Pitch Invading

By Ged McMahon

Last week, a pitch invading baseball fan was chased around in circles and tasered by security staff. It was grandly theatrical and I must admit that I found it highly amusing. Far more amusing than my own personal pitch invasion story.

I can’t even remember the exact year, but I was very little so it must have been the mid-late 1980’s. I’d taken the regular pilgrimage to Windy Hill with my Dad and my older brother. The final siren had sounded so I negated the fence and both feet thudded to the rich turf in what used to be a familiar motion. I looked ahead and took off towards my prize. I’d never ever reached any of the players as they made their way off the ground. Today was my day.

Every week, players would trudge tiredly from the field and I’d see the older kids get to them. They’d pat them on the back and congratulate them on their game. They might even get an autograph if they were lucky. My eyes would be flooded green.

Later, we’d pile into Dad’s old Datsun. Talk back radio would re-live the significant moments of the game and then give other results from now forgotten places like VFL Park, the Western Oval and Moorabbin. I’d sit solemnly in the back seat, all alone with nothing but used Footy Records to keep me company.

“One day” I’d lament. One day I’ll join the big kids in their back slapping celebrations. Silently I’d sit in the back plotting my next move. Gotta be quicker off the mark I’d think. Get better at predicting when the siren will go, so I’m quicker over the fence.

So back to the beginning, my day had finally arrived. I hurdled the fence and shot off like Carl Lewis. I was soon in the clear. Perhaps I’d left all the other kids behind? The sprint training had really paid off.

The towering figures in red and black were slowly getting closer. I would have come up to about their knees when I finally reached them.

If, I’d finally reached them.

I soon felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned my head and saw jacketed midriff. The jacket was an official’s jacket. I’d fallen on the wrong side of the law.

The jacket marched me back to the fence. I don’t think I was old enough to understand embarrassment. But I definitely felt shame. Dad stood at the fence waiting for me. From his place in the stands I’m sure the whole chain of events was very comical. Other members of the crowd were pointing and laughing at me.

I couldn’t see the funny side.

Apparently running onto the field after each game had now been outlawed. Someone failed to tell me.

Soon, the second siren became known to footy fans. And I’d sit there ruefully as the players left the field without the back slapping of young fans. I was left with a head full of “what ifs” and “if onlys.” It was no way to live.

I guess I should just be thankful that the jacketed official wasn’t armed with a taser gun.

About Ged McMahon

Ged McMahon has been a Bombers fan for as long as he can remember. With a Grandpa who grew up just a spiralling torpedo punt from Windy Hill he didn’t have much choice. When his junior football career resulted in almost as many possessions as games he eventually had to bite the bullet and give up his dream of captaining the Bombers to a Premiership. So his weekly footy fix became confined to the stands. He yearns for the next Premiership.

Comments

  1. That was really sad.

    The second siren is great.

    One thing in local footy is that people can come onto the field at almost literally any time.

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