My first game of football

By Dave Warner

My first game of football

I watched in the underbelly shadow of John Glenn’s orbiting capsule

and with no less wonder than him

slack-jawed at the spinning orb dangling just beyond gravity’s grasping fingers,

the memory still lingers

the rasp of the hot-dog boy, the rustle of Budgets,

the whistles of men in white echoing on a wisp of wind,

the sight of the stripes blue and white, Smith and Wesson

thud on boot ignites a yellow Chesson into parabolic splendour,

the smell of dry cooch,

shouts in unfamiliar vernacular, spectacular as any funicular,

vehicular collisions of bone and epidermis,

check rugs, thermos,

an explosion of sensation that Nagosakied the heart of this eight year old and demanded forever devotion,

a secular rosary of team placings back page Friday’s paper to re-reading hot off the press green smudgy pap on Saturday evening as South African fillet stewed on a gas-cooker,

a novena, every March to September, remembered

a genuflection to perfection begun my first game of football,

a torrent of unidentified passions, inspiring words that could not be formed let alone spoken

but undeniably living in gestation, a plasm in the blood, spontaneous,

contemporaneous to the astronaut spinning over seven oceans

through stars marvelled at by ancestor hunters wielding nothing but bone weapons and he in a fish bowl helmet
exalted, a privileged witness to this triumph of man

but no more so than I, an eight year old boy on the hill at East Fremantle Oval watching my first game of football.

About dave warner

East Freo supporter, musician, writer who has used football themes in songs (Half Time at the Football, Suburban Boy, Free Kicks) and books (City of Light, Footy's Hall of Shame)


  1. Wonderful evocation of time and place Dave.
    Now I understand that what unites Sandgropers and Croweaters in our hatred of the Vics.
    We are both frugal farming folk with a Footy Budget, while those arrogant Victorians self aggrandise with the Footy Record.
    Long playing; one note methinks.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Ah, the yellow Chesson, cf. SA’s Ross Faulkner ball

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