Just a single act threw me

Just a simple act threw me. Billy emerged, freshly showered and ready for what the day had to offer. I gave her a hug, whether it was sensible or not in this COVID-19 infested climate, and offered to brew up a cup of tea.


It was a glorious day. The sky was a brilliant blue, there was only the slightest hint of a breeze and the Autumn air smelled fresher and cleaner than I could remember for such a long time. Encouraged by this, I suggested we should go for a bike ride. The wheels hadn’t revolved around the axles of our bikes since our beautiful Pugalier, Laika, entered our lives. Billy searched for our bike helmets but couldn’t find them where they had always lived – under our footy caps hanging off a hook on the hallway stand. She grabbed the caps with the exception of last season’s, and thrust them into my hands. ‘Hoarder! Get rid of them!’ I stood confounded. We had culled the caps and scarves many times before, but this time it was confronting. With this season’s football season all but lost, it was as though all that footy history I had been through seemed to be of no value.


Footy flows through my veins. I love the cut and thrust of the game and my deep love and connection to the Western Bulldogs (Footscray) is known to many. To just casually throw away those memories, to confine history to the junk-pile, really shook me. Unbeknownst to her, Billy had really hurt me. She still doesn’t know.


In this current climate, like most people I imagine living in closer proximity than usual, I try to keep the peace and tread delicately. ‘It’s only a game’ I could hear her say. But it’s more than that to me. It’s about history, connection to people and place, something to look forward to and something to treasure. Ironically, the night before, I had turned to Fox Footy during an ad break on the Graham Norton Show. To my delight they were showing the last quarter of the Giants/Dogs Preliminary Final from the Bulldogs’ Premiership year of 2016. I hadn’t seen it for a while and forgotten how tight is was – scores level less that 4 minutes to go. Billy came in with cups of tea and surprisingly let me keep on watching it. She didn’t look up from her phone at the Johannisen run or the subsequent Bontempelli goal. I was beside myself again. ‘We were there that night. Don’t you remember?’ Of course, she did, but that was it. It was an exciting night out for her and she was genuinely happy for me and my fellow Bulldog fanatics at the time, but how many times had I watched that game?


I searched through the caps in my hand. The 2016 cap was not there. Had that already been accidentally ditched?


This virus, this isolation, this obsession with washing hands had got to me. I didn’t want to see my history washed away, confined to a world pre-coronavirus. I wanted to return to normal, barrack at the game, shout at the TV set. I know longer cared about a bike ride.


Half an hour later, Billy had climbed the Ivy Street hill ahead of me. She rode quickly down the hill toward me. As she passed, she smiled and held out her elbow. I smiled back and proffered mine. The scoreline read: Les and Billy 1 – COVID-19 0.




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About Les Currie

I'm a passionate lifelong Bulldog supporter born and raised in Melbourne, After stints in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne I have now been in Sydney for the last 30 years. I have been involved in the arts all my life predominantly as a Theatre Producer and Manager with early stints in film and television. I am now getting back into writing and enjoying developing the character of Zuka the Flying Wonder Dog and working on a novel set in post '54 Footscray. When not working, writing, watching plays or movies or watching footy I'm at the beach or in the bush avoiding traffic.


  1. Colin Ritchie says

    I think many of us missing live footy have reverted to watching replays to compensate. For me Essendon ‘84 has featured, I especially enjoy the last quarter and Leon Baker’s efforts. Your story does raise a dilemma, as a Bomber member a new scarf or cap is received in the membership package each year and naturally build up in the cupboard never to be used again once the season is finished. I couldn’t throw any off them out, too many memories! My wife would like to see more space in the cupboard!

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