God Said

Somewhere between last week’s snow, and this week’s constant rain, the hard, grey weather that floods or buries roads, God put his finger over our oval, leaving a blue sky that lasted six hours, and whispered “Bloody oath. Play.”
There was no wind, no mud. Just cold air and sun getting in our eyes.
Our coach praised us for the way we played last week. A few of us had a small laugh. Last week we had the bye. He should get to training more. Then we ran out against a top three team and almost won.
I did my ribs in the first, and was hunched and showered by half time.
My brain went through all the “what ifs”.
I didn’t have to charge the ball like that.
If Kev had played I would not have been where I was when the knee came.
If this, if that
, just to get those thoughts out of the way. I’ve played with broken collar bones, and dislocated elbows and concussion, but every year or two injuries beat you. I’ve broken 19 bones. Had eight surgeries. can’t make a proper fist with either hand any more. Twice they’ve cost me Premierships. Injuries are a tax. A body tax on football. I’m not special. We all take our turn.

“Had enough for the day, Dog?” Betsy said, as I walked from the showers, crumpled, past the seniors, who were gathering for their pre-match.
“Yeah, fuck perfect weather,” i told him. “God’s a tease.”
Outside, horns were honking through another goal.
“They’re doing better without you,” he chuckled.
“Only funny because it’s true,” I grunted, sitting down.
“Retire,” Ted said, as he walked by.

Sitting by myself, I listened to the game through the weatherboard walls. Almost commentating by the sounds.
A goal to the opposition has a small cheer. Players and coaching staff only.
A local goal has car horns and noise from the bar.
A reserves goal has a more laconic cheer to a senior cheer.
A bronx cheer means on-the-full, or an opposition player got caught trying to take them on.
A speckie has a startled roar to it.
A gutsy bit of play has an “oooh”
A tough bit of play has a growl.
A contested ball, or boundary throw in has barking from the crowd.
A solid grab or bit of play has a touch of admiration in its tone.
A boring game has the murmur of small talk.
A close game has an electric sound.

On the other side of the wall 36 men and boys were fighting their guts out for a leather ball.

It was raining again by the time I drove home. There were a few parties in town, so the women had gone. The handful of local boys were getting good and sloppy because they could, gearing up for a big one in the middle of winter nowhere. But my ribs weren’t up to it.
The snow from last week had either up-rooted or put a lean on most of the trees on my dirt road. The ute’s headlights made it look like I was driving through a tunnel, all the way up the mountain, to home.

The season’s got some weight to it now. Is taking shape. The seniors held on to win my two points against a finals team. They’re a real chance. The ressies need some luck. Not much I can do with ribs except heal.



  1. johnharms says

    How long for the ribs, Dog?

    Love your observations of the sounds of the crowd.

  2. Mulcaster says

    Your ribs will heal much quicker were you to medicate with a bottle of “Inner Circle”OP Rum.

  3. Matt Zurbo says

    Onto it, Mul.

    No idea John. If I ahve any say in it, not long.

  4. Ribs. Bugger. Just when you think they are fine a deep breath will remind you they are not quite right…

  5. Pamela Sherpa says

    Ouch ! It must hurt to breathe . A good time to write.

  6. Richard Naco says

    But don’t laugh. Under any circumstances.

    And forget about coughing as well.

  7. Matt Zurbo says

    Haha. Thanks all. They are only bruised, I think, as I have broken them twice before and know the difference. It takes a day or two for things to settle and assess.

    Farting, no.

    Laughing, no way.

    Sneezing, bloodt hell.

    Running fast? Can’t lose what you never had.

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