People ask what the highlight was and for me, simply being lucky enough to have secured such a sought after ticket was the biggest prize of all. It disgusted me when I read some online forums that people thought she should have had more giveaways, or wondering why men would have received a pearl necklace, and it actually made me a little ill. This was not what the spirit of the show was about; those who spoke these thoughts should have given their tickets to more deserving, devoted fans, as well all know there were so many who missed out.
While it was something special for my diehard Rabbitohs fan husband to see Russell Crowe, for me it was the amazing Anderson family who secured top spot in my heart. Struggling in the cruel face of cancer, and like everyone else, still trying to make ends meet to pay the bills, thanks to Oprah they are now $250,000 wealthier so that they can take the time out to be together, to heal together. Here is a 34 year old husband and father to two young boys just trying to survive and you’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by their plight. I will pray every day for his recovery, as, like Rachel, his wife said through her tears, boys need their father. I only have to think of how utterly adored my husband is by my son to understand just that.
The other A-HA moment for me was something that occurred when I least expected it. Screaming along in pure delight as sexy Bon Jovi rocked our stage, his lyrics suddenly struck me: “it’s my life, and its now or never. I ain’t gonna live forever”. They resonated in such a way I felt instantly altered and reminded me to look again to the Anderson family. It really is time for change, no one is guaranteed a long and healthy existence so why do we waste time existing when we should be living?
Mother Nature must obviously be another Oprah fan, because when you see our stunning Sydney Harbour and Opera House, postcard picture perfect, from the sky, with the 6000 colourful fans dotting the surrounds, you can’t help but suck in an involuntary breath of wonder.
We should be proud that our beautiful nation will be showcased to the entire TV viewing world, where 44 million people a week in over 140 countries will see the sights and delights of this great land, and inject a much needed boost to our flagging tourism industry. Like or loathe the fact that the government helped fund a small portion of this, it will be the most successful tourism advertising campaign of our time. Winfrey, a woman renowned for her Midas touch, lavished such plentiful praise on Australia that we would never be able to repay her. The truth is, in these tough economic times, we need a shot in the arm such as this. And in the form of the most powerful media mogul in the world, we got it!
Finally, thank you to my mum, for convincing me to register the husband for tickets, (knowing how desperate I was to be there), to my sister for playing referee by babysitting my son, and to my husband, who finally fell under the Oprah spell (despite his refusal to “woo-hoo” at any time – but don’t worry, I more than made up for his!). Tourism Australia head honcho, Andrew McEvoy, sat directly behind me so I made a point of personally thanking him for being so instrumental in making this dream of mine come true.
Lastly, Ms Oprah Winfrey – your generosity, your humility and your exuberant spirit of warmth will stay with me forever, and inspire me to surpass mediocrity. Whether it takes 2 years or 10, from now on I am indebted to you for reigniting a light so bright in my heart. So just like Bon Jovi sang loud and proud, I eternally pledge “ it is now or never – I aint gonna live forever, I just wanna live while I’m alive…”