Possum's funeral, or as it was called, his "Prize Giving" was an event of mixed emotions. One minute you'd be laughing, then next an unstoppable tear would run down your cheek. I guess we all want to live forever but if we have to go, a "prize giving" like this has to be the way to go.
The saddest thing about the last few weeks is that Possum has probably done more to raise the profile of the sport by dying, than he did over many years of racing!! Some of us have been lucky enough to know he was an Icon, a national treasure and a really good bloke for many years, yet it took this tradegy for the nation as a whole and in more particular, the sports media to realize what they really were going to miss by his passing.
I had to cringe when I heard, read or saw so-called experts in sports stating "I never met him but I've heard....blah blah blah" And they like to think they are experts!!!!! All those years and they never bothered to chase him up for an interview, and Poss was the easiest guy in the world to get a story from!!!!
The outpouring of grief has been quite amazing. Similar to the reaction in America when Dale Earnhart died. Rugby Teams had a minute silence before kick-off, Parliament did too. Cars in the Australian Super V8 Series carried the Poss's trademark logo. The WRC event in Argentina acknowledged him. Then there were the front page tributes on every paper in the country, lead story on every radio and TV station....for days!!!! Suburu Dealorships nationwide closed for the day. It's like the old saying goes...."Ya don't know what ya got till it's gone"!!!!!!
I preferred to stand outside for the ceremony, figuring there were people with far more right than me to sit inside the 1800 seat auditorium. I was just an individual amongst the thousands out there yet in that crowd, within a few minutes of the ceremony starting, to my left and right were my old workmates from 15 years ago, 100% turnout from the old Rothmans Promotions Department. (All three of us!!!). The first time all three of us had been united since the Government banned our existence. Such was the drawing power of Possum.
I have some wonderful memories of my involement in sport. Some happy, some sad, some both. I remember once escorting the USA Fastpitch Team around the country and two members (both expat Kiwis) had me running around the town looking for Bluff Oysters (a local delicacy). We sat on the grass at a ball park while the pair slurped their raw delights. Within a year both Brendan and Steve had passed away. Brendan succuming to cancer and Steve in an auto wreck. Around the same time the company contracted Possum and Rodger Freeth for a photo shoot for the Company's Annual Report. We spent ages sitting in the grass on the slopes of Woodhill Forest laughing at the effeminate photographer pansying around trying to set up for the shoot. Now, they are both gone.
Funny how such little incidences in life can one day become such treasured memories. Possum will be remembered in different ways by many people. I'll remember he was a great driver, a good dad, son, brother, uncle, bloke. Most of all I'll remember our Gay joke session up at Woodhill.
I hope I haven't bored you all with my recollections of the man and his passing. I guess we all grieve in different ways.