Four generations of one family at the footy together

I lived in Geelong growing up, but when I was a small boy, much to the chagrin of my family, I barracked for Richmond and my favourite player was Kevin Bartlett….the horror!

Craig Nott Tigers

The only known photo of C. Nott as a Tigers fan

During the period from about 1977 to 1979, when I was aged 5 to 7, I attended all Kardinia Park games with my grand-father and my great grand-father, we would sit in the Hickey Stand in the same seats each time, I would watch the game as a neutral with one eye on “E” versus “F” being updated on the scoreboard. I liked the footy franks at my grand-parents place before the game, and the jam filled doughnuts during, but I liked it best when the mighty Tigers came to town.

Sitting in regular spot each week, everyone around us knew I was a Richmond supporter and dreaded when Geelong hosted Richmond. Round 21 in 1979 the “banter” a 7 year old could have with the various Geelong supporters surrounding us reached its zenith with the Tigers leading Geelong by 1 point at ¾ time…a 4 goal to nil final term to Geelong saw an easy winner in the end and a few “revved” up Cats supporters letting a certain 7 year old know who had come out on top.

On the eve of the 1980 season, my grand-father sat me down and said he wasn’t taking me to the footy anymore unless I barracked for Geelong, so by a little clever blackmail….I became a Geelong supporter.

Next few years, my grand-father (nicknamed Freddo by me because I was becoming slightly uncomfortable calling him Poppy in public) and my great grand-father (Pa) went to Kardinia Park, until I become a victim of the punt at about 14 and started going to the races with Dad.

We saw such greats as the Nankervis brothers, Scratcher Neal, Gary Malarkey and Ramsey Bogunovich, Rod Wadell was never given a fair go by Hafey and we saw remarkable events like Brian Peake arriving by helicopter, Rod Blake bouncing off the newly added sides of the banner that were only for show and the arrival of an early G. Ablett.

Very fond memories of about an 8 year period going to Kardinia Park and sitting in the same seats with Freddo and Pa.

Fast forward to Round 12 2015 Geelong v Melbourne, Pa is no longer with us. I have a 4 year old daughter (Tilly) that is, by very little prompting by me “footy obsessed”, and dad (no longer going to the races in Winter) and Freddo still going strong at 86; that’s 4 generations off to Kardinia Park.

Mum and Dad have built a new house easy walking distance from Kardinia Park so everyone is to convene there an hour before play starts. I have told Tilly that Melbourne are rubbish and we “should” win, my aim for the day is to get Tilly through a full game and sing the song live at the ground. She learnt the song a couple of months ago and it’s been sung everywhere from Kindergarten to the supermarket to first thing in the morning while she is still in bed.

Her first game was a thumping win over Carlton at Docklands which I’m sure sent more people home at ¾ time than just a weary 4 year old. She’s experienced now – it’s during the day, there is a jumping castle, we’ll be right.

We take up our seats in the Players Stand which use to be the Hickey Stand where we once sat. Freddo produces the exact same cushions made by my grandma about 35 years ago, they have seen better days.

Players come out, banner is run through, Selwood is spotted, song is sung, Half Cat is laughed at….what could go wrong?

Scrappy first quarter between watching the play and organizing Tilly’s snacks and Apple juice, I see about half the play and Tilly about 5 minutes of actual following the ball. Geelong is playing like Melbourne and Melbourne is playing like Geelong and Tilly is bored already.

I use up my distraction card early and suggest we head to the jumping castle. Freddo and Dad are worried, apparently we saw Sam Newman’s 300th and that didn’t go well either.

Craig Nott Jumping Castle

Tilly enjoying the second quarter of Geelong v Melbourne

The entire second quarter is spent at the handball target, playing giant jenga and jumping on the jumping castle – she loves it. Demons still in front as we return with doughnuts for all, it could actually be 1981 again.

We see the little league play and Freddo has the last of the doughnuts but the 3rd quarter is awful. Tilly has reached maximum restlessness and Geelong can’t hit a target, Dad notices Melbourne players racing into the huddle while the Geelong players amble; he is worried and checks the betting. When Melbourne kick the first goal after ¾ time to go 17 points up, I get the most meaningful “Daddy, I want to go home now”.

We watch the pitiful end back at Mum and Dad’s and then some time later (65yo and 86yos don’t walk fast) Dad and Freddo trudge in; we all moan the defeat and then we all have brilliant takeaway Thai from up the road. Half way through dinner, Tilly asks when the next game at Kardinia Park is and can we all go again…

The four generations:

Craig Nott four genrations

Four generations of Geelong supporters: Grandfather, C. Nott, Tilly, Freddo (great grandfather)

 

Comments

  1. Great story with a very sad ending.

  2. Cat from the Country says

    Lovely story with 4 generations.
    Fear not The Cats will be dominant again … and it will not take 40+ years either

  3. Any story that manages to mention Ramsey Bogunovich gets a BIG thumbs up from me!

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