latest technical snafu as a potential banning before I would reassure him that no, he hadn’t been banned and we’d then try and work out what was causing him technical grief this time around.
For the most part, though, Col used his wit and sense-of-humour for good. And while he didn’t suffer fools - and many of us copped a pointed lambaste from Col at some point in time - he wasn’t mean or overly personal about it. Indeed, to the contrary - he was one of the most kind-hearted and generous gentleman I have ever deal with. It’s a little sad, and unfortunately ironic that I saw so much of that when he went so out of his way to make sure that Peter/Drop Bear had a fitting send-off, and subsequently the energy he put into promoting organ donorship.
On a personal note, Col always put his hand up to help me with whatever the latest project I was trying to flog at any particular time. He was a moderator for quite some time and he was hugely supportive of the constitutional reform process, the supporter coterie and other such initiatives we’ve attempted to launch through the site over the years. When the constitutional reform process was struggling, he even offered to fly down here to Sydney and do what he could for a couple of weeks to drum up support.
He cared deeply about this Club, its history and its future success.
So yeh, I called Col because I wanted to tell him he was appreciated. I thought I might be able to cheer him up a bit, too. I found him in great spirits and we had a chat that I enjoyed immensely. We talked some shit, and I laughed a lot because he really is a funny bastard. And then we got to talking about family, and at some point during that discussion, he became the one doing the counselling, comforting me as regards to my own grief issues.
Col was just a first-class bloke with an enormous heart.
So my kindest thoughts and best wishes to Col’s family. I hope they never minded too much that they had to share him with us. We were blessed that he fell into our family and he will always be remembered as one of our finest. I know every October when Orf Seezun rolls around, we will have an excuse to remember Col, to feel a little sad that he is no longer with us, but to appreciate him for the friendship and good times he shared with us all.