How to Watch Footy, part 7

Reading the game

Various games. Too many to list.

Viewing spot: Kitchen table.

Dress code: Tracky dacks and T-shirt.

Catering: Cereal and milk.

Times: Sunday and Monday mornings.

Pre-match: wake up, collect paper from driveway.

Task (1): Open sports pages at the fine print of the local footy scores.

Task (2): Turn letters into names of teams and players, and numbers into goals, behinds and points.

Mentors: Primary school teachers of reading and maths: Sister Bernadette, Miss Noble, Sister Felicity…

Cartography: Make a mental map of the dozens of ovals you wish you could visit (West Preston Lakeside, Woodend-Hesket, Manor Lakes, Albanvale, Norwood, St Kilda City…).

Weather: Try to pick local conditions by the scores. Was there a big wind blowing at Diggers Rest? Was the ground at Rowville a bog? Was the ground hard and the sky clear at Rupertswood?

Close games: Imagine the tension, the sound of the siren, the cheering of fans, the tooting of car horns.

Serious thrashings: Can a club survive losing by 30 goals every week? Can a league survive? A town? A  player?

Query: What’s happened to the country scores? (Where are the scores for Mangoplah Cookardinia United?)  And the rest of the Amateurs? (Where are the scores for Williamstown CYMS in D1?) There would be room for some of these scores if the paper didn’t have an advertisement slap bang in the middle of the scores directing its readers to ‘your computer, tablet or mobile phone for a comprehensive list of scores…’

Quandary: How do you scoop mouthfuls of milk and cereal while scrolling on your computer, tablet or mobile phone?

Question:  How do you imagine footy in far-flung places – and, more importantly, life in far-flung places – if the names of the teams and towns are not right in front of you, in the paper, in black and white, on the kitchen table?

Irony: If you’re reading this little article you’re reading it online, on your computer, tablet or mobile phone.

Post-match: Read rest of the ever-diminishing newspaper.

Votes: 3 to club secretaries, 3 to primary school teachers, 3 to those people who drive the streets in the dead of night and toss newspapers onto driveways and into gardens, 3 to sub-editors (last one out the door, please turn off the lights).

About Vin Maskell

Founder and editor of Stereo Stories, a partner site of The Footy Almanac. Likes a gentle kick of the footy on a Sunday morning, when his back's not playing up. Been known to take a more than keen interest in scoreboards - the older the better.

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