Canberra is home to its fair share of celebrities – people like the guy from the Magnet Mart commercials and a couple of chicks who auditioned for The Voice (but didn’t get onto the show). We also have politicians, who are always friendly and NEVER drunk, as well as a plethora of sports stars, both current and past.
Most Canberrans will tell you about the time that they “saw George Gregan, you know, back when he was, you know, playing for the Wallabies, you know, at the Hyperdome” or when they were working at Maccas and “in walks fucking Big Mal who orders like three Big Mac meals. Fuck man, he’s big!”
I have had the pleasure of standing behind former Canberra Raider Brad Drew at an ATM (don't worry if you don't remember him), as well as sharing the Mooseheads dance floor with former Canberra Raider Luke Davico. I have also bumped into former Canberra Raider Jason Croker whilst crossing the street (he almost got hit by a car), and spoken to former Canberra Raider Paul Osborne several times at Woolworths.
HOWEVER, my favourite personal story about a Canberra sporting celebrity involves no former Canberra Raiders players. It centres around Lauren Jackson, WNBA and WNBL superstar. At the time, I was working a job which basically involved me going to buy alcohol for everyone who worked with me on a Friday night (I may have had other duties during the week, but I pretty much ignored them). During one Friday afternoon adventure to the shop, my mission was to purchase two cases of beer and a bottle of wine for the thirsty punters. I hefted the slabs into my bony-girl arms, awkwardly balanced a bottle of Chardonnay under my chin and joined the line at the check out.
It wasn’t long into my vigil that I realised that I may have over-estimated my upper-body strength in my attempt to hold up 48 bottles of beer in my hands (and a bottle of plonk shoved into my throat) for an extended period of time. In order to take my mind of the crushing weight of our Friday night drinks, I decided to concentrate on the things around me... such as the behemoth of a woman standing in front of me. I recognised her immediately - Canberra doesn't have a lot of giant blonde women who wear "Canberra Capitals" basketball shirts with "Jackson" written across the back. Standing a good five or so inches above me (to be honest, I have no idea how much an inch is, but five inches sounds like a pretty good measurement to stand over someone who is by no means a short person edit: after some Googling, yes, she is five inches taller than me. Take that, metric system!), she appeared to be struggling with a few bottles of Coke and some orange juice. “Pffft,” thought I, as sweat from a new gland opened up under my chin, making that fucking bottle of white wine just that little bit harder to grip with my face, “Lozza Jackson, one of the best female athletes (in Canberra) can’t even hang onto a few bottles. I hope she turns around and notices my awesome feat of strength, then gives me a million dollars because I am awesome.”
Lauren Jackson did turn around. Indeed she was struggling with her drinks. In one hand, she had eight litres of mixers (four Cokes and the OJ), and in the other, she neatly held two cases of beer and a bottle of vodka (this happened just after the Capitals won the premiership, or whatever they call it in women's basketball. I am not saying that Lauren Jackson is a raging alcoholic). When she paid the cashier, she put down the mixers so she could hand over her money. She didn’t even think about putting down the two slabs in her other hand.
It was at this point that I decided to nickname her “Two Slab Lauren,” and I would make banners for her basketball games. I would be her biggest fan (and she would give me a million dollars because I am awesome). In the end, none of that happened, because I don’t particularly like basketball, women’s basketball even less, and I never saw her again. But in those few moments that we lined up together at the Lyneham IGA, I’m pretty sure we could both agree that it was a great moment in Canberra’s history.
"Two Slab" Lauren, as she likes to be known