AFL Round 2 – Brisbane v Geelong: The Glass Menagerie

Geelong’s annual trip to Brisbane is a chance for my kids sink their roots into the soil of generations, or for me to force them to love the Cats.

This year my three year-old, Lola, would go to her first game. She’d hear Dad’s boring stories of muddied terraces for the first time and yell, “go Jimmeh! We used to yell “go Chappy!!” but he’s not one of us anymore.

On Wednesday, my old neighbour (Aquaman) threw a spanner into my “Yorkshireman” football history by inviting us to watch the game from a corporate box. For those of us who grew up in the Kardinya Park outer, watching football behind glass means being with “them”. But I am nothing if not a traveller.

I awoke with the first hangover I’d known in years, the girls were colouring in their genitals in texta and watching Pepper Pig. They definitely didn’t get that from me.

The game began at midday and was raining. It’s been raining all week. The company had put on kids activities. I met Aquaman, a Doggies/Brisbane fan and pretty handy centre-half forward in his day, with his kids.

The balloon-sculpture line lasted till quarter time. Through the window, it looked like good, old-fashioned, scrappy footy and Johnson was in everything. The Lions missed a few easy ones, then the Cats scored their first at the end of the quarter. Hawkins loves the warm rain.

By the second quarter start we were lining up for face-painting.

Through the wet glass it looked like an even game. Brisbane didn’t have any trouble getting their hands on the ball. That Aish is going to be a great player, though probably not for the Lions. Mayes is already pretty good, he kicked two, Zorko is strong and quick.

The Lions are suddenly ahead. We emerge into the gloom just in time for the Cats to kick three quick goals. Lola gives her first “Go Selli!!” and the ever experienced Clem, at five, corrects her.

“No Hawkins is my favourite, right Dad? He took that catch, before you got angry and started yelling”

She’s combined two memories, one of Hawkins taking a screamer at Carrara right in front of her and the awful last quarter at the Gabba in 2013.

“You kept saying Jesus and bloody.”

“Yes, ok, they’re not good things to say, so we don’t say those things.”

But her attention is diverted to the couple sitting behind us.

“Do you say Jesus and bloody?”

“No, they’re bad things to say.”

“Dad, how come you say Jesus and bloody at the football, I’ve heard you say it at home when you watch the football.”

Before I can answer Lola has taken an interest in the couple.

“My vagina is orange and green, what colour is your vagina?”

“Errm, no.”

Neither of them know where to look, they might be Nordic and as Lola has begun to pull her undies down I escort them away.

“OK half time, who wants a slushy?”

Between slushies, party pies and ripping the toilets apart Clem and I tried to induct Lola into football.

Clem – “You’ve got to yell when they run past”

Me – “Yes and when they kick a goal”

Lola – “What’s a goal?”

C- “She doesn’t know anything, Daddy.”

M- “Just yell for guys in blue and white”

C – “No Dad, we yell for Hawkins”

L- “I yell for Selli!”

H- “Thats good enough, let go.”

The second half starts to dry out and Geelong get one of those four goal leads they can, pretty much, defend for the rest of the game. I get to actually watch it.

I like Guthrie, he’s got some class and good timing, he bombs one from a kick-in to the centre circles and on to Hawkin’s chest, Horlin-Smith roves the kick forward, goal.

Aquaman gives his grunt of approval- “Jeez it’s a very simple game when you go up the middle and rove the front of the pack.”

The lead gets out to six goals before J.Brown starts to come in to the game. He plays an awesome short game, just picks up a few easy marks and kicks, before a purple patch at the end of the third and start of the fourth. Mays comes back into it, could they do it again?

But Brown fluffs a chance to give the Lions real momentum and the Cats take it home. Lola decides she’s going to leap off a chair onto my back. The chair flips up, she tumbles and lands on the back of her head.

Clem looks at me with those knowing eyes. “Too much slushy, Dad, better call Mum.”

3. Varcoe, 2. Johnson, 1. Mackie

About Hamish Townsend

Hamish Townsend was born and raised in Geelong, supports the Cats and lives in Brisbane.


  1. Sounds like a great day out Hamish. I hope the Child Protection people aren’t reading this, or you may have questions to answer.

  2. Mathilde de Hauteclocque says

    It’s a long and sometimes crippling road, brainwashing the kids. My French father (without a son) used to take my sister and I to the cricket as young girls in an effort to get us hooked!! It’s strange enough already huh? This was the late 70s and early 80s and despite all his efforts, we were not particularly interested in Marsh and Chappell and Lillee. However Holding and Marshall and Viv Richards … !!
    There are various paths to get there Hamish and looks like you’re on your way.

  3. Love the dialogue Hamish.

    And the tone.

    The heredity line is a gem! I trust you have run that by the good woman of the house.

  4. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Amusing good read Hamish and sounds like a busy fun time in the end Well done !

  5. Great read.

    Living in the UK, I’ve resorted to teaching the theme song to my 3 year old daughter.

    Actual games will have to wait rail we’re back in oz.

  6. This will run and run. When your daughters are in their teens and find this in an archive you had better put a lock on your bedroom door or you may find yourself assassinated. When they are thirty-plus they will be dining out on stories of their mad father with this being a featured item.

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