Issue 4 - The Wednesday Waffle

Looking back is fun... in some situations

In this week’s newsletter:

👀 The Pros and Cons of Reunions
It’s not advisable to live in the past, but it’s nice to do it for a day

👍 The Wednesday Waffle by The Numbers
Wowsers - we ticked over 2M views and 200K likes

🗣️ A Friendly Challenge
Small talking to someone other than a taxi driver

👕 Merch Madness
Can a community really exists if it doesn’t have cool tees?

👀 Looking back is fun… in some situations

Last weekend I gathered with former footballing teammates to spend the day reminiscing about the 2004 Bendigo Football League grand final. We were a young and talented “Dragons” team that went in as underdogs against our decorated “Bulldogs” opponents, who were winners of the previous two grand finals. The stakes were high for both sides, with them standing to achieve a historic three-peat, and us having the chance to break a 21-year premiership drought.

Personally, I’d been a fan of the club long before I entered the playing ranks, joining my Dad as he followed the side around central Victoria on many bitterly cold winter weekends to watch his brothers (my uncles) wear the maroon and blue for The Sandhurst Football Club. But despite their combined 400 plus games playing and coaching, neither of them had tasted the ultimate success of a premiership victory, falling heart-breakingly short. It was a fact I knew all too well, and a list I hoped to avoid being added to.

Thankfully, after a tight too-ing and fro-ing tussle for much of the match, we ran out victors relatively comfortably in the end. Had we not, you’d never have heard about it, because this glorious catch up wouldn’t have happened. It was our twenty-year premiership reunion.

A photo of a photo

One of the quirks of the sporting world is, however, that you don’t get to commemorate a season’s successes, in terms of growth, friendship, and fun if you haven’t won the ultimate prize. It’s not considered appropriate. That means if your team are behind as the final siren / buzzer / whistle blows, it’s been a collective failure. The blood, sweat, tears, like the year itself, are wiped from history and the bond created by those in the locker room is not deemed to have been not worthy of revisiting in the future.

if your team are behind as the final siren / buzzer / whistle blows, it’s been a collective failure

Me, moments ago

While harsh, this scenario is something players from both teams sign up for and use as motivation. The chance to reminisce together periodically is as coveted by the side that salutes as any piece of silverware on offer. In fact, sitting back now, basking in the glow of a beautiful day spent with ex-teammates that figuratively filled up my (premiership) cup, it’s far more valuable than my winner’s medallion. But outside of footballing triumphs, there aren’t a lot of guilt free opportunities to reconnect and reminisce with people you achieved a common goal alongside. One famous exception is the high school reunion.

Despite being immortalised by Romy and Michelle, these graduating class catch ups don’t feel like they have the same allure. I definitely wasn’t driven by the thought of reuniting with my ceramics class a decade later when I sat my end of year exams. So what makes these school gatherings different?

I invented Post-its and No-shows

For me, there’s a level of stress and anxiety associated with revisiting that era and those people. Even though I loved high school, and remain friends with many of my classmates, I nonchalantly skipped my ten and twenty-year reunions.

Back then, my reasons were that I see the people from school I want to all the time, and I already know what everyone’s doing and what they look like thanks to Facebook. There was more to it though. Reunions are not exclusively fun, fond and familiar.

10K - the amount I spent at the tuck shop

These events can be a return to a time or place that some people have long tried to forget. They can be a call back to a version of oneself they have left behind, and no longer identify with. They can invite reflection and reignite a whole host of insecurities as well. There’s any number of potential drawbacks. In my case it was a combination of things.

The thought of stepping into a room full of old acquaintances is daunting enough. Add to that the potential for long periods of meaningless chitchat and you’re in my version of hell. This irrational fear of small talk has been a topic of conversation in numerous therapy sessions, but I’ve never riffed with my psychologist about whether my aversion to it is because it’s often about the big stuff. I don’t know that I have much to offer there.

Despite feeling like my lot in life has largely been by design, I know I have some insecurity about it

An insecure man, in a moment

“How’s the wife and kids?”
“I’m unmarried and don’t have any.” 
“Where do you live?”
“Inner city.”
“That’s nice, you must be doing alright?”
“I’m renting.”
“How’s work?”
“I quit my job.”

Despite feeling like my lot in life has largely been by design, I know I have some insecurity about it. So there’s little wonder why I’d not love the idea of repeating each of these things over and over to a collection of former classmates.

So why are all of the above reasons not an obstacle with ex-footballing friends?

I think it has to do a little with who I was then, and how that relates to where I might be now, amongst these two fairly different cohorts of people. In my graduating class, we’re all the same age, and at the same point in the game. It makes our lives highly comparable. Whereas with the footy group, the age range spans almost twenty years, so there’s less basis for comparison. That means less spotlight on my insecurities.

On Saturday, 18 of the 22 players from the 2004 premiership team gathered together, travelling from every corner of the continent to be there. It meant a lot to everyone. Those that couldn’t make it are still alive and well, vowing to be in attendance next time. I look forward to seeing them again. I’m now even contemplating attending my thirty-year high school reunion. There are still a few good years of therapy to help me get there.

Did you attend your high school reunion?, If not how come? Email [email protected] - I’d love to hear about it.

Wednesday Waffle by The Numbers

In the past week the viral Wednesday Waffle video went to new levels, edging towards two million views and over 200,000 likes. There’s also been 67,000 shares of the video and more than 2K glorious comments.

The 90 second clip, that cost exactly $zero to make, has been played for over 17,000 hours… whereas the 90 minute movie I wrote, that cost $1,000,000 to make, has been seen by about 200 morons on IMDb. Unreal isn’t it.

But that’s not all.

Enjoying my 17,157 hours of fame

There was another major milestone last week, when I mentioned the video to my psychologist in passing. Amazingly she was already familiar with the Wednesday Waffle concept after someone told her how positive it was and that they were implementing it into their life. A truly mind blowing turn of events.

Shoutout to Wolfgang the sole German waffler

Thanks to everyone that has sent, and continues to send, a Wednesday Waffle video to their friends and family. It’s a real buzz to have you as a part of the world’s friendliest community.

If you know someone that should be a part of it, but isn’t, sign them up to this newsletter here and help make their world that little bit friendlier.

This Week’s Friendly Challenge

Given that I’m the world’s worst small-talker, this challenge is for me as much as it is for you, because I need to develop the muscle.

Your challenge, should you wish to accept it, is to engage in some polite chitchat with someone you don’t know. It may be a shopkeeper, an *Uber driver, the posty, or a publican - it doesn’t matter. Just make an effort!

I promise you that I will but I can’t guarantee I’ll like it.

*For whatever reason taxi / Uber drivers are people I’ve never had a problem chewing the ear off.

An artist re-creation of me after appx. one sniff of a beer

We Got Merch and it’s Pretty Cool

Realising that the hallmark of any good movement is the merchandise it’s community kit themselves out in, we’ve taken the plunge.

After plenty of deliberating, and more research than I did in two seperate stints at uni, we settled on this online store so it’s as cost effective as possible for Wednesday Waffle fans all around the globe.

Expect to see me glamour modelling the range in the next issue. To show some love, look debonair, and support the newsletter, grab yourself something nice. It looks good every day, especially Wednesdays.

For more colours and designs, head to the store here.

Even Google knows

Feedback is a Gift!

I hope you’re enjoying The Wednesday Waffle! While this issue pointed out the massive number of people supporting the concept on TikTok, we have just a micro-fraction of that receiving this newsletter.

If you know someone that might enjoy this in their inbox each week, feel free to sign them up here.

To send feedback, introduce yourself or send me an idea for a future issue, email [email protected] - I’d love to hear from you.

Until next Wednesday, keep waffling!