Scarfin it up

In the recovery institution I am currently residing in, fashion is not a priority. From the adolescents to the aged, clients walk around in hospital issue dressing gowns, pajama quality t-shirts (Australian Open ’03, Smashing Pumpkins tour 2008) and the ubiquitous black leggings. Admittedly, I am among those who have worn leggings for 48 hour periods, sleeping comfortably in their thermal-like warmth. So today, upon awaking at 8:40 and in a hurry to get in a bit of brekky before ‘community meeting’ at 9, I made my way down to the dining hall sans shoes. Upon returning from my muesli and breath of fresh air, clutching the lifesaver that is an over-sweetened cup of coffee, I was scolded by nurses. “You can’t go down barefooted! What if you stepped on something? And it’s so bloody cold!” After grumbling something about shoes being for people who were going somewhere, I returned to my room in a less-than-content mood.

Feeling reluctance at the thought of changing out of leggings, I sought through my unpacked luggage to see if there was anything to disguise the fact I was still wearing what I’d slept in and avoid the wrath of the second floor staff. “A-ha!” beneath my school rugby jumper I unearthed the Richmond scarf I’d brought subsequent to my last home visit in anticipation of this Sunday’s Melbourne v Richmond game, to be attended with Godfather and crew. I felt immensely satisfied with the garment’s discovery; a scarf thick enough to keep in the warmth and long and bright enough to draw attention away from my chosen pants, which may have needed a wash. I donned the scarf over my jumper, grudgingly pulled on a pair of beaten Doc Martens and made my way into the lounge for the day’s first meeting.

There was only one person sitting in the room, though it was nearing ten past nine; Jess, a patient stationed 3 rooms down the hall from me. She glanced up from her laptop as I entered and remarked, “I like what you’re wear- Oh. Bad colours, terrible.” I looked at her confusedly. “Bombers supporter” Jess offered before returning to her work.

In the next group, commencing at 9:30, the instructor strode in, sat down, and propped his feet up on the piano stool before turning to Jess, ‘How has your week been?” He continued in this manner around the circle, stopping occasionally to coax a patient awake from varying states of sleepiness. Following a brief summary of my week in the clinic, the leader nodded briskly, opened his mouth, shut it again, and finally said, “My sympathies about the football team allegiance.” “It’s ok,” I said and the next person began to recount the ups and downs of their week. Though I believe he thought his smirk went unnoticed, I did not miss the smug look the unusually quiet Collingwood supporter expressed from his corner beanbag and gave him the ol’ raised eyebrow over my cup of tea.

Hours, appointments and lunch passed and I found myself settled back into a beanbag for 1:15 group therapy. The resident cutie pie of the ward, fourteen year old Lizzie, sat down beside me. Absent mindedly she grabbed my scarf and began to braid the yellow and black trailing threads. For the rest of the session, Lizzie and I proceeded to bow, braid and otherwise fashion the scarf’s strings and the scarf itself into more interesting forms. Walking out, a fellow patient commented, “At least the Tiges’ have brought a few people some small happiness this year.”

There were other instances of the scarf’s influence throughout the day, minor turns of its good doing; individuals in the lunch line and courtyard commenting, “Richmond supporter, eh?” and a short discussion with a doctor about the family’s history of supporting the club. At afternoon tea Jess attempted to take the beloved article, saying “It’s not even cold anymore!”My favourite was an eldery woman smiling and whispering, “Carn the Tiges!” from her wheelchair. Well, favourite aside from going mano a mano in eye combat with morning groups’ Pies’ supporter and coming off unscathed, something I doubt that will occur any time soon on the field when the two teams meet.


  1. Julia,

    Good read. If nothing else, a piece of footy attire is a real conversation starter. Why are you in hospital anyway?

    Oh, and if anyone notices the time on this message and wondering why I’m not at school, it’s a curiculum day (yay!)

  2. John Butler says

    A lovely slice of life Julia.

  3. Agreed with Adam, good article and sometimes a simple footy scarf or beanie can be the most important part of your attire.

    I’ve also got a curriculum day Adam, bonus.

  4. Steve Healy says

    Hey Julia, great piece. Scarves are very important and iconic, i always wear one to the game. I hope all is well in hospital.

  5. Thanks guys! I am slowly recovering from what ails me, as well as lacking inernet access (currently typing from mum’s phome). Gotta love footy scarfs, a positive reinforcement of the brilliant colour scheming abilities Richmond has, despite their tenacy to choke.

  6. Julia (or Julz if you want) – what school do you go to?

  7. LOL, Julz, was that a double entendre? :p

    Lovely article, isn’t it wonderful how love of the game can unite us all? Even if it seems to divide us at times, it’s really the AFL fans and the non-AFL fans.

    I think you picked the right group to be a part of ;-)

  8. i love it! great peice julz! you are a very good writer and a bet you have many memories in that richmond scaref! :)

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