The desktop screensaver I’m looking at is of the happiest child in the world. She smiles in her sleep, nestled into her father’s hairy chest. Many readers would love to be there, as he is the Golden Boy.

It was the end of the first year of my mature-age physical education degree when I was first attracted to the eyes that illuminated the being inside. Their twinkle marked the start of a Cheshire cat grin that had women across all year levels drooling.

Angular features, a great body and a personality that was so well liked I have never heard anyone in 22 years say anything negative about my closest friend.

There were many reasons for envy. A stable family life, filled with outdoor adventure locally and international travel as a teen. High grades accessed any tertiary course in the land while his quick wit has dried a little after years of drought.

He was a successful sportsman — a single figure golf handicap at 18, good at tennis, capable at Aussie Rules, gridiron and hockey, accomplished on the athletics track in all disciplines and no slouch in aquatic sports. He could bowl and bat in cricket, played baseball and danced when it wasn’t fashionable, bushwalked, kayaked and took his bowling indoors.

Until we started gymnastics he outperformed me constantly. It was such a moment of sadistic pleasure seeing the Golden Boy wince in agony during flexibility sessions.

It was time to try some of my specialties: his tennis arm was lethal on the squash court, yet occasionally the match went my way. Volleyball was my forte due to a better vertical jump. Hours of pool training put my swimming level with his.

We developed friendly sporting and academic rivalry. Without him ‘donating’ his 100 and 200m track times to my poor performance, I would never have passed the athletics unit with a B.

He was the first person I told I was in love with a boy — after we had double dated with our previous girlfriends for two years. Christmas Day was spent at his family’s home, and I was in his bridal party.

Although he has completed seven Ironman events, travelled, and recently become a dad, he is the person with whom I have the conversation without end. Sometimes it’s months between calls, with two Golden Girls competing for each moment. Every word is precious.

Yet it seems we never really ‘hang up’, continuing the phone call forever. My partner and his are great friends, though both complain they don’t see enough of the ‘Sydney-side’ of the family.

Friendships of value and sincerity await you at one of Team Sydney’s member clubs: www.teamsydney.org.au

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