Football Diary – Part 2

2017 – A Year in the life…. (cont…)

 

26 March Round 1, Sandringham at Princes Park

Finally, it’s here.

It’s funny, I’ve never looked forward so much to a football season starting.

The result – not good.  A nine goal loss.  Could have been worse.

Perhaps should have been worse….

Sandringham are too big, too strong, and too good.

Oakleigh, are how I thought we’d be; good at the top, but severely lacking at the bottom.

It’s only one game, though….

Him?

He was good.

First quarter he attacked it, took it on a bit.  Nice!

Second quarter he probably wasn’t as tight as he should have been.  Still okay, but just let himself down a touch.

Second half he was as good as he could be, given the circumstances.

The backline just got hammered, thanks to a pretty ordinary midfield.

Again, they were too big and too strong when the ball is coming in with ease.

Not a great result, but something that didn’t surprise me.

At least he was solid.

And how’s he been, ‘personability wise’?

It wasn’t great leading up to that game.

The expectation of wanting, and demanding, he be dropped off, and then picked up, at any whim.

I always thought the world revolved around the sun.

I’m not sure he is of the same belief….

 

2 April Round 2, Eastern at Princes Park

So, after a week that involved recovery at Oakleigh on Monday night, training at Oakleigh on Tuesday night, some kind of psych test for Vic Metro at Maribyrnong on Wednesday night, training at Oakleigh on Thursday night, and then the usual Saturday morning game preview / we haven’t seen you for 36 hours / just making sure you haven’t been out on the piss on Friday night, meeting, we had the opportunity to head back to Princes Park to try and make amends for last week.

Not that I thought that was terribly likely…..

The boy seemed nervous in the car on the way in.

I quite like it when he’s like that.  It usually means he’s focused on the game.

Anyway, it turns out I was both right, and wrong.

He was focused, and he had a pretty good game.  Probably had the most possessions in any TAC Cup game he’s played.

Spent more time a little further up the ground across halfback, took it on a couple of times, made a mistake or two, but generally pretty solid.

And the team?

Well, they were up and about from the start.  And their first half was as good as I’ve seen an Oakleigh team play in the last 12 months.

They dropped away in the third quarter, but came back and finished off the last.

Which was exceptional, seeing as they were down to just three on the bench.

So, one and one, is far better than none and two.

Good signs; it may not be the ‘long’ season I suspected it may have been.

And the other good piece of news this week, the boy is eighteen tomorrow!

Wow, it looks like we finally got there.

It’s interesting though, part of me is slightly disappointed about that.

Who would have thought, after all those years driving him around…..

 

5 April

He’s 18.

And, he has his license.

His world, and mine, have changed.

I think for the better.

I think……

He wastes no time in driving himself around, even venturing into Fitzroy for an ECG examination for Vic Metro.

He appears at Zerbes later in the afternoon for Phil Meade’s wake, and that’s the first I’ve seen of him today.

He quickly disappears, and the next time I see him is at Carlucci’s restaurant for dinner, with Dad and my sister’s family.

Dinner done, he heads to the Cherry Hill to meet some mates.

Returning home at about 10.00pm, he heads straight to bed.

Hmmm, it’s been fun celebrating his birthday with him……

 

9 April Round 3, Calder at Craigieburn

Well, it’s always a pleasure to head out to Craigieburn.   Especially when the forecast is 17°C and 20 – 40 mm of rain…..

And, it didn’t disappoint.

The game quickly degenerated into a ‘get ball, kick ball’ affair, and by the time the last quarter came around, it was just a case of ‘please don’t get injured’.

Won by something like seven goals, but the only thing they got out of it was the four points.

And the boy?

Played his role, again. Down back, again. And fairly deep, again…..

Seems to be getting a little disillusioned, which I can’t really blame him, as I am too.

Which is sad.

Doesn’t help that he spent the last five minutes of the first quarter on the bench, and then at least the first five minutes at the start of the second quarter, doing the same.

So, a good 15 – 20 minutes off the ground, in the rain, in what he wished was 17°C.

When he asked the coach at quarter time if he really was starting the next quarter on the bench, he received a ‘look at the board!’

Yep, don’t really blame his ‘disillusionment’……

The good news, however, is that as his disillusionment increases, his persona seems to be improving. It’s making him far easier to be around.

Yep, he, and us, are having a good week.

This does, however, have me slightly concerned……

And as the week goes on, it gets even better.

He’s even tidying his room!

Yep, getting real worried now….

 

14 April (Good Friday) Vic Metro vs Vic Country trial game at Princes Park

A trial game.  Bit like a practice match.  I really don’t enjoy them.

But, it’s an opportunity, and just another little step along the way.

A couple of minutes in, and he’s in the action.

A spoil on the half back line, followed by a hard tackle, followed by winning the ball, and then a quick handball off to a team mate.

Good?

Brilliant!

Could not start better, and hopefully this is the beginning of a good game.

It’s not.

As brilliant as that bit of play was, the rest of the first half is just……., well, just ordinary.

Aaaaargh……..

Not sure what happened at half time; I did ask after the game whether it was taken orally or injected; but he came alive in the third quarter.

He wasn’t brilliant, but he was having a real crack.  Man possessed, perhaps…..

His last quarter wasn’t quite as good, but it was a vast improvement on what he’d shown in the first half.

He seemed pretty happy with his game, I on the other hand, felt pretty flat about it.

I also came to the realisation that, at the moment, I’m not really enjoying this year.

I’m sick of the draft being mentioned, and I’m sick of being asked questions about it.

It seems like it’s a bit of a foregone conclusion, and that annoys me.

Unless everyone else knows something I don’t; and that’s highly possible, even probable; as far as I’m concerned, he’s a chance.

Nothing more.

And, in my eyes, he’s more likely to not get drafted, than to actually get drafted.

One week at a time. One week at a time……

And the rest of Easter?

Hardly saw him.

Well, not entirely accurate.  We did see him once or twice when he was hungry.

Not even sure he slept in his own bed at all, over the whole weekend.

And still haven’t managed to have a ‘legal’ drink with him yet…..

 

21 April Round 4, Bendigo at Bendigo, Friday night

Who organises this fixture?

I suspect someone that has absolutely no other commitments in their life, as well as having no understanding of what ‘normal’ families have to deal with.

Anyway, being a 7.00pm game, we left home at 2.30pm to ensure we were there by 5.00pm.

Allowing a little extra time was a good decision, as the drive involved a fair bit of traffic, as well as copious amounts of rain.

It really was a fun drive; that seemed to take a ridiculous amount of time; but perhaps not for Lisa and the boy, as they snoozed a fair chunk of the trip.

I was left to amuse myself; white knuckles gripping the steering wheel, eyes squinting and straining to remain on the road.

About the only time I was spoken to was when I was told I should have the headlights on, and then also that I shouldn’t be using the cruise control.

Yep, it was fun…..

The game?

They had a win, by about 6 goals, and the boys played well.

Vastly different team now with the private school kids out, so there were a lot of new faces.

And the boy had a good one.  Particularly his first half, but pretty consistent throughout.

Had stepped it up a level, even from his first two games of the year, and really took it on.

Yep, good signs, but this is exactly what he needs to be doing.

Fortunately the rain held off while we were there, and we didn’t have to deal with that until we began our drive home.

Good timing.  I suppose…..

Finally pulled into the driveway at 11.50pm, and then crashed into bed.

Yep, it had been a nice relaxing way to spend a leisurely nine hours, or so…..

Saw him occasionally over the weekend, and the last of those interactions came at 10.30pm Sunday night when he returned home after being out all afternoon.

Walked in the door, muttered something about one of his headlights now not working, (seems it’s my fault…..) and then grunted goodnight two minutes later as he closed his bedroom door.

Hmmm……

 

29 April Round 5, Geelong at Oakleigh

Geelong; top side, undefeated, percentage of 250%.

Us, with private school kids still missing, were we really any chance?

I wouldn’t have thought so.

In fact, if someone had have offered me a five goal defeat before the game, I would have taken it.

After Geelong kicked the first goal within 30 seconds of the game starting, it looked like we were going to be in for a very long day.

But, to the boys’ credit, they hung in and ended up a goal in front at quarter time.

Well, I didn’t see that coming…..

A few minutes of a lapse in concentration in the second quarter saw Geelong put on a few unanswered goals, and at half time they were about 10 points up.

A similar scenario happened in the third quarter as well, and by three quarter time we were 30 points behind, with the game effectively being over.

The boys kept trying in the last quarter, but the damage was done.  Fortunately they were able to contain Geelong and stop the game from becoming a blowout.

Losing by 31 in the end, I thought, was a reasonable result.

Apart from those couple of brief periods where Geelong was allowed to take control, the boys were really good.  In fact, at times, they looked as good as they had all season.

The boy?

Yeah, good.

Sometimes very good, but mostly just good.

Well, good enough, but again, really needs to show that little bit extra.

Just my opinion, and remember, I have no idea what I’m looking at.

And once again, while he did have some stints along the half back line, he found himself down deep back.

Frustrated?

Yep, I am.

And so was his manager.

Which surprised me.

Anyway, what can you do…..

Correct; nuthin’!

There was one other surprise for the day.

With five minutes left in the game, he’s moved up to the forward line.

Why?

I mean really, why now?

Is this the token, ‘well we moved you around to give you an opportunity’, type thing?

Who knows.  It was just a pointless exercise.

Although he did get the chance for a small amount of glory.

Chasing a bouncing ball into the goal square, with an opponent hot on his heels, he managed to pick it up; when it looked like he may have to kick it off the ground; before then fumbling the ball and scoring a point.

All this from about 3 metres out.

A collective sigh from around the ground, with one person being heard to laugh quite loudly.

It’s alright, it was me.

Found it quite funny, in fact it was almost as funny as him being moved to the forward line with 5 minutes to go….

 

2 May

Heard him getting ready for work.  Then heard what sounded like vomiting.

It sounded like vomiting because it was.

Work was put on hold and he went back to bed and slept till lunch time.

Got himself organised and went out to catch up with friends.

Hmmmm……

Came home late afternoon and had done a bit of clothes shopping.

Hmmmm……

He’d spoken to Vic Metro about training that night, and they’d told it would be best if he didn’t.

Fair enough.

He then decided it would be a good idea to head out for dinner to the pub, with his mates.

One of them was heading overseas to live, apparently.

I tried to explain it was perhaps not such a great idea.  That Vic Metro, his boss, as well as Oakleigh, might not be terribly happy about him doing that when he was ‘sick’.

“There won’t be anyone there that would let them know”, was the response.

Ok…..

A few hours later a photo appeared on Facebook, of his night out…..

It was removed, hopefully quickly enough…..

 

6 May – Round 6, GWV Rebels (Ballarat) at Oakleigh

Had a bit of a chat on the way down to the game about his demeanor and attitude, when it comes to sharing the house with the rest of his family.

More specifically, about trying not to treat the house like a hotel or restaurant.

He seemed to be fairly accepting of my thoughts, which was a little surprising.

Although, I think he is very good at telling me what I want to hear…..

So, the game.

It was a game they really didn’t want to lose, but again, without a fair chunk of players, you never really know what you’re going to get.

Bit of an arm wrestle in the first half, but the boys always looked in control.

Six goals to one point in the third quarter, however, put the game beyond reach.

And him?

Good.

Without being great.

Again, didn’t really do anything wrong, but again, didn’t set the world on fire.

To be fair though, it was pretty wet in the first half so the conditions didn’t help.

And being ‘stuck’ down back, there were times when opportunities were a little limited.

After being given his 5 minutes up forward last week, you’d half expect he’d be given some more time up there this week.

Well, you’d be wrong.

It actually makes last week’s move look even more ridiculous.

Go with the flow, and don’t try and understand the decision making……

And his attitude after our chat?

He went out Saturday night, and then stayed at a friend’s place.

At 10.30pm on Sunday night, I text him to see what he was doing.

He told me that he should be home by 11.30pm at the latest.

Had he forgotten about our chat?

I didn’t receive a reply.

Although, when he did finally arrive home, he actually came over and spoke to us.

Annoyed?

Yes.

But not as much as if he had have given the usual grunt as he headed off to bed.

Maybe things are improving…..

 

To be continued…..

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