The Legend of the Brick

A group of Perth locals have a Sunday morning kick-to-kick at Kitchener Park, the one-time sports ground now used as a parking area behind the city end goals at Subiaco Oval. Occasionally West Coast players use the same area for Sunday recovery. This is a verbatim report of one such session.

 

The Legend of the Brick

A play in one part.

Cast:

Man In Black: Neil Brick

Highly Skilled Forward Pocket: John Townsend

Gang Leader: Koby Stevens

Wise Old Guy: Andrew Embley

Assortment of local louts, ruffians and hooligans.

The setting:

An old suburban park. Once a busy gathering place populated every Sunday morning by hordes of athletic young men eager to perform the ancient rites of end-to-end work, it is now abandoned. Ghosts of footballers past sometimes drift back to meet in small groups before dissipating like morning mist in the sunshine.

A figure emerges from the shimmering distance. He is dressed in black. He is alone. Yet he is prepared. Although he can sense no imminent danger, it pays to be prepared. He pops a mouth guard into his toothless gob.

The man in black, for it is he, pulls a football from a bag. He has two. It pays to be prepared. He kicks it then chases his wobbly effort. Left and right he harries the ball across the dewy grass. Sometimes the ball clangs against a rusty white pole set in the middle of the green sward. It does not affect him. He is fuelled by a raging internal fire. Only he knows what strange urge drives him on.

Another figure appears. He has crisp white boots, the sort that would not deign to slide the ball in any path but directly where it is aimed. He is the HSFP.

The two meet.

MIB: Gday.

HSFP: Gday. Anyone else?

MIB: Nope. Under age is back on. It’s just us.

The pair kick the ball to each other. Their skills are exquisite. The man in black drops the ball onto his sweet left foot and drives it deep into what would be the back pocket on a football field. The HSFP produces banana kicks in return. Time and again he swerves the ball between the white poles. They are totem poles, unadorned but significant emblems of a lost time.

MIB: How many goals did Austin Robertson kick?

HSFP: About 1200.

MIB: That’s what I thought. I tell my son to kick like him. Run straight, drop it straight, kick it straight, follow through straight.

HSFP: Good advice.

They return to their voiceless endeavours. Only the thwack of leather on leather breaks the silence. They do not need to speak. Their kicking is a language all of its own. It is eloquent and communicates in a binary form that is pleasing to the ear and eye.

A group appears up a hill. There are a dozen or so young men, dressed in blue and with the image of a large bird upon their formidable chests. They are in the prime of their lives yet still they cast envious eyes on the pair. They appreciate the skill on display and, like any youngster wanting to join his adored older brother and his mates, hanker to join in. But they have contractual obligations and know they must resist such primal urges.

The Man in Black is a veteran of numerous scraps and his radar is on high alert as the gang approaches.

GL: Gday Brickie.

MIB: Who said that?

The Gang Leader sheepishly raises his hand. The other gang members are suspicious and look at him in the same cold fashion that a white pointer would consider a surfer flopping about seal-like off Ledge Point. The gang life is cruel and the leader knows that another challenge is coming. He cannot survive every one. He may have to move to a new gang further east.

MIB: How did he know my name?

HSFP: Your reputation?

MIB: Nah, I reckon it’s because my name is written in 15cm letters on the back of my jumper.

HSFP: That too.

The Wise Old Guy has been watching closely but notes the danger has passed and disappears down the hill. His Lexus chariot remains vulnerable and, to prove the point, the MIB slams a long droppie into its exposed flank. WOG returns, delivers a suspicious glance at the MIB but knows he is outmatched and departs to run solitary laps.

The MIB and his offsider have done enough. They walk north and encounter the gang returning to their camp. The GL is no dummy. He wants the challenge to come while he is in control. The ground is firm and the sun is at his back. He knows which buttons to push.

GL: See ya, Brickie.

The end.

About John Townsend

John Townsend writes about cricket and WAFL football for The West Australian. He once kicked nine goals in an amateur match but was dragged at three-quarter time "for not doing enough".

Comments

  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Thanks John ( A Wa based member of the Ad Uni FC Greys ? ) nothing beats having a kick to kick with a mate ! Loved how you told the story and the names you bestowed on the , West Coast guys you have given me a smile on my dial on a Sunday morning
    ( not happy re the state of the, 2nd test in , SA ) Thanks John

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