Love and Football I



The most goddamn fantastic thing I have seen in football happened in the Bay, where not enough good things happened. I was at war with most everybody at the time.

But, this one nothing day, not hot or cold, a sky going nowhere, I had come into town for supplies. I was talking bullshit with Rhyno, fellow hack, about the season gone, and saw Connor, 18, son of the new publican, tall, super athletic, just a great, young person, walking down the street with Bonnie, the 17 year old daughter of a former club champion. Also tall and athletic, as good at netball as Connor was a jet at footy.

They looked a perfect couple, both in trackies, kicking along as if they had all the time in the world, which they did. Which they radiated.

They had a footy between them. He would lazily bounce it as he walked. It would kick up into her hands. She would lazily bounce it so it kicked up into his.

Him to hers, hers to him, talking a bit, strolling down the block and into the next street. As casual as.

Him to hers, hers to him.


In the background I could hear a ripper set breaking on the sand banks.

“Man, young love…” I said to Ryno.

“Ain’t it fucking grand…” he said.

And we went on with our days, invincible on other people’s youth.



  1. His and Hers footballs, there’s a newbie for the wedding gift registry :)

  2. Well defined. I thought I was in love once. I was trying to teach my English Rose how to mark and kick a Sherrin when a high floater came down and broke her finger. The football gods had spoken most clearly.

    I knew my wife had to be my wife when after bonding on many other levels she was introduced to footy. The first stage was passed with flying colours with her dogged persistence in learning to kick up on the mountain, where there were no other blokes available for my afternoon kick to kicks. Stage 2 and confirmation of a wedding proposal occurred when I made her take me to a Lions vs St Kilda game at the ‘Gabba for my birthday. We were uni students and high falutin’ entertainment was rare.

    Lucy wasn’t much of a sporty girl. In her own words; “Not so hot on the gross motor skills”. This was 2000, when the Lions were moving towards their prime. Many of the young blokes were making their mark, Voss, the Scotts, Lappin, Power, Black, Leppitsch, Michael, with a few old heads to lead them around Pikey (for Matt!), Lynch, Ashcroft, Lambert, Hart and the incomparable Darryl White. But the most obvious player on the field was Aker, as always.

    He was freshly blonded and at his pacy, aerobic best. After about 5 minutes, their was a ball up on the Lions right half back flank. We were up high in the stands right on the 50m line almost on top of the play. I said to Lucy; “Just watch Aker”. Voss got the ball out from congestion to Aker on the defensive outside and kicked a 35m pass to a leading half forward on the wing. “Watch Aker” I said. As oon as he kicked it he took off and ran 45 degrees to the play to mark the ball about 30m out from goal after running flat stick for 150m . No one could stay with him. He kicked the goal.

    At this point Lucy was punching me and demnding to know; “Why haven’t you brought me to a game before this?” The next year we got memberships and watched the first of those dominat years come to pass. The year after we got enagaged. Married in GF week, reception on the day the Lions beat Collingwood in the rain, first born son arrived 4 days after they won the third in a row, (got away with naming him after Simon Black who won the Norm Smith!)

    In fact it is the single biggest point scoring romantic thing I am able to do. Remember our anniversary before Lucy does. Every year!

    Ain’t love and footy grand…

  3. Sorry, Blacky won the Browlow, not Norm Smith…

  4. Matt Zurbo says

    For anyone interested in the power of love and footy, the couple I wrote this piece about at till together fifteen years later, with kids, still in love. Yeah.

  5. Matt Zurbo says

    Gus, that’s the best story ever! She have a sister?!?! Haha.

    (Hey, what happened to the coming over there proposal? I worked, I saved… (: )

  6. First game on the 22nd Brother Zurbo!

    We are looking light on for talls…

  7. Matt Zurbo says

    Details, Brother Gus!

    [email protected]

    tall I am, rich I am not! Haha.

  8. Tried to email, but got a could not deliver message….

  9. Matt Zurbo says

    Haha, sorry, Gus, that is because I am working three jobs, and tired and a monkey to boot! This time I will spell it right!

    [email protected]

  10. Issues with the link?

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