AFL Round 17 – West Coast vs Sydney: A father’s anguish

If you have a child hug them tonight and take 5 minutes to appreciate how lucky you are. Wednesday saw a routine visit to the doctors for myself to discsus a lingering virus I had picked up. My 15 month old son Jack tagged along. A quick thinking Doctor noticed he didn’t look well and the next thing we knew the Doctor was applying oxygen.

Jack is panicking, the poor little bugger is sick. Real sick. There is fear in the room. The fear of the unknown. Time stands still as the Doctor and nurses check the vitals and don’t like what they see. Jack’s eyes roll to the back of his head and the Doctor shouts ‘AMBULANCE NOW’. My world has stopped. My Wife Sophie and I watch on as the professionals do their work.

The Ambulance arrives. Jack stabilises. We arrive at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne and Jack is hooked up to a bevy of machines. Jack needs help to breath but thankfully the vitals are OK.

A nervous few hours but the prognosis is ok. Off to intensive care where Jack spends the next few days being fed oxygen and fluids to get his little body back on track. Mum and Dad share shifts and make sure the little man is not alone.

The staff are brilliant. If you have the capability please dontate to the Good Friday appeal.

The diagnosis is acute bronchiolitis caused by nothing more than a common cold. Something so simple yet so destructive.

After 4 days we are released and the Dodsons come home. Jack is where he belongs.

Oh yes there is a game of football on. Seems irrelevant but the distraction of the past trauma is welcome.

Jack sleeps upstairs, Sophie battles the flu and I settle on the couch.

A good even first quarter. End to end footy and trading goals. Jesse White shows some touch. The Eagles have a good spread of contributors.

The second quarter sees the Swans machine click into gear. They are challenged and seem to resent it. It is like it is an internal competition. No one wants to be seen letting their mates down. A simple game plan carried out to the tee. Everyone knows it, few can topple it. Young Jamb kicks 2 and again highlights that you don’t get a game for the Swans until you are ready. My Jack rouses and we let him eat his dinner in front of the game. An exception to the rule.

It looks like father time has caught up with the Eagles in the second half. Nic Nat must be injured? No spark. As a footy fan this makes me sad. The game needs its stars. K Jack and Hanners are dominating.

All of a sudden the Eagles find 4th gear. They are not going away and get back to 20 odd points. This Darling can plan. The Swans look a little jittery. Enter Joey Kennedy. We are not losing on my watch he says and wills himself to the key contests. The charge is stuffed out and the Swans run out 34 point winners.

The longest week of my life comes to an end. We have the best result. Jack is home and healthy. The Swans keep on keeping on. Order restored. Bliss.

Sydney 4.4 10.8 12.9 17.11 (113)
West Coast 3.4 5.6 6.8 11.13 (79)

3 Hannebery
2 K. Jack
1 Kennedy

About craig dodson

Born in the sporting mecca that is Wagga Wagga and now reside in Melbourne with my lovelly wife Sophie and son's Jack and Harry. Passionate Swans supporter and formally played cricket at a decent level and Aussie Rules at a not so decent level! Spend my days now perfecting my slice on the golf course and the owner of the worlds worst second serve on the tennis course.


  1. Cheryl Critchley says

    Glad to hear that Jack is OK – that must have been really scary. It sure does put everything into perspective and makes our petty footy whinges sound pathetic. But I still hope Richmond beats the Swans next week :-). Best wishes to you all.

  2. Ouch mate, puts in all in context doesn’t it. Scary stuff, hopsitals aren’t fun places to be with little ones, had a similar few days when my little girl was 4 months old, it’s the not knowing that makes you sick.

    Stay well


  3. Craig – isn’t it incredible in those situations how we put our total faith in the medical professionals. We are useless. Spectators barracking and hopeful from the sidelines.

    Glad Jack is OK. Kids bounce back pretty quickly.

  4. Craig – I knew we must have had a good reason for playing crap. I just couldn’t put my finger on it until now.
    Glad you enjoyed the game (someone had to) and that your family is all well.
    The Swans are an awesomely well drilled team. I had always thought Jesse White was a fringe player, but he is a man mountain and looked dangerous yesterday. Nick Smith – where do you find them?? Ted Richards reminds me of Kelvin Moore – the Hawthorn full back from their glory years in the 70’s. Always takes the telling mark in a crisis.
    With Goodes and Reid back your best is as good as any team in the comp. Cheers.

  5. craig dodson says

    Appreciate the kind words.
    Cheryl the tigers have smashed us recently so 50 50 I think.
    Sean I am guessing you never forget moments like that.
    Dips we can’t pay the good docs enough in my book.
    Pete thanks for getting the eagles to have an off day. Nick smith is a real old back pocket special.

  6. Peter Fuller says

    When I read the teaser and the first paragraph, I was fearful of what was to come. In previous posts, you’ve told us how much Jack has transformed your life, an experience that even less-engaged parents can understand. I’m so glad that your precious family has emerged unscathed but chastened from this terrible scare.
    You’re entitled to feel that the Swans owed you a solid performance, after such a week.

  7. craig dodson says

    Peter, I greatly appreciate your sincere words.

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