Everything is grey. Everyone’s the same size, same speed, same strength and everything runs like clockwork.
It’s like waking up to Sonny and Cher’s "I Got You Babe" on loop in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania over and over and over again … oh, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cold out there today. It's cold out there every day. What is this, Miami Beach?
Hilarious line from Groundhog Day, but the concept as a reality? Well, it’s grey. It’s boring. It’s monotonous.
There’s is absolutely nothing predictable about sport in this region in 2018.
Despite the comparable temperatures at times throughout winter, it’s as far from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania as humanly possible.
At the start of the year I’m often charged with coming up with predictions; what the ladders will look like at the end of the regular season; who wins the title; who stinks; who to watch.
It’s as fun as it is nigh on impossible.
And more often than not after I’ve completed the predictions, I’m immensely confident I’ve nailed each and every one of them.
I’m almost exclusively wrong, though.
This year, more than most too. It’s painful to admit.
There’s teams I’ve absolutely crueled (sorry Dubbo Roos, sorry Oberon, sorry Lithgow Panthers and sorry Wellington Cowboys) while others are flying, and it has to be because I pretty well thought they’d do nothing this year (you’re welcome Bathurst Panthers, you’re welcome Narromine Gorillas and you’re welcome Parkes Spacemen).
As sobering as it is to be wrong all the time, the fact just about every competition across the region in every code is throwing up curve balls every week is making the 2018 winter season one you just can’t take your eyes off.
I’m happy to be wrong if we’re getting dished up the the following every week.
Orange CYMS starting the women’s PLH competition with a 4-0 win over Lithgow Panthers.
New versus old and new sprung the upset. Few would have predicted that.
Orange Hawks flying high with four road wins to kick-off 2018 – the two blues then lost its first home game on Sunday.
Huh? I know, doesn’t make a lot of sense.
During the opening six weeks of Group 10’s season, Bathurst St Pat’s lost to Mudgee, Mudgee lost to Oberon, Oberon lost to St Pat's – make sense of that.
Dubbo Roos, Cowra Eagles, Forbes Platypi, Orange City, Bathurst Bulldogs, there’s absolutely nothing between these sides week-to-week.
Beau Robinson described the Blowes Clothing Cup as one of the closest competitions he’s been part of.
That’s coming from a former Super Rugby gun. I’m with him, too.
Nyngan went within a whisker of taking out the 2017 Group 11 premiership.
How good were the Tiges last season. They shaped up well in the off-season, too.
But on Sunday Nyngan lost to a Westside team that had previously suffered defeat in its last 24 games – the 24-22 victory over two years in the making, well done to co-coaches Claude Gordon and Matty Naden.
Parkes, too, I thought would battle minus prodigious fullback Sam Dwyer and sans retiring NRL legend Dennis Moran – they’ve won two of their opening three games, the only loss coming against premiers, the Fishies.
Naturally, there’s exceptions to every rule and initially in 2018, again, Dubbo CYMS looks to be one of those.
Both the Fishies and Orange Emus look to be morals to finish their respective Group 11 and Blowes Clothing Cup regular seasons on top of the ladder, based on early-season form.
But beyond that, and certainly below the top rungs of both competitions, essentially nothing is guaranteed.
And as a result I can’t look away.
I’ll be at Wade Park on Sunday for the Group 10 derby between Hawks and CYMS.
I literally have no idea who will win and I can’t wait for the weekend to roll around as a result.
Come along, just don't forget your booties 'cause it's cold … it’s Punxsutawney-cold out this way now every day.
THE TOP FIVE
A look back at the weekend’s highs and stars:
WESTSIDE RABBITOHS – “I’m proud as punch with the way the boys stuck in”, Bunnies co-coach Claude Gordon after his side snapped a two-year-long winless streak, on Sunday against Nyngan.
ORANGE CYMS HOCKEY – They’re back, baby. Playing in the PLH for the first time in over a decade, the green and golds stunned competition giants Lithgow Panthers by four goals.
CLASS CLOWN – Gifted Wagga trainer Chris Heywood with a second consecutive Parkes Cup triumph, the 2018 win by a length and with Heywood’s son Nick on board.
BRAD HEWITT – Trainer-driver guided My Casino Belle to victory in the $30,000 Red Ochre Classic Final (2120m) at Dubbo, nine days after setting a new track record at the venue.
MARITA SHOULDERS – Named the NSW Country Women’s Championship’s player of the tournament after guiding Central West to third. Well done, Marita.