By Tracey Matthies
PROLIFIC Leongatha author Dr Dan Eddy has had to take a different approach to the launch of his 12th book, Crimmo: The Peter Crimmins Story.
With a passion for writing about sports history and biography, Dan turned to social media to help get the news out about his 100,000-word story about the courageous Hawthorn rover and captain who died of testicular cancer aged just 28.
“His former teammates from Hawthorn have been happy to help out and I get them all to take photos, holding the book and we use that on social media,” Dan said.
“It’s been getting some attention which has been really good, considering we can’t have a launch or any of that stuff.”
It also helps that locals can find Dan’s book on the shelves in the Leongatha newsagency or order directly from his website at daneddybooks.com.
Dan’s book describes Peter Crimmins’ remarkable impact on the Hawthorn Football Club, his teammates and Australian football, from his on-field heroics and leadership to his off-field courage.
Dan found himself fascinated by footy history as a teenager before
finally plucking up the courage to have a go in his late 20s at writing the story of Essendon great, Dick Reynolds.
The pair met when Dan was just 15, sparking the future-author’s interest.
Since then, Dan has written about the Norm Smith medallists, Carlton’s larrikins and legends, champions of the game, North Melbourne’s Shinboners, key moments that have made the Essendon Football Club and more.
Dan likes to walk in the footsteps of his subjects and his approach to researching Crimmo’s story was no different, including a visit to the great’s hometown of Shepparton.
He also met with Peter’s widow, Gwen, and melded their tragic love story into his work.
“There were lots of different angles for this one. This was really challenging because there was the real emotional issue with it,” Dan said.
“I was very lucky that the family were willing to open up about everything, some pretty painful stuff.
“It’s tested me as an interviewer and a researcher.”
Dan acknowledges a sense of loss when he hands his manuscripts over to his publisher.
“You’ve invested so much. You love the phase, thinking about it non-stop, 24/7, sort of thought process so, sure, there is a bit of a sense of loss when you do hand it over.”
Fortunately for Dan and his legion of readers, he has more stories to tell.
He is working on the story of Peter Hudson and his son Paul, as well as the failed merger between Hawthorn and Melbourne in 1996.
“And then there are a few other potential ideas that I’m tossing around at the moment. I’m always looking for new ideas and thinking of new ways of telling things.”
As a sports history buff, Dan is already thinking about how we might look back on the AFL season 2020.
“I think we’re going to marvel at what they achieved logistically to get it done because we probably don’t appreciate that yet. Just hearing of some of the insights of those that were there, how they’ve kept it going, is quite unbelievable,” Dan said.
“It might depend on how quickly we come out of it. If next year is back to normal, this will be one miracle season, but if it becomes the new normal… year, it’s still an unknown.”