TODAY marks the official opening of Sunshine Coast Stadium. The long and drawn out battle to redevelop Stockland Park has been waged and won by the good guys. The spoils of victory – a sparkling new, $10 million 1000-seat grandstand befitting the region. No one lobbied harder for the project than Gus The Snail, the official mascot of The Daily’s Give Us a Stadium campaign. Steve Zemek sat down with Gus The Snail for a revealing EXCLUSIVE interview.
The Daily: How did you become involved in the Give Us A Stadium campaign?
Gus The Snail: When I came on board, the push to build the stadium had been going for a while. We’re not sure how long exactly. The earliest records we can find of a proposed stadium at Kawana date back to the Triassic period. Archaeologists have found cave paintings depicting a local councillor promising to build one, but we’re not sure how old they are. We’re still waiting for the carbon dating to come back from the lab.
TD: I’m not sure that’s accurate.
GTS: Whatever. The point is it was calculated that in the time the debate had been going on, I – a common garden snail – could have nearly circumnavigated the country. Don’t you get exaggeration? It’s a very common and acceptable literary device.
TD: So what did you do in protest?
GTS: I embarked on a cross-country journey to see how far I could get before they completed the stadium. I got the idea from that movie Forrest Gump. Have you seen it? Great stuff. It’s got that guy from Big in it. Forget his name. But one day he just starts running for no reason and becomes a national sensation.
TD: Did your protest have the desired result?
GTS: Well the proof is in the pudding, isn’t it?
TD: What are you going to do now that your quest is over?
GTS: What, do you think I’m happy with 1000 seats? I’ll always be here campaigning for the stadium to grow bigger and better.
TD: Are you hoping you will be honoured in some way?
GTS: I’m probably not supposed to say this, but I understand the media room at the grandstand will be named after me. I was hoping for a bronze statue outside the gates, but I was told that was not feasible. Pfft. Wally Lewis gets one, but not me? Serious. I saw the other day that Shane Warne was getting a statue at the MCG. I’m at least three or four times as prolific as Warnie. Maybe more.
TD: How do you figure that?
GTS: My wicket count. I took 2100 wickets for Glasshouse in the Sunshine Coast Cricket Association. I once bagged a 20-wicket match. No one else has ever done that. I also played 40 games for the Sunshine Coast Stingrays. I was in the centres. Caleb Ralph was playing outside me. At least I think it was Caleb Ralph. They’ve got so many Kiwis in their team nowadays, I get them confused.
TD: Any last words?
GTS: What happened to that Paul Munnings guy who used to work at your paper? I loved Munners On Monday.
Sunshine Coast Daily, 3 June 2011