Give me your tragic stories



Was trying to park my ute in the city the other day. Found a tight squeeze. My mate got out to steer me in, but I did it in one. The wheels gently slotting into the curb. Shaken, not stirred.

My mate gave me the best grin and two pointed fingers.


Footy tragic.

Was at the supermarket the other day. Lady dropped a bag of chips. I noticed I handballed them back to her. They spun like a good handball should and everything. We were both a bit impressed by that.

Was mowing lawns for a few months in Tassie. Hard times. A few bush contracts had fallen through. Rang one bloke’s bell to give him the bill, then jumped when, rather than a ding dong I heard, full volume


and looked down and saw I was standing on a swans doormat.

“Sometimes,” he told me, “I make it play Shake down the thunder from the sky! as I’m leaving the house.


I was speaking to Robo back in the Otways- my old teammate, now Captain of the club. He’s doing up his old house. One of those renovation jobs where, in the end, 90% of your house is new, sleeping in a swag until the job’s done.

“You know those little soft promotional footies?” He asked.


“Got one at home. Love kicking it around all the time. The other day I wouldn’t go to bed until I’d kicked it through the door frame ten times in a row.

Footy tragic. 32 years old. Love him for it.

“That’s nothing,” I said. “Was sent to put up the signs for Johnno’s bush bash. Had to measure out 1km from the turnoff, but my speedo carked it.  So I figured: Shit! What can I use? 20 x 50 meters is 1km. And I drove slow, going. A kick plus ten meters, that’s fifty. A kick plus ten meters, that’s 100. A kick plus ten meters, that’s 150.”

Robo laughed.

“Then I thought: Who are you kidding Old Dog. Your hammies are shot. A kick plus 15 meters. A kick plus 15 meters.”

And Robo smiled.

Footy tragics.  Both of us.

I once knew an old supporter who would walk down to the oval every Saturday in winter. One week we’d be playing, he’d barrack.

The next week we’d be away, and he’d stare out over the oval and reminisce…


  1. Good work Matty. I know the feeling.

    One summer, my mate Tommy and I did a road trip to Adelaide along the Ocean Road with not much more than a Sherrin for company. It took us two days to get there because we stopped at every little country footy oval for kick-to-kick.
    In Heywood, an old local approached us and tried to recruit us for the following season. But the travel to and from Melbourne may have been a problem.

  2. Barkly St End says

    Smokie’s post makes me think that a worhthwhile life’s journey could be centred around aiming to have a kick of a Sherrin on every footy oval in Australia.

    I’m sure someone has already thought of this, has documented it, and has gone through 70% of them already.

  3. N eil Anderson says

    Did the big sea-change from Melbourne to near Terang in the western district of Victoria. Called at the nearest store at a no-horse town for provisions and found myself surrounded by a bunch of locals eyeing off the stranger. Turned out they were commitee-men from the local footy club checking out a possible recruit.
    They must have been desperate considering I was in my forties and wore glasses, but the fact I was about six-feet tall, upright and breathing must have done the trick because they invited me down to training.
    Of course the ego took over and I started wondering where I could buy some boots and a jockstrap before Tuesday night training. Raced home to tell my non-sporting wife how the locals had embraced me and wanted me to join the footy club hoping for a ‘ Gee that was quick! Isn’t that marvelous!
    Unfortunately the bubble was burst when she said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous, they’ll kill you!’
    So although I was stopped in my tracks with a dose of realism, for a brief time at least, I was transported back to another time when the smell and the feel of a Sherrin was so familiar. I was so flattered to be asked to play footy I forgot I was no longer in my twenties.

  4. Dennis Cometti:
    “Here’s Scarlett. He’s got the football. That was well worked; Kelly gave it to him. Selwood. Putting on a clinic the young man. Wonderful handpass! Ablett; Ling; Ablett. This is teh reason they’re the premiership favourites. Stokes with a loose man on. Get’s it across to our man, Cam Mooney, and teh Moonster put’s it through.”

    Tim Watson:
    “I don’t think we’ll see a better passage of football that highlights what this Geelong team is all about.”

    The above is commentary from the 2007 Cats/Kangas Qualifying Final, and my ringtone.

    Went to Bali once; carry on luggage only. Had to decide what clothing to leave behind so I could fit the Sherrin in. Unfortuantely, they made me deflate teh footy before getting on teh plane so was short on clothes and the Sherrin was useless!!

  5. Paul Daffey says

    Nice one, Matt.

    During a recent trip to see relatives, I was reminded of my youth when a young bloke saw my son with a footy in the Swan Hill caravan park and wondered over to have a kick.

    They had a kick for 20 minutes and then the young bloke wandered off.

    No words had been spoken.

  6. Part of my new years exercise routine this summer is to go for a run and then walk most nights, including about 5 laps of the Glenferrie Oval in Hawthorn.

    Going to do it the other day, I took one of my son’s footies, pumped it up and bounced it all the way.

    Felt fantastic.

    Of course, had to take a few sneaky shots from the pocket.

    Being school hols the kids (12 yo boy, 11 yo girl) are a bit housebound, so I take them a few times a week too. We spend the walk talking, catching up on their day and handballing.

    Feels so much better doing exercise with the footy in your hands.

    Get where you are coming from Matt. Sweet read.


  7. Jeff Dowsing says

    Under the subset ‘tragic superstitions’ I wore the same undies to Colingwood games for several seasons. They just made it to the 2010GF and were hanging by a thread come the replay. They had to be ‘retired’, though I regret not giving them a final final run in the 2011 decider.

    I’m wondering if the National Sports Museum has a spare glass display for such important relics?

  8. Wear a scarf or beanie anywhere overseas and it’s amazing how many footy tragics you’ll flush out!

  9. Matt Zurbo says

    Scarves and beanies are red flags! Haha!

  10. Richard Naco says

    I personally love the story of Jimmy Bartel at Rome airport after the 2007 triumph (as told in The Mission – gawd, I love a romance!), and an Essendon fan started to give him grief about the Geelong bag Jimmeh was carrying.

    “Didn’t we win it this year?”, Bartel asked the bloke.

    At which point the Bomber fan conceded the argument and wandered off.

    (Jimmeh obviously wasn’t wearing his Brownlow just then either.)

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