“After covering Rocky′s career as a journalist for eight years I thought I had a fair idea of him, but I realized I hardly knew him at all. Rocky is like a modern day renaissance Man, a Leonardo da Vinci in studs. Apart from being one of the greatest Wallabies of his generation, Rocky is a musician, a philosopher, an entrepreneur and a pilot just to list a few of his pastimes.”
It turns out the description of Rocky as ‘a modern day renaissance man, a Leonardo da Vinci in studs…a musician and philosopher’ is actually quite close to the mark. G&GR has obtained an excerpt from the book that details the aftermath of the Wallaby victory over the All Blacks in Hong Kong, and it makes for quite interesting reading:
The Wallabies had finally triumphed over the All Blacks. The proverbial monkey had been kicked into Hong Kong harbour, and the celebrations were beginning in earnest in the dressing rooms. Rocky however was sitting silently in a corner, merely observing his surroundings and listening to the victorious cheers of his counterparts. He was usually silent in these circumstances, and he had the words of Diogenes ringing in his ears – “We have two ears and one tongue so that we would listen more and talk less.” He wished others would employ a similar policy. James O’Connor had taken charge of the team stereo and was blasting R&B music on high volume. The cacophony of noise was displeasing to Rocky’s ear, and he briefly thought of requesting a change in music to his personal favourite song for celebration- Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 in F Minor. But he thought better of it- he did not want to impose his authority too much.
Rocky was thoroughly satisfied with his own performance. Whilst he started slowly (he struggled to come to terms with the stadium’s harsh quasi-Merovingian architecture) he soon settled in to the game and an early try to Quade Cooper had the Wallabies on top. As the game wore on it was evident that the Wallabies stood a great chance of finally securing victory. As James O’Connor lined up the final conversion to win the game, many thoughts ran through Rocky’s head. He thought of the young, inexperienced head on O’Connor’s shoulders, and worried if he could pull off such a monumental kick. He couldn’t get the words of Immanual Kant out of his mind- “Experience without theory is blind, but theory without experience is mere intellectual play.” Rocky was no great fan of Kant (His main criticism being Kant did not distinguish between the concrete, perceptual knowledge of objects and the abstract, discursive knowledge of thoughts) but this quote was perfect for the occasion in his view. Much to Rocky’s surprise the kick went over and the celebrations began.
Back in the dressing room, Rocky heard someone in the next room shout “bring on the World Cup!”. Indeed by beating the All Blacks the Wallabies had conquered one of their greatest hurdles. They had learned to win on the big stage, and this knowledge would hold them in good stead for the big games in 2011. He recalled the words of Nietzsche- “He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying.” The Wallabies have worked through those stages, but certainly came close to flying today. Victory cigars were being handed out, however Rocky passed when he saw that they were poorly constructed Robustos of a brand he did not recognise. The players were getting dressed up to sample the Hong Kong nightlife at a local club, however Rocky had other ideas. He was heading to West Kowloon Cultural District to watch a local production of King Lear, with the lines spoken in the traditional Guangzhou dialect. Lear was not his favourite work of Shakespeare (for the record he is very fond of Henry V) however this opportunity was one he just could not pass up.
He loved the feeling of victory, and wanted more of it. Before he left the change rooms he stopped to write a pertinent quote from Schopenhauer on the whiteboard- “Victory is like sea-water; the more we drink, the thirstier we become.” Rocky tried to silence the crowd to explain the quote and perform a small poem he had written before the game. He managed to bring the noise to a halt and had all eyes on him. He began his poem and had the team hooked. Written in Italian it was well paced and he felt the anticipation in the room as he approached the final crescendo. Then Sharpie let off a huge fart and everyone cheered. It wasn’t easy being a Renaissance Man.
The publisher’s page for the book is here, and it goes on sale on 1 August. Apparently it also includes a few of Rocky’s artworks (all cubist masterpieces, I have heard), and his recipe for the perfect Coq au Vin. Should be a good read.