Perhaps footy isn’t the answer to everything?

Music’s coming out of the speakers; the dog is stretching out behind me making funny noises, I’m sipping from my bottle of lemon ice tea and I am bored. And sick. I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks now, the day of the Thursday night Carlton v Brisbane Lions game was the first day I felt weak and lethargic, and while I’m feeling a lot better, I’m still not even back to 100% yet, 70% maximum. I’ve gotten a couple of needles, a blood test and some prods and jabs from the doctor, and all he can come up with is that I have pneumonia and I should just take it easy while taking the awful medicine he gives me. These massive capsules he expects me to fit down my throat. I got Mum to open them up and I swallowed the insides of it. It wasn’t delicious. After doing that for the third time, I promptly grabbed my large silver bowl and emptied the small portions of food, drink and drugs I had consumed for the past few days. Throwing up is something I really don’t enjoy, but by God I felt better afterwards. I’m sure the Almanac community didn’t really want to read that, but bad luck.

I went to school today (Wednesday) for the first time since the last week of term, last term. The last time I was at school, 12 or so Richmond players were in attendance and we got a talk in how to start our careers after Year 12 from Daniel Jackson and Jake King. It was quite a good talk, and I was relieved to have asked about five questions, the equal most from anyone in the room. I wasn’t expecting a better day today. Mum said I could go if it wasn’t raining in the morning, and I really did want to go. I’d been lying in bed for two weeks in a row without any direct contact to friends, and I was looking forward to getting out of the house. As I slept during the night, I heard the rain pouring and I didn’t like my chances. But, as I opened my eyes in the morning, it was grey outside but it wasn’t raining. I got dressed into my school clothes; I finally bought a pair of long school pants, although I still refuse to wear the school jumper. I just don’t like it. I put some wax into my hair, brushed my teeth, sprayed some chocolate Lynx onto myself and I was ready to go. I decided to take some cough medicine, as it actually does stop my coughing for an hour or so. Arriving at school, I congregate around the library with my friends, talking about what we got up to during the holidays. I was ribbed because of my weak and gravelly voice, but I didn’t really care.

My first class was double Australian Studies. Not to be racist here, but every Friday, my usual Australian Studies teacher has a year 12 class to teach at the same time as our class, so he took priority and we are left with the Indian/Danish/whatever nationality he is teacher that I had for Maths and Commerce last semester. He can barely speak a sentence without showing his fierce flaw in the English language, and he just doesn’t seem to have a grip on things. So why is he teaching my class of Australian Studies when this guy can barely talk the language and wouldn’t know what Uluru is? Luckily this is only every Friday. Anyway, we are given a sheet of every state/territory of Australia and need to rank them from largest to smallest. We have a table debate over whether New South Wales is larger than South Australia, I think SA is bigger but the teacher decides with NSW. Then we need to rank some cities/towns of Australian in order of largest to smallest population. Some of the cities include the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Melbourne, Sydney and Perth, while places like Newcastle, Wollongong and even my town of Numurkah was on the sheet of paper we were given. Next, we needed to colour in a map of Australia with some coloured pencils. Year 10 is hard work, eh? I had a couple of Soothers, and soon it was Play-Lunch time (Recess sounds too much like prison), as the annoying school bell pointed out. Something I haven’t missed for the past three weeks is that stupid bell. Apparently you can hear it from the main street, a good 2km away. It gives us temporary deafness, but at least it signals the end of class.

The strict librarian has put in a new rule that no one is allowed in the library unless you are engrossed in a novel and not whispering a word to the person next to you. Well, I haven’t been at school for a while, so I don’t know of this rule, correct? According to her I should know anyway, but I stand my ground and say in my gravelly voice that I’m not going back outside, as it had started to rain. I won the battle, and continued to read the Herald Sun. Soon, Play-Lunch was over, and it was time for Science. I made my way to class, where we made a magnet out of electricity, and the class was soon over. I had yet another class of Science next though, so I moved two classrooms down and started the next class, where we went through the alphabet and came up with words to do with Science beginning with each letter, Astronomy for A, Ballistics for B etc. The annoying bell went off again, waking the dead, and my friend and I made our way to the café to buy a bottle of Mr. D’s, I needed a drink to soothe my throat and itch my cough. The library was closed for absolutely everyone at Lunch, cruel as it was pouring down rain, so my group of friends went into the corridor to sit, relax and listen to a bit of music on each other’s phones. Because that’s what the cool kids do…

After Lunch, I had English in the Library. It was reading period, but for the 48 minutes I just sat there on the comfy chairs looking at the ceiling, trying not to fall asleep. Don’t worry; I don’t do that in every English class. Period 6 was Maths, I had a new teacher I hadn’t had before, and she impressed me, sending me out with two other students to survey all of the year 7’s and 8’s, which is actually quite fun, better than sitting in the classroom doing maths off the whiteboard. We had to ask the kiddies how many hours they spend on the computer on average day. How frustrating it was when a year 7 would reply with “Umm…ahh…umm…hmm let me think about that…I don’t actually have a computer.” Some other kids answered up to 10 hours, which is just wrong.

School was over, and my ribs were copping a beating from my continuous coughing. I hopped on the bus and got back off at my stop half an hour later, and it was pouring rain and windy. Mum was late picking me up, so I had to walk a fair way braving the elements. When Mum roared down the road and picked me up, I explained my day to her (not in as much detail as I have here, I basically told her I did nothing at school, same as always) and said I was going to take the rest of the week off so I can recover for the Waaia bus trip down to the MCG on Sunday for the Richmond v North Melbourne game. I’ve got my priorities in order, don’t you worry about that.

I got home, had a quick feed and a read of the local paper, before rugging up in a couple of jumpers, my trackies and ugg boots and collapsed on the couch watching TV. Soon I was asleep, and I woke back up at 6:30. I’m a good sleeper.

I quickly made myself some pasta for tea (almost burnt the kitchen down too, burning plastic is not a good idea for your kitchen and family) and made my way to the computer, where I still am as I write this. A few things are going through my head. I should have a shower before it gets too cold for me to bother. I’d much rather just go to the warmth of my bed, but my hair still has some product in it that needs to be washed out. I need a haircut, but I think I’ll let it grow and get one a few weeks before the Almanac launch. I’m sure Mum and Dad will protest this. Another thing going through my mind is a puzzler. I’m missing summer. No, not a mysterious girl by the name of summer, I’m missing the hot weather, the nights with the window open, the long nights of watching the Tennis, the days of wearing thongs, shorts and a singlet and going to the pool. Recently Steve Healy raised the question of having an Almanac barbie. Sounds like a really good idea. Probably not convenient for me, but I’d be happy to make the trip down to Melbourne for a gather and discussion about the recent Grand Final, the trade week, the draft etc. over some finely cooked meat. But, if I miss summer, does that mean I’m growing old of footy? That’s a question that’s been bugging me recently. Sure, I want to be able to wake up without having an immense shiver attack, and to be able to go outside without wearing eighteen layers of clothing, but would I like to give up footy for some warmer weather? I’m really looking forward to the next season of local Tennis, I can’t wait to unzip my racquet bag and pull out the brand new Wilson that Mum and Dad bought me earlier this year. Playing footy for Waaia at the moment, it’s good but I’m not enjoying it. I’m not hating it of course, but going out every week to be pummeled by 15 goals or so is wearing thin with me.

At the moment, the next seven rounds of footy seem really unnecessary to me, just get the finals action underway. I’ve never thought this. What is happening to me? Don’t get me wrong, I’m really looking forward to some matches in the coming weeks, but I just want the finals to start and for the Grand Final to be decided. I don’t know if this means I’m despising footy at the moment or that I’m just thirsty to see some good matches in front of massive crowds. Definitely the latter when I think about it. I can’t see St Kilda being beaten this year; it will be good to see a team that isn’t Geelong win the flag this year, no offence Catters. Perhaps even Richmond can push for a Grand Final berth? Maybe not.

If you’re still reading this, well done. I didn’t really write this article for someone to read from start to finish, who would want to anyway? An account of my day and thoughts is perhaps the most boring thing on Earth. But, it had to be done, it killed an hour’s time and now I’m tired, ready for bed. Goodnight.

About Josh Barnstable

21 year old North Melbourne supporter from country Victoria. Currently living in Melbourne studying a Bachelor of Sports Media. Dreams of becoming a sports journalist and broadcaster.


  1. John Butler says

    Hang in there Josh.

    School has that effect on most of us at one time or other.

  2. Yes.

    I’ve often thought, too, that footy isn’t the answer to everything which ails me.

    I want the finals to start too.

    It was great reading about the careers seminar and how you put chocolate Lynx over yourself.

    Oh, the librarian!

    And the survey between you guys and the year 7s.

    (Some of us do spend 10 hours on the computer, excluding meals and other activities).

    Ah, country footy! Pummelled by 15 goals or so.

  3. Danielle says

    Nice job Joshy.
    First off, school sucks!
    Secondly if You’re girl is called Summer then my guy is called Winter :)
    i love this hail and rain (even if it takes like half an hour just to get the stockings on for school in the cold) :)
    And Lastly DON’T cut the curls!!

  4. Barney,

    Hang in there. You’re probably seeing life through a murky grey lens because you’re sick, once you’re fully better your outlook on life will improve again.

    I’ve had some hilarious foreign substitute teachers in my time

    Just wondering, who were the other Richmond players who came to your school?

  5. Damian Watson says


    Firstly you must have the easiest Year 10 school curriculum known to man!

    To give you an idea of the contrast this is my typical day:

    Civics- Memorise all of the Functions of Law and analysing newspaper articles (a good thing).
    Maths- calculating Taxation
    Literature- writing essay on ‘The Sentimental Bloke’
    Science- conducting psychology tests
    VCE History- writing about the holocaust

    You have it mighty easy in the country!

    But seriously hang in there, once you are hooked on footy it is difficult for your passion to wane. Once you recover from your illness I’m sure you’ll look forward to running out onto the field again.

  6. Danielle says

    5- Damo, it’s good they get u under the pump early so that year 12 will be nothing new, but its also bad to burn you out early too.
    After 5 years of working hard all the time on school work, i get to the year that matters and i worry that my engine is pretty much burnt out.

  7. Damo – That sounds harder than what I had in year 10, although mine was definitely more rigorous than Josh’s. I had tough subjects like French, but then I also had Creative Writing which was very easy.

    The phrase “psychology tests” made me think of an interesting ad I saw, if you haven’t seen it already I’m sure you’ll find it interesting:

  8. Steve Healy says

    yes, stay true with FOOTY. I love a bit of finely cooked meat too.

    Good piece, i might do one of these one day

  9. Danni: The hot weather is for me, even if the bushfire danger rises immensly.

    Adam: You’re testing my memory here. There was Jackson, King, Brett Deledio, Trent Cotchin, Nathan Foley and i’m pretty sure Matt Dea and David Astbury were there too. There were a few others as well, but I can’t recall them as they were all in the staff-room and all you could see was yellow and black shirts and Jackson and King were the only ones to talk to us.

    Damo: It’s not always this easy, it was only the third day of school so I guess they are just gently weaning us back into school life again. The Sentimental Bloke? That sounds interesting.

  10. Barney

    I spot a pattern there, most of that list are from Country Victoria. My guess is that some of the possible others would have been Andrew Browne, Dan Connors, Andy Collins, Dustin Martin, Kel Moore and Shane Tuck.

    Although Jacko, King and Cotchin are all Metro boys. Of course, I mean that they hail from Metropolitan melbourne, not that they dress overly stylishly for straight men (Angus Graham is the Tigers’ metro in that sense)

  11. Kel Moore was another one Adam, either him or Luke McGuane, I usually get the two mixed up. Dusty definitely wasn’t there.

  12. Ah, I thought you probably would have noticed Dusty if he was.

  13. Yeah, I probably would have noticed if every girl and female teacher in the school went running in his direction. Instead, girls were getting pictures with Cotchin. Frustrating when you see the picture on Facebook and the caption is: “Me and the hot Richmond dude!!” They don’t even know his name!

  14. Danielle says

    Josh, atleast twice every few days one of the girls or even a teacher will discover the pic of me and Medders or me and Jack on my school diary and say-
    “oohh, whose THAT!?” :)

  15. maybe in english you should’ve read the heraldsun ? 8)

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