Article written by Matt Dunn, which first appeared in The Paper. It can now be viewed on Dunn and Dusted. To view original article, click here.
Two things become immediately apparent when you read Dan Eddy’s Crimmo:
- The late Hawthorn legend Peter Crimmins was as tough as old footy boots.
- Eddy, a Leongatha-based author, is one of the best biographers in the country.
From beginning to end – including Crimmin’s untimely demise – this masterwork paints a picture of a man, despite his diminutive stature, who could only ever face the world head on. Whether diving into packs, shirtfronting much larger opponents or staring down the cancer that would ultimately claim him, Crimmo was the fiercest of competitors.
Far more than just a treatise on football, Crimmo – despite the tragedy that looms – is a celebration of the human spirit.
For those who called Peter Crimmins a friend, there was no greater ally. For those who celebrated him, there was no greater hero.
According to Crimmo’s close mate – 1967 and 1969 Hawks best and fairest Bob Keddie – Eddy’s is “an exceptional book”
“It’s not just about a guy who died tragically. It’s a book about Peter’s lifestyle, his attitude toward success and winning, his leadership right across the group and the way in which he embraced everyone,” he said.
“If there was a moment he felt he needed to throw a comment toward someone to smarten them up, he didn’t hold back. That was one of the things I respected and admired in him.
“You can so often shuffle around the truth, but it’s far better to know the truth – because it either makes you better or tells you that you don’t belong. With Crimmo, there was never any suggestion he didn’t like you, it was all about what needed to be done in any given moment.”
Keddie said that Crimmo was always keen to “set the example” for others to follow, whether leg pressing 450lb, doing extra training when other guys had already hit the showers or welcoming new players to the club.
“We were always amazed with the strength and the power of Crimmo. He developed a system in his brain and his body where he simply bounced off opponents. He never went to ground,” he said.
“Guys twice his size would line him up and he’d bounce off them and turn around and laugh at them. That was a gift.
“There was no doubt that he was hurt at times, but what it did was make opposition players realise you weren’t going to put this little bloke out of the game unless you knocked him out. And there were a lot of players knocked out in those days.”
Eddy said he had been “overwhelmed by the reaction” to the book, with Peter Hudson (another friend and teammate of Crimmo’s) and Richmond and Essendon great Kevin Sheedy among a host of football luminaries heaping praise upon the work.
“I think people have been enthusiastic that the story has been told in the way that it has, with such raw emotion and honesty – something I was striving toward when I wrote it,” he said.
“You never really know how you’ve gone until other people read it. You need to be a bit removed from the project. I’m extremely proud of what I’ve been able to produce.”
Meticulously researched, Eddy said the three year project was only made possible through the generosity of Peter’s wife Gwen, who kept everything ever written about her beloved husband.
Crimmo’s late parents Bryan and Merna did the same. Eddy said the resultant collection was a treasure trove of information.
“In these weird times when we can’t go to libraries and conduct usual research, I was fortunate that so much of the material was in one place,” he said.
“Putting it in order and creating a story from it, was the process I took. I was just so lucky the Crimmins family gave me every little snippet of information on Crimmo that was ever written.”
He said that he “lived Peter 24/7 for three years”.
“It was really hard at times. There were moments where I was writing and crying at the same time, because of the way the end of his life plays out and the people who are left behind and the emotion they shared with me,” Eddy said.
“There were some really tough times, but it just made me love the process more. And made me love Peter and his family more.”
And next on Eddy’s writing agenda? Hawthorn goal kicking machine Peter Hudson. It’s a case of letting things take a natural course, with one story sparking the next. Besides, there’s a big tale to be told.
Following Crimmo’s example, Eddy is ready to dive straight back in.
To purchase a copy of Crimmo, visit Dan Eddy Books or click the image below:
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