Football through the eyes of a father

My two year old son Jack has commandeered my 2014 AFL season. A quick illustration of my recent weekend viewing habits demonstrates the sheer force of my little 15 kilogram enforcer.

7.30pm on Friday night and I am ready to put the working week behind me, settle into the couch, crack a Boags and see if the Bombers have more steak than sizzle. Jack climbs up to the couch and asks, “Daddy Book?”. Jack speaks in two word blocks at the moment. Short and to the point. I mute Bruce McAvaney (a tough task at the best of times) and grab Jacks’s favourite book about planes. He smiles and laughs as I try and do my best Ringo Star narration. I try and peer over the top of the book to see the centre bounce.

“Another book?”…. “Please Daddy”. While we go through the trials and tribulations of Mr Bump (if you don’t want to hurt your hand don’t stick it in a bloody mailbox!) the first quarter ticks by.

8.15pm and it is bedtime for Jack. I hoist him over the shoulder and up the stairs we go. We get to the bedroom and Jack makes a beeline for the bookshelf and the copy of last years Almanac. “Daddy picture?”. Jack has become very skilled at finding my photo in the authors profile pages. We tick that box and into bed he goes.

“Daddy Plane?” Shit I have forgot to bring up his toy plane, A Qantas inflatable toy we got him for his birthday. A few recent trips on the big plane to see Sophie’s family in Tassie and he is hooked on planes. The way Qantas is going it may be a collectors item in a few years. I fly down the stairs, pick it up, return it to the owner, switch the light off and my job is done.

Return to the couch at 8.35 and the first half is just about done.

We are expecting number 2 on Grand final eve would you believe. It is funny how that didn’t come into my mind when I got a tap on the shoulder a few months back. Failing to plan is planning to fail, or so my old uni lecturer used to say.

The early weeks of pregnancy have not been kind to Sophie. She likens the experience to being hungover for three months. Perhaps Keith Richards is the only male on the planet who knows this feeling? Collapsed and snoring on the couch Sophie is spent.

I try and focus on the game which is turning out to be a cracker. The half time break kills me. The fox footy war room is too intense for me. We are talking about footy here not quantum physics.

As much as I am enjoying the second half, it is a struggle to stay awake as the effects of a long week take their toll. Sophie springs to life with 5 minutes to go.. ok I threw a pillow at her to wake her up and stop snoring. Better take back my husband of the year nomination. We enjoy the last few minutes and retire to bed.

Saturday and it is 7.30pm again. Will my Swannies stand up or will the Pies continue their recent domination. Something is off about the Swans this year. I am worried. Since 2003 we have been respected across the code for our ability to scrap and fight for every point. The talk now centres on Buddy, bikini models, Hanners out of control etc etc. Time will be the judge as to what is fact and what is fiction. Reputations are hard-fought and easily lost.

Jack sits with his little Swannies jumper and cries, “Daddy Football!”. No books tonight. We settle on the couch for the first few minutes. Jack is interested and engaged for the first 10 minutes. Father and Son sharing something. Bliss. The bell tolls 8 and the little man starts to rub his eyes. Sophie seizes the opportunity and off to bed he goes.

I settle in and watch the drama unfold. As the game unfolds I become more frustrated. No urgency. No composure. The Pies have done it to us again. I would rather the game be played at Victoria Park than bloody ANZ stadium.

Worrying signs for the Swannies. I’ll reserve my judgement for a few more weeks and hope the tide will turn. Take a breath.

Sunday 3pm and I’m keen to see if Roos has done much to help the Dees. My growing backside settles into the couch and 3.6 seconds later Jack bounds in and asks, “Daddy kick?”. Bugger the Dees I’m off to the park with the little man.

There is nothing that matches the sheer delight of a child when learning a new skill or seeing something for the first time. I ‘launch’ a few drop punts at the goal posts of our local oval in Seddon and while I wonder why my hamstrings won’t let me kick over 30 metres Jack looks at me like I have split the atom, “Daddy, football, high!”, he cries.

My ability to get a ball 2 metres in the air has struck a cord.

Jack does his impression and throws his little footy in the air, it lands and then two seconds later he kicks it. Priceless. The effort. The determination. The joy. The sun shines on us and life is great.

We tuck our footies under our arms and head for home in the sunshine.

I am a lucky man.

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. Luke Reynolds says

    Great stuff Craig, can well relate. Love doing the Ringo voice when reading Thomas the Tank Engine, though my boys are more into superhero books now.
    Surely playing at ANZ stadium is a complete waste of time now the Giants have that great new ground next door and the SCG is nearly finished it’s upgrade. You’d almost think someone at the AFL has a vested interest in the venue.
    All the best for the arrival of your 2nd cygnet in late September!

  2. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Loved it Craig while my boys are a lot older than that now bought back a few memories My eldest 1st time when going for a kick at Norwood oval at half time asked another lad to join in I asked Daniel how did you go mate ? He replied I was shit but the other boy called , James was really good , 2 yrs later at a game at the parade as a youngster was dominating I asked , Daniel did he remember the lad he 1st kicked the ball with he says yeah I think so I reply with that’s him mate , James Aish ! ( Ripper family most mature kid I have ever met will be a gun )
    I was terrible at the , Ringo impersonations Sydney jury is out
    Thanks Craig

  3. Craig- great piece to which I can relate as my boys, six and four, are really getting into the footy now. Sitting together on the couch taking in the game is excellent. They’re both funny, in that despite my indoctrination they barrack for every single team over the course of a weekend.
    Good luck in the lead up to the arrival of number two!

  4. Dr Rocket says

    Please don’t let him barrack for Collingwood!

  5. Lovely work Craig….can relate

  6. craig dodson says

    Luke – will have to look out for the superhero phase, Pies were too good on the weekend.
    Malcolm – great story about James, I guess it shows you can spot talent early. My claim to fame was keeping Cam Mooney goaless in an under 11s game. Our careers took different paths after that.
    Mickey – very funny about the kids barracking for everyone, so innocent.
    Rocket – I think we wil be safe, we live in doggies territory in Seddon so I think that will be the big threat (although the doggies wouldn’t be a bad option if he doesent embarce the swannies I guess)
    Kate – appreciate the kind words

  7. Good one Craig. When our oldest was about 3 we gave her some little purple boxing gloves. Her and I would have World Championship Boxing tournaments in the loungeroom, which usually meant I covered up whilst she rained down blows upon me.

    One day I was watching the footy, she snuck up behind me and landed a surprise upper cut to my jaw. Got me a beauty. Thankfully now that she’s 19 she no longer has an interest in the sweet science.

  8. craig dodson says

    Very funny Dips. At the very least you taught her some good self defence skills which would be handy for a young lass. Hopefully I’m guessing you didn’t have to go to the emergency ward with the explination that your daughter decked you?

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