The last time I was at the Christchurch Grammar playing fields was in 1986. I was there to watch my nephew play hockey. He was a good player but the game of footy on a lower oval distracted me. It didn’t take long to notice it was being being dominated by one player. At quarter time the opposition coach had just one message for his players: “Keep the bloody thing away from Lewis.”
It was easier said than done. The Christchurch player was Chris Lewis, he’d play league footy for Claremont that year and in the AFL for West Coast the next. At kick-ins he’d linger casually at about centre half forward. The full back would kick-in long and wide and Lewis would mark it. It didn’t matter if the next move forward resulted in a behind, Lewis would have the ball again soon enough. And if it was a goal he’d win the the next clearance. I reluctantly drifted back to the hockey. On the way home I answered questions.
“Did you see my goal?”
“Yeah it was beauty. Talk me through it.”
Lots of good sportsmen have come through Christchurch. Stuart MacGill was playing hockey that day. Ric Charlesworth, the greatest hockey player, went there. So did Luke McPharlin, Tony Evans, John Annear and Eric McKenzie.