On these pages we have shared many tales about Touch over the years, but this one, while a little dated, is right up there with the best.
It is a heart-warming story of two sisters who answered a random email, jumped in their car and lifted the spirits of an entire community.
The essence of the yarn came from Greg Norman, son of Wal and Joan and brother of Jenny Astri who went through South High, and who regularly updates me on his son Peter and his latest exploits with the Australian team.
Last week he wrote with results of the Trans-Tasman series in New Zealand, and included in the email was this amazing story.
It seems Peter’s partner, Danni Davis, who is a star of the Australian Women’s team, received a note out of the blue from a young touch player in Dunedoo last year.
Danni takes up the story on her blog.
“Last year I received a private Instagram message from Dunedoo Central high school student, Lauren Sullivan. A few months earlier Dunedoo had been hit with horrendous bushfires that tore through the region, destroying homes, land and the hearts of the Dunedoo community.
“Lauren’s message was simple. She reached out to see what the chances were that I could make the trip to Dunedoo to lift their school Touch team’s spirits as they were training for the upcoming top ten state tournament.
“She said in the message that if I couldn’t make it she would understand and asked me to send a message instead.
“Straight away I typed ‘Dunedoo’ into my maps and told my sister Shellie about it. I contacted Touch Football Australia (TFA) to see if they could provide me with some gear to take and give to the school to help with their touch programs.
“Shellie and I made the trip to Dunedoo, where Lauren and her family hosted us on their farm. What an experience that was!
“Dirt roads, acres upon acres of open land and some animals to go with it! It was absolutely incredible to experience the country, being a born and raised beaches girl!
“We ran a session with the Open Girls team and gave a speech to the girls in years 7-12. We helped the league tag team train that evening, and the following day helped run a touch clinic for all the girls in the school.
“It was honestly an eye-opening experience for me, and I am so happy I took the leap of faith and decided to go. I hope one day I find the time to go back and take Pete with me.
“The Dunedoo community was so respectful and generous and Shellie and I are so happy to have experienced what their town has to offer,” Danni said.
This is an amazing country, made all the more amazing by sportspeople like Danni and Shellie who show generosity unmatched, and maintain our eternal hope.
I have already suggested a return to Dunedoo and the west for the girls from the beachside with their touching friend who grew up in the bush.
We may be able to build it around Touch, Men Of League and Bowls!
BTW – The Mixed team won game 1 and 3. Danni’s Women’s team won their first two Tests – the third was cancelled due to the amount of rain. The Men just won the first game, lost the second by 1 and the final Test went to overtime. Peter and the Aussies ensured the Trans Tasman Trophy came back across the ditch in a drop-off, where teams and our drop-off restart with only five players and lose one at allotted intervals.