Take no heed of the early crow

I wish my boy was seven years older so he could have come home from Reservoir West primary on Monday and seek me out to make things better; put him at ease.

For those little monsters wearing different colours would have been telling him his world is about to turn for the worst. That his heroes are no good; worse, they are useless.

He would drop his school bag in the hallway then shuffle his feet to the dining room, where I’d be sitting at the table. His downcast face, looking at his scuffed shoes, would warn me something was wrong; that something terrible had happened.

“Dad, the Cats are no good anymore,” he would say.

I would take my glasses off, fold them, and put them on the table to signify the seriousness of the situation. I would pick him up and sit him on my knee.

“Why’s that?” I would ask.

“They said at school we were no good. We can’t even beat the Crows,” he would say.

“It’s a bit tough for you to understand, mate,” I would say, “but sometimes even the Cats get beaten. When Scarlett and Jimmy and Travvy and young Menzel are out, it makes it a bit tougher. Don’t worry too much about it. You don’t write off a good team like the Cats after one bad loss.”

“Yeah, but Luke said we’ve been near the top so long that you have to be bad for a while. Are we going to be bad, like the Lions? I don’t want to be like the Lions dad,” he would say, the tears welling in his eyes.

“Son, a lot of people like young Darcy don’t think before they speak,” I would say. “They feel they have to fill the silence even if they have nothing to add. You’re a smart boy; you tell them we’ve got enough good kids to at least make the finals every year, just like Sydney. There are eight spots, even in a bad year we’re better than the Tigers and the Kangaroos, they’ll never quite crack it.”

“But Dad,” he’d say. “Rob said we miss Lingy and Ottens and couldn’t do it without them.”

“Oh son,” I would say. “Don’t let young Wallsy bother you. Didn’t he say Lingy and Ottens were no good in 2010 and shouldn’t have played last year? Don’t take too much notice of him. He fills the silence too when he shouldn’t.”

“It’s not just them, Dad,” he would say. “Everyone says we’re too slow.”

“We’ll be better when Travvy Varcoe and Wojo are back mate, and when Corey and Chappy find a bit of form. It’s only May. It’s no good peaking now, like the Bombers, or Carlton did last month, or the Hawks did in March. Best be in good form in September. We did that in 2009, won the flag that year.”

“Was that the one we watched the other night?” He’d ask.

“No, that was 2007,” I’d say with a gentle laugh. “It’s hard to keep up when we’ve won so many.”

“Hempy said that if we made the finals this year we wouldn’t get near Essendon. It’s in all the papers.”

“Well, I think if it came down to it in the finals I’d rather have Selwood, Bartel, Chappy and Kelly in the middle rather than Stanton, Watson, Zaharakis and Lonergan, wouldn’t you?”

“Yeah, you’re right. Thanks Dad,” he would say.

“My pleasure, mate,” I would say. “Now, do you want some Milo?”

About Stephen Cooke

Cumbersome ruckman of the garden variety


  1. Andrew Starkie says

    Cookey, my niece and nephew go to St. Anthony’s in Fairfield and each September they have footy colours day. It is always a traumatic experience for the clan because as you would expect they are the only kids in royal blue and white in the playground. LUkey, being a bit younger, takes it harder than Eliie, who’s a cool grade 6 chick. Lukey gets hassled by his Magpie and Blues mates to jump ship and cross to the darkside. He’s been known to come home tearful from such days and more than once we’ve almost lost him to the ds. Thankfully, it hasn’t happened yet, but footy colours day is always tough.

  2. You should keep them home that day – easier for everyone. I laugh when new parents worry about whose side the child will take – mum’s or dad’s because there’s always the chance the kid will come home one day from school and say he’s switched to Port because his mate has.

  3. Enough already, Stephen. You’ve got the job. There is only so much sycophancy and nepotism that the average reader can take. In future, please put a disclaimer before all your articles:
    “This is a paid political announcement on behalf of the Katter’s Australia Party.
    Authorised JT Harms. Spoken S Cooke. Corio. Victoria.”

  4. Andrew Starkie says

    There’s no democracy in this house. the kid’s a roo or she’s in the back shed

  5. Rick Kane says

    Cookie, stories are the sustenance, the life-blood of community. Milo helps as well. So you are doing well to raise your child on the meaning of all things that matter. And if things get grimmer, there’s always The Brothers Grimm. If you go into the woods today …


  6. ………………………..and Freddo Frogs go well with the milo Steve.

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