At a recent function, my mate Dale - with whom I had played both junior footy and cricket - commented in passing that he had been given a copy of an old footy photograph. What made this photo significant was that Dale and I were both in it.
I told him that I was more than curious to see the picture and so he arranged for Ted Hudson, our old Under-11 coach, to email me a copy. The next morning, there it sat in the in-box: the 1975 Williamstown Juniors Under-11B team. Ted mentioned that it was taken prior to the first game of the season. We were about to run onto the field to play Altona Central at the Hospital Reserve, neither of which – club nor oval – exist today. Over the past week or so I have studied the photo intently, peering into the faces of mostly long-forgotten team-mates. Thankfully, Ted also supplied me with a list of names. Strangely, only two of my Under-11 chums were with me five seasons later when we won a flag in the Under-15s; that subsequent premiership photo until now was the only record of my junior footy days.
What happened to all these guys? Where are they now? There are only two or three in the photo with whom I am still in touch. Some of the boys in the old photo have cheeky grins, some are looking serious, some have arms folded in classic footy photo pose. My wife believes that, sadly, at least one of them died some years ago.
And as for me? Mop of blond hair (also no longer in existancece), shorts way too small, hairy collared jumper which still even looks itchy all these years later. I am looking pensive. Nervous about the prospect of playing my first ever game of footy, maybe?