I wrote this a while ago but never got around to publishing, so here it is:
It’s funny, how the majority of us can be enthralled by people who throw, run, catch or kick a ball. Leather or pigskin, it doesn’t matter. We love it.
We marvel at the athleticism, the freakish skills, an ability to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and vice versa. We love it when it goes right and we love it just as much when it goes wrong because then we become that exalted oracle of all that is good and true, otherwise known as the armchair critic.
We love the on field entertainment. But every now and then an elite sports person comes along who can be as entertaining just by opening their mouth and saying a few words. One of those people is an Australian rugby player called Nick Cummins.
To know Nick Cummins is to love him. But the hard part is the getting to know him especially if you don’t come from Australia. Nick Cummins speaks English but not as you know it. To follow what he is saying requires an understanding of the peculiar, eccentricities of Australian English. If you don’t have a grasp then you won’t know what the hell he is talking about.
Let me just lay a couple of Nick Cummins-isms on you so you’ll get what I mean.
Nick Cummins has a nickname. He is known as the Honey Badger. He was being interviewed after a rugby match and was asked how he came by the nickname and this is what he said:
“One of the stories that inspires me is that it is documented that a honey badger killed a lion in a one-on-one. What happened was that he clawed the canastas off the big fella. He just went one-two on the ball bag and the big fella has walked around the corner and fell over… that to me is outstanding.”
If you read that paragraph two or three times you might get what he is eluding to. Sort of. Possibly. The Japanese don’t. Nick Cummins is currently playing as a professional in Tokyo and the Japanese called him the Honey Budger, which is kind of cute.
But really, Nick Cummins needs to be accompanied at all times by a professional translator. Lucky for you, I speak perfect Australian and I am happy to translate his best quotes and turn them into something resembling English.
Quote: “I just saw the line, pinned me ears back and ended up bagging a bit of meat in the corner which was tops.”
Translation: I caught sight of the try-line, accelerated to the very limit of my abilities and managed to score, which was pleasing.
Quote: “Yeah mate I bloody was like a rat up a drain pipe in one of them runs there.”
Translation: I ran particularly fast in one instance.
Quote: “He was huffin’ and puffin’ and, mate he did well, he always does, he’s a tough rooster.”
Translation: My teammate was breathing heavily but he persevered. He always does. He is very hardy.
Quote: “I’m gonna have a truckload of pudding and uh, old mum’s good on the cook too so, Dad’s got the tucker ready over there and mum and dad are gonna work together and form a massive feed and I’m going to come in and dominate it.”
Translation: I intend to eat a large volume of pudding. My Mother is more than competent at the culinary arts as well. My Father is getting the food ready over there. The two of them will combine their talents to create a meal of sufficiently large proportions. Then I intend to devour all of it.
Quote: “I was busier than a one-legged man in a bum kicking contest.”
Translation: I was under extraordinary pressure because of the workload I was given during the match.
Of course when people hear Nick Cummins come out with this stuff they are a bit shocked but in a good way. To borrow an Australianism, the Honey Badger is a fair dinkum character and sadly there are too few of them.
But it would be too easy and unfair to describe Nick Cummins as a one trick pony when it comes to producing actions that we can laugh at and admire both on and off the sports field.
He is also a very devoted and loving son to his parents and his brothers and sisters. As a rugby player, Nick Cummins is at the very top of his game. He plays test match rugby for Australia. But very recently he turned his back on the game in Australia to play professional rugby in Japan but not for the reasons that you might think.
Yes he did it for the money. But not for himself, it was for his family. Nick Cummins’ father has incurable prostate cancer which has made him unable to work and that has been a considerable drain on the family finances. Nick Cummins has seven siblings, two of whom have cystic fibrosis, an incurable lung disease. So Nick has stepped in and stepped up. He accepted a lucrative contract but it will go to help the family during some very tough times.
Cummins has 40 thousand followers on Instagram, 34 thousand on Twitter and his match videos have millions of views on YouTube.
He is one of the few people who can win over an entire host nation on an Australian rugby tour with a few choice words said in a post match television interview.
While he’s been in Japan he shot some television commercials. You should check them out. Just like the old spice guy but way more funnier IMO.
So he is gone but not forgotten. Hopefully, he will be back soon to entertain us again. The world needs guys like Nick Cummins and not just because we like to watch a skilled athlete. He makes us laugh and that, is the best kind of medicine there is.