Mick Collis is one of those cheeky Aussies – one who has done something that most Aussies guffaw at but cheer aloud.

You see, Mick wanted to be an Australian Rugby player. He wanted to play for the green and gold, all his life as he was growing up. But it wasn’t the rugby that he was most concerned with, it was representing his country that he was most passionate about. When he realised that he would never be one of the top players in the country, sent abroad, listening to the national anthem while he stood in front of a crowd of thousands, he started to see if there was another way to represent his country.

Mick tried a lot of sports. He tried being an iron man, but got lost at sea. He even tried lawn bowls, but couldn’t beat others of any age.

One day, Mick happened on Sudoku and a dream was given shape. Mick would form the Australian World Champion Sudoku team. The only problem was that he had never played it.

Mick CollissMick is another of my fellow speakers with ICMI. You can visit his website at www.mickcolliss.com . He has written a book called Full-Contact Sudoku (link to the Amazon site) which is a pleasant and humorous semi-autobiographical recount of his formation of the Aussie Sudoku team. Mick’s got a great story to tell, but the interesting thing is this:

Over a two decades’ period, Mick never gave up his dream of playing for Australia. And so he travelled down a road with lots of twists, turns, obstacles and attractive parking spaces that would try to prevent him from reaching his ultimate destination. Mick kept at it and saw chance encounters as a way to re-orient his travels and pick up speed toward his achieving his goal. He just had never dreamed, as a young man, that it would end up happening the way it did.

It’s a cheeky, but warm-hearted story, filled with great anecdotes, friendly self-denigration and a respectful look at what makes champions of all sorts – Sudoku included. It’s fun to listen to him tell his story too and inspiring in a “I could never be like an Olympic athlete, but I could certainly be like this bloke” kind of way.

As Mick says in his book, “I didn’t cover myself in glory, but I had a go. And, to me, that’s what being Australian is all about.”

Some Roads are Twistier than Others

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