But I digress.
What interests us today, seeing as you ask, is documenting when sporting tattoos go wrong. It is in the news at the moment because of the story that has just emerged of a Richmond fan who was so thrilled with the Tigers’ win in the Grand Final that he got what he thought were the geographical co-ordinates of the club’s home ground tattooed into his right forearm: 37°49’19.9”S 144°59’17.9”E.
Alas, alas, the poor bastard. When his wife put a photo of it on social media, others pointed out that he got a couple of digits wrong and for the rest of his life his arm will be vaunting the virtues of . . . the MCG car park.
Look, it happens.
A scouring of recent news stories talks of the Paraguyan runner who got Tokyo 2020 with the Olympic symbols tattooed on his calf, just before the Tokyo Olympics were called off . . .
This was at least a little more explicable than David Beckham having his wife Victoria’s name misspelt on his arm, in Hindi, as “VIHCTORIA,” as one of the forty tatts he carries.
(And just let me be a North Shore dickhead for one more moment, please? Forty tattoos, David? Seriously? Like, FORTY tattoos? Did you have nothing better to do with your time?)
But I digress.
Sometimes sportspeople do regret going over the top, with no better example than the aforementioned Adam Reynolds, who was recently quoted saying, “If I had my time over again I would probably be a cleanskin. I think sometimes, ‘What an idiot’.”
But then he went on.
“You’ve got to make sure you love it before you get it. I want to get my whole back removed and start again . . .”
I know, I said!
Misspellings are the most incomprehensible of the lot, because you’d think at least the tattooist would check. Todd Carney has these exact words inked on his back: “Life’s to short to wake up in the morning with regret so love the ones who treat you right and forget the ones who don’t.”
I want to get my whole back removed and start again.
South Sydney’s Adam Reynolds
Not for nothing would David Gallop reportedly say to Carney, just before he allowed him to return to the NRL: “And one last thing. Don’t get any more tattoos.” Carney replied: “I won’t. I just need to get a few of them coloured in.”
He did. So did Josh Dugan, who got so many tatts, a reader swore that his torso tattoos bore an eerie resemblance to the carpet at Goulburn RSL … almost as if he had been lying down on that very carpet for a long time, for some reason?
Meantime, somewhere out there is the former Penrith Panther fullback Jarrod Sammut with, and I am not making this up, “Justify Your Existance” tattooed in large letters across his chest.
Most tragic is the Tele report that it was “two weeks before he realised the mistake,” and I choose to believe this must have been because the other Panther players were just being nice, and agreed not to tell him of the error. And you can’t make me say different!
I can, however, at least quote David Campese, who was asked at a rugby lunch a few years ago, exactly what rugby league players had brought to rugby union, only for him to reply, deadpan: “Tattoos.”
In cricket, I stand to be corrected, but I think the most famous tattoo story goes to Michael Slater, who was picked to make his Test debut at Old Trafford in the First Test of the 1993 Ashes series with Brendan Julian and he assumed that because Australia batted first and he walked out in the first minute of the opening day, he was Australia’s 356th Test cap and Julian was the 357th.
He was so certain, that he got the number 356 tattooed onto his torso, and it was nearly a decade later before the Australian Cricket Board could bring itself to tell him he was actually 357, because when players made their debuts together the number was allocated by alphabetical, not batting, order.
Fortunately, Julian took one for the team, and his team-mate, and with a little negotiation with the ACB agreed to be the 357th for perpetuity. All good, and so much easier than getting a correction. Perhaps the most famous yarn in that genre is Johnny Depp once having “Winona Forever” tattooed on his arm in honour of his fiancé Winona Ryder, only to decide to change it when they broke up to . . . Wino Forever, which proved to be a lot closer to the mark.
It wasn’t a Win-Win, but it was the best he could do.
Anyway, enough sneering unpleasantly at the mistaken tattoos of sportspeople.
We have to pick some new curtains, and are excited about it. She wants beige. I want pale and stale, with a sniffily superior air about them.
Peter FitzSimons is a journalist and columnist with The Sydney Morning Herald.