The Beginnings of Obsession

By Holly Fahey (almost 15)

Yesterday I attended, along with Paul, Jacob and Joel, a Thommo’s Team 13 clinic in Brunswick Street. After much resentment towards going (“I’m too old”, “I do have a life you know, dad”) I decided on Sunday evening that I would go, just so I could get the signatures of my favourite boys. So on Monday morning at the bright and early time of quarter to nine, I ventured to Footscray station wearing a green jumper over my Collingwood gear, so I wouldn’t be given dirty looks (trust me, it happens all the time). Paul kindly picked me up from Clifton Hill station and we proceeded to drive to this oval in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.

After being caught in some traffic, we finally got to the ground. At this point in time, I was still only there to get signatures. We checked our names off and I found out I was in the same group as my beloved cousin, Jacob. Knowing I was in the same group as him, made me change my mind. I informed Jacob that I will be participating in the clinic and if he leaves me, I will disown him as a cousin (which, come to think of it, I don’t think I have the power to do so). We walked up into the beautiful old stands of this ground and lingered on the steps taking in the ground and the people, while at the same time making comments about peoples interesting attire (“why would you wear Skins? It’s not serious, is it?”).

The Collingwood theme song played and Licca welcomed us, made us yell out Daisy’s name (two things, number one, Jacob and I were quiet the whole time and didn’t say his name once. Number two, I later found out through Twitter that the ‘lads’ were giving Daisy a ‘fair bit of grief’ about the clinic so I assume yelling out his name various times had something to do with that) and told us how the day would work. Our group then got told to go down on to the ground. We walked at quite a slow pace over to where the man holding our group number stood.

Our first group of players came over to us. There was McNamara, Shaw and some others, who I can’t for the life of me remember who they were (this will happen a lot in the report, sorry!). The first session was stretching, which finished quite quickly. They all seemed nice, Shaw seemed like the ‘joker’ in the club and they all got along well. It was an underwhelming stretching session, but just to be around the players was amazing.

The next group of players to come over to us was Travis, Josh Thomas, Sidebottom and again, others who I can’t remember! We were handballing to them, Jacob and me to Josh Thomas. I was surprised at how reasonable my handballing was, after not having held a footy for about two years. At least I was better than a girl in the group beside me, who handballed to Sidebottom and hit him square in the face. She couldn’t stop apologizing.

Kicking was the next activity for the group which was run by Luke Ball and others. The only reason I remember Luke Ball is because I have his number on my back and last year, I used to say he was my husband. I don’t know why, but when he came to Collingwood, I found myself instantly obsessed with him (I become obsessed with things easily, as you can see). They told us to stand in a line, in front of a player, whom we will be kicking to. I excitedly said to Jacob “let’s go to Luke Ball”, who said in return “you go, and I’ll stay here”. I, being quite shy, stayed with Jacob and was internally heartbroken that I couldn’t have a kick with my husband.

Football relays were next up for our group. Pendles, Daisy, Goldsack, Wood and some other players were running this one. Before I continue telling you about football relays I have to tell you about the most exciting thing that happened to me all day.
It’s something that you will all probably find boring and/or unimportant but put yourself in a hormonal teenage girl’s shoes and you will understand why I was so excited. Yesterday, Dale Thomas looked at me. His beautiful blue eyes locked mine for approximately 3-4 seconds. I felt my life was complete. I felt that we shared a special bond or connection. I felt I could die right then and there knowing that I’d had a successful life because Daisy had looked at me.
Dale was telling us the instructions (run up, bounce it three time, put the ball between your legs 10 times, spin around etc. etc.), I wasn’t really looking forward to this as because I went there thinking I would only get signatures, I wasn’t exactly wearing the right clothing for running.
When it was my turn I ran up to the cones, had three bounces that went astray and while throwing the ball between my legs, I had a nice conversation with Pendles who told me that the team I was in was getting smashed and that I should cheat. I asked him if he cheats when Collingwood is getting smashed and he laughed and said good point. But I was tired and I couldn’t be bothered spinning around so I ran back only to have Pendles point at me and yell “she cheated!”, I smiled at him, he smiled back. Yet again another connection with a Collingwood player.

And Pendles’ hair is quite interesting. I must say, it suits him. His dreadlocks don’t ruin his face; he is still attractive, possibly more attractive, with the dreadlocks.

The next session was a Q&A with Tooves, Blair and some rookies. I was extremely tempted to ask Blair how tall he was, but Jacob said that was mean, so I refrained myself from asking any questions. Questions asked were: Toovey, can you hear everyone say TOOOOOOOOOOOOOVEY when you get the ball? (In case you were wondering, yes he can). What would you be if you weren’t a footy player? (Toovey said working in rehab or a hospital, Blair, a teacher and one of the rookies said an astronaut much to everyone’s amusement).

The next two sessions were signing sessions. Leroy, Harry, Beams, Dids, S Buckley, the Beast, Maxwell, Fasolo and Ugle were among some of the signatures. I got photos with Dids, Harry O and the Beast. Jacob got a photo with Harry O. The Beast, as his name suggests, is massive. He’s also really nice. Harry O was also really nice, and quite gentle, unlike his playing style.

Once the two signing sessions were finished, we headed over and collected our showbags (which included a colour-in picture of Nick Maxwell), an apple and a drink. We walked back to the car, sharing our experiences with Paul and Joel and them with us.
When I got home, I found myself OBSESSED with Collingwood Football Club. I mean, I always had been but this was a different, more serious obsession. I watched nearly every single episode of the Black and White show (funny show, must admit), made a Twitter account and followed all the Collingwood players, went through everything on the Collingwood website, got up to date on all the Collingwood ‘goss’, went online shopping for Collingwood grand final pictures etc. and planned my feature wall, which mum said I could paint black and white and which I’ve decided to decorate with ONLY Collingwood things.
All in all it was a fabulous day and despite my resentment earlier during the day/week, I found it was my favourite clinic I had been to and it had been quite enjoyable.


Holly Fahey.

P.S I didn’t disown Jacob as a cousin because he didn’t leave me and I love him dearly.


  1. John Butler says

    Holly, I think you and Danni Eid might be able to exchange notes. :)

  2. johnharms says

    Ripper piece Holly. And all these things happened at the beautiful Brunswick St Oval. Must be great to be young and on holidays and in Melbourne. If you need a bit of balance in your life though, I recommend a trip to Skilled Stadium.

  3. Great job Holly :D
    Trust me i know what you mean by dirty looks, although the other day at uni a construction worker came up and shook my hand cos he loved my jumper.
    Love the enthusiasm in this piece.
    As for Blair, i can assure you he’s taller than me! lol :P

  4. Alovesupreme says

    Although Holly’s report is very entertaining from one pov, I find it distressing. I’m wondering why you as a rate-payer aren’t remonstrating with Yarra Council for permitting the defilement of the beautiful Brunswick Street Oval by the Magpies. It’s bad enough that the Collingwood juggernaut has lain waste the Olympic precinct, but their invasion of the Lions’ former home is sacreligious. Why don’t they conduct their celebrations at the Ramsden Street Reserve?

  5. Mulcaster says

    Holly , that is a wonderful story well done you write beautifully.

  6. johnharms says

    #4 A very good point alovesupreme, and it did cross my mind. But I didn’t want Holly to confuse my distaste for the Collingwood Football Club and its imperial approach, with my view of her story-telling. What were Collingwood doing in Fitzroy? We all know they should have been at a ground in Toorak.

  7. Holly….don’t listen to John Harms he is the Gollum of Australian football, without redeeming Smeagol like features he is a stunted and wicked remant of Geelongism obsessed with his lost precious….the flag.

  8. btw Holly feel free to follow me on twitter- Madamedeficit9 and ill follow ya bak for some blackandwhite gossip tweets :)

  9. Steve Fahey says

    Thanks to everyone for their generous feedback on Holly’s piece. I have to say that she is nearly 15, has a birthday on Saturday.

    #2 JTH. I’m sure you mean Kardinia Park, as I get confused between Skilled Stadium and Skilled Park, the home of the Newcastle Jets. I detest the commercial names of ovals, albeit accepting that it’s part of the modern sporting landscape. We had many trips past Kardinia Park on our way to rowing this summer. I do admit to lowering the window and yelling “GO PIES” at approximately 5.45 am Saturday morning on the first trip in
    November !!

    Hope to see you at Stawell on Tuesday – we’ll be there.

    And Holly has received a lovely email from Danni, her black and white soul sister.

  10. johnharms says

    #9 Steve, Always reassuring for tax payers and members of a functioning community to know that our police are types who will yell from a moving vehicle at 5.45am in Geelong.

  11. John Butler says

    Steve & Holly, age correction will occur ASAP.

    And happy birthday. :)

  12. Steve Fahey says


    JTH, I will point out that I am a public servant rather than a Police member !!! And it was a non-residential area !! And yelling might be a slight exaggeration !! Are you going to Stawell ?


    Thanks John B

  13. My apologies. I must remember that you are a public servant. Sadly we’re noy making it up to Stawell, but Isuspect if you look in the right watering holes you may find the O’Donnell family.

  14. Dave Nadel says

    Excellent piece, Holly. And I am sure that the Pies will give you a belated birthday present on Monday.

    #4, #6, I suspect Auskick may be organised on a municipal basis so Brunswick St Oval, like Victoria Park and Punt Road Oval, is part of Yarra Council which is also home to the suburbs (and therefore the football teams) of Collingwood and Richmond, Fitzroy does not have an AFL team resident in Victoria.

    In other words, don’t blame Collingwood expansionism, blame Kennett’s amalgamations.

  15. Alovesupreme says

    I’m happy to blame both, your correct account of the municipal boundaries notwithstanding.

  16. Dave, and what has Collingwood got to do with the Yarra Council? Collingwood is either a) at the MCG b) a state of mind c) at the to be demolished Olympic Park. Victoria Park (ie a place in Yarra’s purview) is where Africans score impressive goals for North Melbourne’s feeder team!

  17. Dave Nadel says

    #16 In front of a crowd almost entirely composed of Collingwood supporters who were there to support Collingwood seconds.

    Unfortunately, Collingwood has a lot to do with Yarra Council. If Eddie McGuire had been less greedy and Yarra council less posturing and NIMBYish, Collingwood would have retained a larger presence at Victoria Park last decade. Under pressure from fans Eddie and the committee are now bringing more of the Pies legacy back to Victoria Park.

    It isn’t Collingwood Football Club who are the carpetbaggers at Collingwood, its the nimbys and Kennett’s odd creation “Yarra” Council.

  18. Holly Fahey says

    Thank you all for your kind kind words :) appreciated greatly.

    #11, thank you very much. I’m looking forward to it!

    Danielle, thank you for the amazing email. Must admit, I smiled when I read it haha

    Thank you all! xo

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