The enthusiastic assistant coach

It is 7.45am on Saturday and as a new father with a three month old son I have clocked on for duty, Sophie is off to the Gym and her weekly hour of parental free R and R so I am solely responsible for the safety and well being of one Jack William Dodson. I am the enthusiastic assistant coach, the John Blakey to Sophie’s John Longmire.

As predicted Jack wakes crying exactly 48 seconds after Sophie leaves the house, I am convinced he has a camera in the cot that shows when the roller door goes down. I approach the cot and Jack’s nappy smells worse than Melbourne’s season to date, I get my hands dirty Paul Kelly style and get the job done. The next hour is filled with a bottle feed, the oohs and aahs of a rambling child and the beaming smile of a proud parent. The roller door opens, the boss is back and I hand the clipboard over.

A relaxing and stress free Saturday afternoon follows, highlighted by a detour on the weekly supermarket shopping expedition via Yarraville Oval to catch a quarter of the Braybrook Bombers taking on the Yarraville Seddon Eagles in the magoos. I am disappointed by Braybrook, plenty of tatts and crew cuts on display but not a brawl or melee in sight. I get my footy fix and tell Sophie how much harder footy was in my day and how I could still go out and kick a lazy 6 against these blokes, she nods enthusiastically but deep down knows the reality.

The main attraction of the day is the Swans vs Lions, scheduled for 4.40pm, which unfortunately will incorporate the 5-7pm daily witching hour where Jack screams in disgust like a St Kilda supporter on recent Grand Final Days. I am for the most part an unsociable supporter with a penchant for colourful language and remote control abuse but today I am determined to be on my best behaviour and not do my rag in front of mother and child. The Swans are in good form and should get over the Lions relatively easy (he says in hope) so it should be an easy day at the office.

The Lions jump out of the Gate and have three goals in a matter of minutes, the Swans must have thought the Game started at 5pm because they are yet to show up. Order is quickly restored and young Sam Reid starts plucking them from everywhere and has 3 by quarter time and the Swans jump to a narrow quarter time lead. While only a cygnet Reid is the great white hope for the Swans over the next ten years and has the potential to be an absolute superstar with his sticky hands and great leap, both of which have been on display in the first quarter. The only downside is Cameron Mooney is a more reliable set shot than Reid, however today his kicking boots are on.

At the start of the second quarter I volunteer to nurse Jack to sleep, Sophie looks at me quizzically and comments “but the football is on, not sure Jack will bounce off the wall like the remote?”. I reassure Sophie that with fatherhood I am a changed man and assume the task and make a mental note to close my eyes every time Mike Pyke has the ball or LRT kicks for goal to help keep the stress levels under control. Jack then decides to shit on me much like the Swans are shitting over the Lions as we pile on five of the next six goals to open up a handy 31 point lead. The Swans have found speed this year and the crowd hold their breath every time Jetta gets the ball. The Lions are plucky late as Jonathan Brown gets involved and goals to keep the lions in touch and 21 points down at half time. While the players head for Powerade I head upstairs for the Huggies.

In the premiership quarter the Swans put the foot down and kick 5 goals to one with an even spread of contributors, Goodes is starting to find some touch and Mumford is making his presence felt. Reid now has 5 Goals and Daniel Merrett is dispatched to quell his influence. The Lions show flashes of good football and Daniel Rich enhances his standing as arguably the best kick in the competition with a number of bullet like passes. Jack is disinterested in the football but fascinated by the cheap Taiwanese light fittings directly above him.

The sting is out of the Game in the last quarter as both sides’ trade goals and the early evening dew makes the ball handling slippery and the football unattractive as the Swans run out victors 110 to 63. Sam Reid is the story of the day for the Swans and the usual suspects of McVeigh, Kennedy and O’Keefe all put in solid performances. The Lions have been much improved the last month and lose few friends today with Rich and Zorko playing well. Jack puts is a consistent performance of 1 crap, 3 dummy spits, 12 confused looks and 28 nonsensical comments to get BOG honours in his father’s eyes.

About craig dodson

Born in the sporting mecca that is Wagga Wagga and now reside in Melbourne with my lovelly wife Sophie and son's Jack and Harry. Passionate Swans supporter and formally played cricket at a decent level and Aussie Rules at a not so decent level! Spend my days now perfecting my slice on the golf course and the owner of the worlds worst second serve on the tennis course.


  1. Craig, those twilight starts work against me at home, too. Wifey has to get the dinner ready which leaves me with a young fella post-midday sleep, brimming with energy. He’s not too keen on a father watching the TV and not playing with him. AFL – please explain!

  2. craig dodson says

    Perhaps Cookie we may have to invite Andrew Demetriou around to our houses to babysit (with full refrigerator privleges) so he can witness the chaos his fixture is doing

  3. Demetriou’s a big boy, it may prove an expensive option if he gets stuck into the fridge

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