Poetry: The fake green grass of home

Thoughts upon visiting Australia’s first full-size synthetic footy ground
Saltwater Reserve, Point Cook, Victoria
Sunday 29 December 2013

Vin Maskell - CentreCircleAndClubrooms


Plastic grass
From wing to wing
From flank to flank
From one goalsquare to another

Plastic grass
As far as the eye can see
As far as the boot can kick
As far as the ball can fly
As far as the players can run

Too green to be true
Too perfect
The fake green grass of home

Opened in December 2011
A plaque tells me
Old news
I’m behind the times

Backed by the AFL
Says the plaque
And Cricket Australia
Cricket Victoria too
Built by the City of Wyndham

Fast-growing suburbs out here
Growing faster than the grass

No curator mowing here
No sprinklers and their rainbows
No dirt
No soil
No roots

But still grassroots footy
In a way
Home ground of Point Cook, the Bulldogs
Home ground of the future
Sign of the times
The life acrylic

Is there any give here?
Any soft landings for
Knees, ankles, heads, hearts?

And boots, with their sprigs and stops and fancy soles
Will they make their maps of each game?

And when it rains?
Will there be puddles and mud and dirty shorts?
Or just players slip-sliding away?
The life synthetic

Everything’s okay
The web tells me
Plenty of research
‘Performance characteristics, playability
Player comfort and safety’

Embrace the change
I tell myself
Embrace a new era
The future is here
The future is fake
Like a vinyl footy
(I don’t mind those lightweight balls
Forty five KPA is easier on the bones and the joints)

The future is fake
Like Friday night lights
Like a roof blocking out the sunshine
Like grass that never grows

I wish I’d had my boots and shorts
That Sunday, like most Sundays
And a body without its current aches
I wish I’d had my favourite footy
And half-a-dozen mates

I wanted to run and run
The ball bouncing truly
The Saltwater wind  at my back
The seabreeze in my hair
A mate leading perfectly  from the perfect green goalsquare
As I deliver the perfect pass
While running across the perfect grass

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.


  1. Simon Dix-Draper says


  2. john darcy says

    No sheep grazing on this paddock… nice work Vin!

  3. Jeepers, Vin.
    Love that your response to this sight is to write poetry.

    Sounds like the kind of “Progress” sung about by Midnight Oil.

    “…Got your last meal, filled up with pesticide
    Hamburger chain third world infanticide
    Got robot car your jobs will disappear
    It’s the politics of a brand new year
    Manhattanization is coming, open your eyes if you dare
    Carry us on to the crossroads, come to your senses and care…”

  4. Jeepers indeed. My last poem, The first ball of the first over, deliberately channelled Paul Kelly. And this little one is indirectly channelling Midnight Oil. Lord knows where this is leading us! Thanks.

  5. Philip K. Dick asked, Do androids dream of electric sheep? To which we can add, do they play footy on synthetic grass? Terrific poem, Vin.

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