Friday Night; Bright Lights

Kate Birrell Car


Tonight is the last night of footy training for my son’s under 9 team. His second season is almost over and my Sunday morning sleep-in is within a tantalising reach.

At night local footy grounds take on a theatrical glow. The combination of darkness and the bright neon lights that run the boundary seem to saturate colours and give the ground a stage like quality.

Whilst the green of the grass shimmers with radiance, the slosh pit of mud, which I know is in the centre, can’t be seen.

The kids don fluoro orange and lime bibs to denote a team difference during their drills. The colors jump into view as they scamper across the field chasing yellow pills. Kicked and torpedoed, they wobble precariously above the horizon until they drop into waiting arms, outreached.

There is no set uniform for training, so the kids tend to wear a mish mash of school uniforms together with their favoured AFL team geurnsey. It’s a varied cast with Sainters, Tigers, Pies and Demons being just a few that I can pick out.

As the session comes to an end, the kids congregate for the coach’s final address before the big day on Sunday, The NAB Lightning Premiership. Roles are nominated and tactics drilled. The kids are implored to run, run and run until you can run no more. The ball is yours, the coach tells them, and you are to fight like ferocious bears, not cuddly teddy bears.

Still clad in work attire, a group of parents, mainly dads, stand by with arms crossed, listening attentively as they consider the coach’s message. Mingling amongst them is the Team Manager. He scouts about with his extensive list of parent duties for the day and chasing those who haven’t responded to his emails. He is in control.

Having arrived early for pick up, I sit within the confines of my smaller, nothing fancy, new vehicle. It’s brilliant. The dashboard sparkles with iridescent dials and buttons; the odometer is in electric blue and viridian green. It still smells new and the floorwells have yet to be littered with the muddy nuggets that encrust the soles of footy boots.

With training done my son jumps into the car and slams the door fimly shut. We leave the bright lights of the ground and head off into the darkness of the winter night with hopes high for a bright day and a brilliant performance on Sunday.

Until then…



Go Bears.


image: Waiting…6pm pick up

brush pen and ink wash



  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Enjoyable read Kate how did the bears go Sunday ? Parents from my experience do get involved if they are wanted and appreciated . Thank You the most imp words ever spoken

  2. Kate Birrell says

    Hi Malcom

    Quite a funny….they won, but I am not sure that it is called a premiership flag anymore…becuase the event has been renamed as a Lightning Carnival not Lightning Premiership.

    The kids won 2 out of 3 games; No one won 3 out of 3 so it came down to percentage
    which was the grand total of 0.01%!!! Narrowest margin ever, apparently

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