Posted by Vietnam Swans on May 26, 2010
Dan Kindness, Warrant Officer at the Australian Embassy and Vietnam Swannie, reflects upon the recent ANZAC Weekend.
Saying the inaugural ANZAC Friendship Match weekend was awesome just wouldn’t do it justice. Having served in the Army for 20 years, which includes participation at a wide variety of ANZAC days from small country towns to the Australian War Memorial, last weekend was the greatest of all I have yet to experience. In fact, it was the greatest weekend I’ve had in Vietnam.
When Fabbo (Swannies National Prez) first contacted me about the idea for an ANZAC day clash in Vung Tau, I immediately knew this was going to be good and I wanted to do as much as possible to help the man who gives so much.
Linking Aussie Rules Football to this most sacred and important of days makes complete sense as the fundamental principles of the Australian military can be also found in Australian Football. It is about mateship, teamwork, training hard to fight (play) easy, mental and physical toughness, discipline, pushing yourself beyond your limits, escalation versus de-escalation (going when its your turn to go but playing hard and fair within the rules), exploiting gaps in attack while working tight in defence, tactics, strategy and leadership. Of all people, I think our veterans understand this and really appreciated the efforts that went into the Hawks vs Swans game in Vung Tau.
For me, playing a hard fought match in Vietnam in front of so many, combined with a tour of Nui Dat with so many interested people, and attending the Dawn Service at Long Tan could not have been any better. It’s an ANZAC experience I will never forget.
Equally important, Aussie Rules is about community and it was absolutely brilliant to see the Australian community come together. From a Hanoi perspective, the message that the Vietnam Swans were organising the ANZAC tour spread quickly and resulted in a massive response from a great cross section of Australians based in Hanoi. In the end, over 70 people travelled south, many never having met before.
Despite delayed flights and hiccups with transport, a real sense of camaraderie was established and it was absolutely amazing to see all the kids having a ball, while the parents got a chance to relax, make new friends and enjoy a great weekend. It was about family, friends, football and our appreciation of the veterans – a truly great mix. It was also the first time in my two and half years in Hanoi that I felt like the Australian community had come together.
The whole weekend had an amazing feel about it and is without a doubt, the best time I’ve had in Vietnam. I think many, if not all, will remember the trip for a long long time to come, and will appreciate the efforts of the Vietnam Swans to make it all happen. I really can’t wait until next year.
Go the Swannies!!!