Round 16 – Brisbane v Carlton: Suddenly, Hot Pants.

Brisbane versus Carlton

1.45pm, Saturday, 7th July

The Gabba, Brisbane

Jamie Simmons

 

Paid my Almanac membership today (you don’t want to know about the outfits I had to wear and the places I had to dance in order to raise enough money), but I’m back from my self-imposed writing hiatus.

 

I started game day the way I normally choose to, by engaging in an activity that will inevitably lead to me confronting my own mortality.

 

Today, Mel and I signed up for and completed our first Park Run. It’s a free, community health based initiative that has you gasping and wheezing your way through beautiful parkland at a rate that ensures the onset of blurred vision will make impossible to properly enjoy.

 

There’s a cultish silence to the mob, as it squats and lunges its way past me to the starting line. I dare not stand still for too long for fear of somebody limbering up on me.

 

Looking around it’s quite apparent that I don’t quite hit the brief for running attire. Nor will I ever, for that matter. Sorry but the thought of being surgically removed from spandex pants every Saturday does nothing for me.

 

So why now?

 

Well, soon to wed, it’s not unfair to say that I have immersed myself in the more sedate lifestyle that a joyous union can offer. The problem is, with domestic bliss comes consequences.

 

I visited a set of scales for the first time since adolescence recently and was confronted by a figure so foreign to me that it scared me a little.

 

Since hanging up the boots and, apparently, my metabolism along with them, I must confess to blowing out a little. My fat stores need to consider all day trading hours, a half-price sale, whatever it takes…everything must go!

 

The signs were there, I just chose to either ignore them or eat them smeared with gravy.

 

It starts as an extra notch on the belt. Before long simple tasks begin to leave you breathless like…standing unassisted. But it’s the moment your favourite pair of football shorts mysteriously transform into hotpants and the threat to throw them out becomes real that it’s time for action.

 

I haven’t raised so much as a canter since giving the game away and I’m not sure I even know how to run socially. The last time I ran anywhere, where I wasn’t chasing a football, was back in my Broadmeadows days and even then it was because I had a VCR tucked under one arm and two Police on foot in pursuit.

 

All that said, I’m quite proud of my efforts. Not only did I finish but I managed to not come last. I’m fairly certain the guy hogging the defibrillator didn’t even finish.

 

The ensuing trip to the game is innocuous enough but climbing out of the car my body abandons all regular programming. Every sinew, muscle and tendon has seized up. Each movement brings with it a searing statement of despair.

 

We must make quite the pair on our approach to the ground. The spritely young maiden and RoboCop in a Lions themed hoodie and, what appears to be, matching hotpants, inching their way down Vulture Street.

 

A rich, chattering mosaic of reds, gold and navy blue pour towards the gates.

 

I run into former teammate “Mary” outside the front gate. He (yes, he) hugs me affectionately and asks if I miss playing? I concede some longing for the fray and I’m quick to reminisce how that between the two of us we shared 5 Best and Fairest awards. It’s just a pity really that I didn’t contribute any of them.

 

The Gabba crowd is bristling, alive with movement and fervour. We can all smell something and for once it isn’t just the stale, lumbering waft of reanimated chips. It’s the smell of 4 premiership points and it’s a realistic expectation for both beleaguered tribes.

 

Ok, so it’s not a clash of Titans. It’s two anaemic Chihuahuas facing off in the Octagon. It’s two playful Nuns engaged in a pillow fight, call it what you will, it doesn’t matter. A win is a win and there isn’t a person here today who doesn’t think their side is a chance.

 

My own feeling of anticipation quickly gives way to one of regret.

 

Rearing up before me is the stairs to the Gabba’s upper tiered seating. It’s slow going. There’s never a Sherpa around when you need one.

 

I decide to pitch camp half way up, leaving my assault on the summit until the morning, selflessly waving Mel on ahead of me. “It’s 12 more steps,” she surmises.

 

I continue on bravely.

 

It’s Superhero Round. It’s all very American but the young folk are clearly enjoying it. Spiderman and Wonder Woman walk freely among adoring hordes, capes and costumes aplenty. Mel candidly asks what my superpower would be? It’s an intriguing question. Does the unwavering ability to get lost in underground car parks count I wonder?

 

Fumbling takes the early honours in this contest. Both teams are nervous. Self-esteem is at stake. Gardiner ruffles the perm of Curnow early and Charlie is rewarded. I look forward to a decade of contests between these two.

 

Beams has lost the will to sprint but it hasn’t impacted his ability to take possession of the football.

 

Mathieson starts the second quarter with his now customary “Round the neck!” free kick. They say his own mother can’t hug him without him drawing high contact.

 

The game is littered with puzzling umpiring decisions or, at times, lack thereof. Elleni goes alright on the whistle, for what it’s worth, but Umpire Bald Guy looks to overrule the Work Experience kid at every opportunity. This guy is a disgrace to the haircut!

 

A bullish fend off from Cam Rayner brings the locals to their feet. He pushes his Carlton pursuer aside the way I have been salads of late, with complete contempt and brutal force.

 

McCluggage soft-shoes through congestion with an upright poise and grace.

 

McStay, Hipwood and Cutler have found their swagger. These and other young men are queuing up to re-sign contracts. Those calming sounds of scratching quill on parchment fill the Club’s corridors. Everything is going to be alright.

 

Conversely, we appear to have passed Carlton on the road to redemption, only with them heading the other way! Their execution by foot has been dreadful and several have lost interest by three quarter time.

 

Bolton frowns on the big screen. His legacy seems destined to be a sad one. The once perpetually smiling, ebullient face of footballing optimism has soured into pale stoniness.

 

The Lion faithful are jubilant in celebration but we can only stay for one rendition of the song. We still have to get me back down those stairs to base camp and, unless there’s somebody there with experience moving pianos willing to help us, I’m about to create a backlog of abusive patrons trying to crowd surf their way past me.

 

Really looking forward to next week’s Parkrun.

 

 

Brisbane   3.1   8.7   14.11  18.12 (120)

Carlton      2.5   2.6   4.8   7.13  (55)

 

Goals:

Brisbane – Hipwood 6 Barrett, Cutler 2 Beams, Christensen, McCluggage, McStay, Rayner, Robinson, Taylor, Zorko 1

Carlton – C.Curnow 3, Petrevski-Seton 2 Lamb, O’Brien 1

 

Best:

Brisbane – Beams, Rich, Hipwood, Gardiner, Berry, Cutler

Carlton – E.Curnow, Lamb, Cripps, Murphy

 

Umpires:  Hausse, Nicholls, Glouftsis                                                                                  Crowd: 21,074

 

Our Votes: Beams (B) 3, Rich (B) 2, Hipwood (B) 1

 

 

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About Jamie Simmons

Born in Melbourne, a third generation Fitzroy supporter, in 1972 before emigrating to Tasmania during The Great Broccoli Famine of 86. Leaving my island lodgings, largely at the request of locals, to settle once more on the mainland in 1997. These days living out a peaceful existance on the outskirts of Brisbane, where I spend most of my time serving as a fashion warning to others.

Comments

  1. Welcome back Jamie. Always a treat when a story by you pops up on this site. “I’m fairly certain the guy hogging the defibrillator didn’t even finish.” made me laugh out loud. Good luck with the running and the upcoming nuptials. By the way, I’ve not enjoyed a name like Hugh McCluggage for a long time. Thanks.

  2. John Butler says:

    Entertaining as usual, Jamie, even though it was a grim tale for some.

    A private dancer, eh? A dancer for money?

    Are your legs as good as Tina’s?

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