The Coach

The door opened slowly, and a hush fell over the room. The coach paused in the doorway, his face grim, his fingers tightly gripping the keys in his hand. In the silence that followed, the players all knew that their coach wasn’t happy. He was a fit, strong man, although his hair and beard were white. He had once told a journalist that this was caused by the stress of coaching a team that hadn’t won a grand final for 653 years.


‘Boys,’ said St Peter, glaring fiercely at the members of the team in front of him. ‘That game you played on Saturday was an absolute shocker. I can think of plenty of other adjectives that would describe it better, but unfortunately I’m not allowed to use them here in Heaven.’


The players watched nervously as he clenched his fingers on the keys in his hand, then loosened them again. They all knew that it meant he was gearing up to one of his tirades, which could be so blistering that St Peter’s voice had once broken the harp strings of the cherubim who played the pre-match entertainment.


‘You should be utterly ashamed of yourselves for getting such a shellacking. You weren’t even trying to win!’ St Peter said, his voice booming like thunder. ‘The midfield kept handballing to opposition players. What was going through your tiny little brains, guys? And the forwards only took two marks during the entire game. Yes, St Mark, I know you took one of them but it doesn’t give you permission to scribble away on that scroll the entire afternoon while I’m talking.  St Patrick, you can stop polishing your halo, mate. It’s been hundreds of years since you came from Ireland. Surely you know the difference between our rules and Gaelic football by now?’


The coach took a deep breath, his eyes searching among the players in front of him. Eventually they fell on a slim figure in a brown robe sitting in the back corner of the room.


‘And as for you, St Francis,‘ he said, ‘What the hell…’ He corrected himself. ‘What in heaven’s name did you think you were doing? You stopped playing in the final quarter after the seagulls flew in to roost. No, don’t deny it. I saw you sitting on the ground having a conversation with those birds. It’s all very well you being the patron saint of animals, mate, but football is way more important.’


He put down the keys to the Gates in front of him, and took a swig from his water bottle. All the players relaxed, knowing from past experience that their coach was about to start being positive.


‘Boys,’ St Peter said, ‘last weekend our new women’s team won a magnificent, gutsy, hard-running game. Their captain Joan of Arc played a ripper, and brought the opposition to a standstill with her offensive pressure. So this week we are going to play with the same commitment. We will all dig deep against those Demons. Satan told the media that he’s bringing in his new draft pick, so I expect you all to have a real red hot go against him. Fight hard, run fast, kick straight and yes, we can win. Just remember who’s coming to watch the game, and let that inspire you … No, St Jude, you really are a hopeless case. It isn’t Gary Ablett Senior. It’s God.’



About Anne Chomiak

Anne Chomiak is a retired librarian who was born in South Africa and immigrated to Australia in 1972. She is usually regarded as a quiet and polite person until she goes to the football with her three daughters and screams encouragement to the Demons.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Welcome Anne. I thought he’d be happy with last weeks game against the Saints, but apparently not!

  2. Welcome Anne. Looking forward to your accounts of Demons games too.

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