Ray Warren: The noise of rugby league retirement leaves a deafening calm

say Warren was just as much the feel of rugby league as it was the sound of it. He had been in contact with the game for so long and felt the game so deeply that it came through him. That hot rumble that ran through Warren’s throat as he rode the play – a drop of adrenaline that could turn into a stream in seconds – left fans grunting interventions, the excitement of line breaks, the downfall of defeat and purity bird. Record the joy of effort and triumphant sports fights.

After 55 years on the air, 45 major finals and 99 countries out of 99, “The Voice of Rugby League” has pushed the mute button of his career, after a shy week on Origin 1. This is a distinctively humble call from Warren to not chasing the 100th call for posterity. . Even five decades later, Warren experienced acute anxiety before each broadcast, for fear that he would make a mistake with the call and not realize it, harming an ordinary legacy that is rightly respected. He put the game and his fans in first place until the end. But the calm he leaves behind is deafening.

Of course, the game will continue and other commenters will name it as they see it. But no one rode the play like Ray Warren and no one watched the game and its fighters as well as he did. Fellow Brad Fettler believes he has never heard Warren criticize any player and marvels at the way he has always remained objective rather than subjective. That’s why players hurt too. Tens of thousands grew up with his voice in their ears and dreamed that the great Ray Warren would one day also call their name. When it came to rugby league, he was the standard vote.

Of course, he lent that throat to other sports as well – racing of all kinds, swimming too. The latter showed his patriotism and love for sporting achievements that is almost paternalistic. In the invitation to three Olympics, this love was shown even more clearly when he invited Susie O’Neill. “The red line is closer to her. Hold on to Suzy! Hold on to Suzy! Five to go. You will, Susie! yes! yes! yes! I did it! The dream came true! “

That’s why we’re going to miss him. Warren has invested in athletes and their pursuit of their dreams. Maybe because he has invested a lifetime in his dream of becoming a sports commentator.

This revelation came as he listened to the soft tones of a radio race caller echoing through Warrens’ weatherboard hut at Johnny’s on Saturdays. Six-year-old Warren shook his savings pot and gave the coin that came out to his father to bet with local bookmaker SP. While Ray rode on a broomstick, the sound on the radio was built from low to an explosion to call his horse home at the 1949 AJC Derby: a first 20-1 named Playboy.

Young Rae heard his call: to be connected. Thus began the story of Bradman’s origins in his beauty. Just as little Don was hitting a golf ball against a corrugated water tank with a cricket trunk for hours on end, Warren turned over a can of marbles and shouted their lead over the shattered floorboards of the family home he had with six older brothers and sisters share, splash. . Every day for a decade he does it, and the voice has grown with emotion and influence.

This is appropriate for Warren’s hometown, Junee, whose name is derived from Wiradjuri from the word “talk to me”. But he left home for professional training as an athletics and fitness player at the age of 17 to pursue a dream. While waiting for a break, Warren became a policeman. He was dux on his side, with the highest scores in the law, but he hated the spectacle of blood, he hated the bad news, and he hated hitting the SP bookmakers to whom he often owed money ( Warren did not stick to the proverb you can not bet and broadcast, and while he was young, he was productive). After causing a congestion of four cars on his first day as a traffic cop, Warren took a party with the Country Radio Network for a soccer call.

Ray Warren at Sydney Football Stadium. Photographer: Introduction by Channel 9

Warren was so determined to make remarks about his career that he drove thousands of miles across the plains of NSW after mid-week practice, matching players’ faces by name, so that when he set up his card table along the sideline. match day he was ready. Being a policeman honored Warren’s photographic memory, and when he turned it into a race, it was a revelation. Half a century later, he could still remember the ownership colors of long-dead heroes such as Tulloch and Kingston Town. The more connected, the better and easier it becomes. In a long career, he has never called the wrong horse out of position.

In the late 1970s, it was an important time that finally attracted him. By that time, he was at the top of his game and could crawl two flies against the wall as if it were a Wimbledon final. But at the height of his career, an old demon overtook him. Not to hit or drink, but the fear of flying. Warren, plagued by dreams of falling and always afraid of heights, refused to board a plane for the 1984 Olympics and fulfill his duties as a major presenter and expert in 32 sports.

Grid kicked him out shortly thereafter. Suddenly Warren is driving on the outer track again. “But just because someone takes a bike, does not mean you stop pedaling,” he would later say, “especially if you have a wife, children, and a mortgage.” So he went back to land, and kept beating, calling greyhounds, jellies, bluffs, and whatever. Sometimes he drove nine hours to call eight races for a $ 200 paycheck, but he did everything he could to put the binoculars in brackets. “I love it so much that I would do it for free,” Laghteh said. Kerry Packer heard him say this once and shouted, “Then give me my money!”

Packer brought him back to Channel Nine from exile, and he stayed there. He overcame a fear of flying, albeit only on large planes and always on flights after lunch, so that he could have a drink, all so that he could enjoy the work of Benji Marshall and Billy Slater and their ilk, and fans in a swell entered the game of voice as It ushered in new generations of commentators, analysts, technologists and wave after wave of young people running and dreaming with pigskin in their arms. this voice Recall their actions in the history books.

In the end, for all the millions of words he has given us, all the glorious moments he cries and all the phrases he has come up with— “Shake Shimmy Shake,” “It’s not an attempt, it is a miracle! ” Ray Warren signed to thank us, the fans, for “allowing me to share time in your living rooms.” As usual, it was the right thing to say at the right time.

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