Football Denied by Matt Quartermaine

West Coast Eagles Vs Port Adelaide Round 2, Subiaco.


Sunday afternoon was cleared earlier in the week with the relevant authorities (my partner) so that I could watch the West Coast/Port match down at the local.


But the weekend didn’t start well. My 10 year old boy declared he didn’t like football. “It’s boring” he told me.


I was shattered. I love my kids but it seems that everyone else in the family unit would rather chew their arms off rather than watch a game of footy. The only thing having non-footballing sons has got going  for it  is that I can wee wherever I like in the toilet and blame them, which not recommended if you only have daughters.


A much needed weekend away to Airey’s Inlet at the start of the school holidays meant there was a possibility I would have to listen to the game in the car on the way home. No problem. With a young family you have to roll with the punches and take what you can get. Any family trip now requires extra planning because our 15 year old dog is arthritic, incontinent and deaf and has to be taken with us. Saturday night I put the dog out on the front porch as I didn’t feel the need to start the morning cleaning dog poo from the polished beach house floor. The front porch was up high with a few steps, which I thought would keep the arthritic old biddy there and cleaning up poo from a verandah is preferable from indoors. 7.30 the next morning my son informed me the dog was gone.

After the initial bursting into tears (me) and the accusations (everyone else) the family moved into search and rescue mode with frightening efficiency, except for my daughter, who was bored and told me the dog would be dead when we found her anyway. Second lesson learnt after “never leave on old dog on an open verandah” was “never take a seven year old girl on a search and rescue operation because they will depress the crap out of you.” For the entire morning I wandered the streets of Airey’s Inlet emitting my very loud whistle, which is about the only thing my dog is capable of hearing, until I had  lips that looked like a fifth day test pitch. My partner’s and son’s bleary red eyes told me they were unsuccessful too.


At about one that afternoon one of the locals told me he may have seen the dog a few streets away. I climbed into his ute, moved a few of his tools from the front seat and strapped the seatbelt across myself and my daughter and went in search. We found the almost completely crippled beast swaying and dehydrated in an old lady’s backyard a couple of kilometres away. The relief from the entire family was expressed in joy and tears, but without the recovery powers of the young, the parents were wiped for the rest of the weekend.


An early return to Melbourne meant I could still make it to the pub to see the game. When I expressed this as part of my relief the look on my partner’s face curdled the milk in our fridge (which was, at the time, 100 kilometres away). I had shortened the dog’s life and if I tried to listen to the footy on the radio I would be shortening my own.

Rolling with more punches I thought I’d go all 21st century and watch a replay on line. Unfortunately we had used all the monthly bandwidth (Damn you YouTube!), so I had to wait. Otherwise watching on line would be have been the equivalent of viewing a hand-cranked moviola. Avoiding all the news services successfully, I rang my younger brother in Perth for his forty-fifth birthday that night. “He’s been to the footy,” my sister in-law told me.


I quickly interjected with “Don’t tell me I the score.”


“OK,” she replied, “I’ll put the happy bloke on.”


“Happy,” I said, “like a winner?”


“Sorry, here’s your brother,” came the rushed reply.


My brother told me he’d had a great time and knew the Eagles were going to win when Port ran out in their away strip which included long white socks and a mostly white outfit. “Sounds like we were playing a bunch of umpires,” I reckoned.


“Yep,” said my brother, “A bunch of umpires who couldn’t play football. And Lynchy kicked a seventy metre goal off one step.”


 I forgot to ask if it was a “glove off or on” goal as talk turned to family matters.


Never did get to see the game. West Coast 19.11 (125) defeated Port Adelaide 10.15 (75) I read that in the paper.  Or any of my new favourite “rushed behinds” incidents (Which sounds to me like a new camp comedy character: “Ooh, wouldn’t half mind pushing him in the back!”).


The incontinent dog is safely home and pooping willy-nilly all over the house. The up side is at least I can poo wherever I like and blame the dog.

About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three kids - Theo13, Anna11, Evie10. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst three. His ambition is to lunch for Australia.

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